Hi all, Cimzia is similar to Humira, from what I've been told by my GI and the clinical trial doctors/nurses. My GI thinks that if Cimzia has helped, Humira should help also, but I did not try Humira prior to starting Cimzia. I was on Remicade previously and had to stop due to allergic reactions and loss of response. Cimzia is given via subcutaneous injection.
I get two shots every two weeks. I get them in my legs just because I initially had injection site reactions and didn't like having whelps on my arms where everyone can see. Stomach is also an option, but we decided against it due to a lack of stomach fat. =)
Crazy Harry, not sure what you are referring to, as the side effects to Cimzia are the same as the side effects to Remicade, Cimzia and other similar drugs: injection site reactions, upper respiratory and other infections, etc. I have not experienced anything other than injection site reactions and those stopped after the first few months.
I didn't have an issue with D when I started the trial (mine has always been C), but have heard that others in the trial with more severe symptoms than my own have responded very well. Not everyone has responded 100%...most have improved a lot but still have bad weeks every once in a while. Only a few have dropped out of the study I'm in at UofL hospital and those dropped out because they had surgeries, other things happen and just couldn't get to the study every other week. I was told that no one dropped out due to a lack of response.
I have been on the trial since February 2007. I am now in the long term (maintenance) phase of the trial. In order to qualify for the trial, you had to have lost response to other drugs (like Remicade) and you had to have Crohn's bad enough to have a certain Crohn's Disease Activity Index, a number they use to determine how bad your disease is. This is also how they determine if you are responding or not. You keep a daily journal of your # of D, severity of abdominal pain, overall feeling of wellness, fevers and if you take any meds for D. Then, when you go for your appointment, they also ask you about your history with arthritis, fissures, absesses, eye problems, etc. over the last two weeks and calculate everything in together to get a score.
Now that it is available on the market, I don't know if there will be any requirements before insurance will cover it, like if they require that you try Humira or Remicade first, since I'm sure Cimzia will be expensive at first. I guess it will depend on the doctor and the insurance company as to how they feel about trying it before trying the others. I would definitely give it a try if you lost response or had reactions to Remicade...it's much better and much more convenient and quicker, in my opinion, but I don't know how much difference there is between it and Humira. My trial nurse just knew the technical differences but didn't know how they worked in your body and I didn't ask the doctor to explain that.
Sorry for the long post. Hope this answers some questions. If there is anything else that you want to ask about it, let me know. If I don't know the answer, maybe I can make a list to ask the doctor the next time I see him (only see the dr. every month). Thanks.