Monday, October 20, 2014

Saturday, November 10, 2012 Kaye, Community Member, asks

Q: Hi, I have been taking Arava for four months now,

swelling and redness is better but severe pain is not.  My Rhuemy wants me to add Cimzia to my meds. I am also taking Exalgo ER, Diluadid and flexuril. Just wanted to know if anyone is taking Cimzia and how it is working out for you.


Thank you,


Answer This
Answers (3)
Brad, Health Guide
11/10/12 11:40pm

Hi Kaye,

Sounds like your Arava is working! As a DMARD (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug) it is supposed to work on stopping the inflammation in your joints. It helps to actually slow or stop the disease progression, whereas pain meds only numb the pain. I do not take Cimzia, I am on Orencia at the moment (my 4th Biologic). Biologics such as Cimzia are the BIG guns along with Dmards to help stop or slow the progression of the disease. Biologics can work differently for everyone, some are helped immensely by one, while others will feel no effect from it. It takes time for them to work usually, so dont expect it affect you overnight. Hang in there! Sounds like your doc has you on a good plan! Hope the Cimzia kicks in and you get some much needed relief! :) 


Lene Andersen, Health Guide
11/14/12 1:53pm

Cimzia is one of nine biologic medications for RA. As Brad mentioned, they are the "big guns" among the treatment options and are used for people with moderate to severe RA who do not respond adequately to the DMARDs, such as methotrexate, Arava, sulfasalazine, etc. Biologics are fairly new class of drugs - the first (Enbrel) only came on the market in 1999. However, they have a huge impact on the lives of people with RA, making it more possible than ever before to go into remission.


Which biologic you choose to start with tends not to matter much, unless you have certain medical conditions that should not be mixed with some of the Biologics. For instance, people who have MS should not take a TNF blocker.


Cimzia is a TNF blocker - the medications in this class include Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and Simponi. Most of these are done by injection, although Remicade is an infusion. Often people with RA start with Enbrel and if that doesn't work well enough, move onto another biologic. Your rheumatologist may have a specific reason to recommend Cimzia over another TNF blocker, so you may want to talk to them about that in more detail.


As with any other drug, how you respond to Cimzia is very individual. I know people for whom it has worked very well and others who didn't respond to it. The only way you'll know is to start taking it. It usually takes about two months or so to fully kick in, but if it's working, you can expect to see signs of it much sooner. It usually starts with having a bit more energy and moves on from there. Primary side effects of the Biologics include being more vulnerable to infections, fatigue for a couple of days after your shot, perhaps a bit of gastrointestinal upset and upper respiratory infections. Most of the time, the side effects are very manageable.


RA pain comes from two sources: inflammation and damage. When you control the inflammation, the pain usually goes away. That is, unless you have damage to your joints. How long have you had RA? Do you have deformities, or other kinds of damage? If so, you may benefit from seeing a pain specialist - it might be something to discuss with your rheumatologist.


good luck! Please keep us posted on what happens?

Karis, Community Member
11/14/12 5:43pm

Hi Kaye, I am still doing the loading doses but actually think its starting to work.


I've had RA since 2009 and Enbrel worked for a few months and Humira and Orencia both didn't do anything - well thats not entirelly true I ended up with psoriasis from the Humira. 


I was fine doing the auto injectors but I have not been brave enough to do the regular Cimzia shots myself. The medication is very thick so it takes a long time to give the shot because you HAVE to go slow but it doesn't burn at least.


I feel very hopeful about the Cimzia because of the loading doses- I think that is a huge positive for this med.


I wish you all the best! 

Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By Kaye, Community Member— Last Modified: 11/14/12, First Published: 11/10/12