What is Golimumab (Simponi Aria®)?
Golimumab is in a class of drugs called biologics. It is administered to you as an intravenous(IV) infusion to reduce signs and symptoms of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), such as joint swelling, pain, fatigue, and length of morning stiffness. Golimumab is commonly known as Simponi Aria®. It can also be given as an injection.
How do I take it?
The intravenous infusion will be given to you by a healthcare professional. This procedure usually takes about 30 minutes. After you receive your first dose, you will get your second dose 4 weeks later and the following doses every 8 weeks.
What about side effects?
The most common serious side effect is infection. Golimumab can lower the body’s ability to fight infection. Be sure to contact your physician if you have any signs of infection such as fever, cough, or red or painful skin; or if you are planning a surgery. You may have to stop Golimumab while being treated for an infection or if you are planning a surgery.
You will need to have a negative tuberculosis (TB) skin test before beginning Golimumab therapy. Your doctor may also test for hepatitis B and C.
You should not take a live vaccine (Flu-Mist nasal spray, chicken pox vaccine, shingles vaccine, measles booster) while on Golimumab, or within 3 months of stopping Golimumab. The flu-shot (injection) is not a live virus and all patients should consider having this vaccination yearly.
If you have Multiple Sclerosis, this is not the right medicine for you as this class of drugs can make Multiple Sclerosis worse.
Make sure your doctor knows if you have any symptoms of heart disease, like shortness of breath when you lie down or exert yourself, swelling or edema of legs, ankles, and feet, or chest pain or heaviness. This class of drugs may cause your heart disease to get worse.
Allergic reactions may happen. Call your healthcare provider or an emergency medical provider if you have signs of an allergic reaction such as, rash or hives; swollen face, eyelids, lips or tongue; or difficulty breathing.
What about other medications?
Many patients need to continue to take other oral medications for RA, like methotrexate or plaquenil, while on Golimumab. When you are taking Golimumab, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Golimumab can be taken with other medications – NSAIDS (Celebrex®, ibuprofen, naproxen), prednisone, methotrexate, and hydroxychloroquine. You should not take any other biologic medications such as Enbrel® or Humira® while taking Golimumab.
What else should I know?
You must continue your regular visits to the rheumatologist. Your doctor will monitor you for any improvements in your disease and for any signs of infections or side effects. Some patients experience relief in as little as 2 weeks.
Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with TNF blockers.
Tell your doctor if you live or have lived in an area where fungal infections are more common. You may be at higher risk of getting a fungal infection while taking golimumab.
A Federal Drug Administration medication guide can be found at: