1 What is Simponi?

Brand: Simponi, Simponi Aria

Generic: Golimumab

Simponi drug is used in injection form alone or in combination with methotrexate to manage the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Simponi injection can also be used to treat moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis in patients who have been treated with other medicines which have not proven effective.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription. This product is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Solution

2 What to Know Before Using

Your doctor will inform you of what you need to know before using Simponi. So, the benefits of a drug should always be weighed against its associated risks. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them.

Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:

Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.

Age-specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available. Its safety and efficacy has not been established in children..
The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, that would limit the use of this drug in old age group.

Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “B” category, which means that clinical trials on animals have revealed no harmful effects to the developing fetus or relevant studies have not been performed.

Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand certain drugs are allowed to be used together.

So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug.

This drug can cause an interaction with following drugs:

  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 7, Live
  • Abatacept
  • Adenovirus Vaccine Type 4, Live
  • Alfentanil
  • Anakinra
  • Aminophylline
  • Artemether
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin
  • Astemizole
  • Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
  • Cisapride
  • Carbamazepine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Ergotamine
  • Dihydroergotamine
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Fentanyl
  • Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Iloperidone
  • Lumefantrine
  • Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Paclitaxel
  • Pimozide
  • Phenytoin
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
  • Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
  • Quinidine
  • Sirolimus
  • Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
  • Smallpox Vaccine
  • Terfenadine
  • Tacrolimus
  • Theophylline
  • Varicella Virus Vaccine
  • Typhoid Vaccine
  • Yellow Fever Vaccine
  • Warfarin

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from, especially:

  • Aspergillosis (fungus infection)
  • Blood or bone marrow problems (eg, aplastic anemia, cytopenia, pancytopenia)
  • Blastomycosis (fungus infection)
  • Coccidioidomycosis (fungus infection)
  • Candidiasis (fungus infection)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Legionellosis (bacterial infection)
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (nervous system disorder)
  • Histoplasmosis (fungus infection)
  • Leukopenia or neutropenia (low white blood cells)
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Listeriosis (bacterial infection)
  • Polyneuropathy (nerve problem) 
  • Optic neuritis (eye problem)
  • Pneumocystosis (fungus infection)
  • Psoriasis
  • Cancer (eg, colon, lymphoma, skin)
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets in the blood)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, a lung disease) 
  • Hepatitis B, history of 
  • Diabetes
  • Immune system problem 
  • Tuberculosis, history of 
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (bile duct disease) 
  • Wegener granulomatosis (blood vessels are inflamed)—May increase chance for side effects
  • Tuberculosis, active—Should not be used in patients with these conditions
  • Infection, active or not completely going away

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Simponi requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. This medication should be administered by a nurse or a healthcare professional in a hospital setting usually under the name of Simponi® Aria™ (together with methotrexate).

This drug is given intravenously through a syringe. This medication must be injected slowly; therefore your IV line should be kept in place for at least 30 minutes. Read all the instructions mentioned in the medication guide. 

Do not miss any dose. The dose of this drug varies according to the condition of each person. The number of doses per day, the time interval between the doses and the length of time you have to take the medicine depends on your condition individually and all these factors should only be determined by your healthcare provider. Follow each and every instruction of your doctor and also read the label carefully.

In case you miss one dose of this drug, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your subsequent dose, you can then skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

Storage: This medicine should be stored at room temperature within a closed container, away from heat, direct light, and moisture. Keep this drug out of the reach of children. Do not store expired or outdated medicines or the medicine no longer needed.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Simponi, there are some precautions you must take. This drug can cause serious allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.

Stop using this medicine and contact your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after you receive this medicine.

You may also need to take a skin test for tuberculosis before starting this drug. This drug can also cause a decrease in white cell count so you should also have a regular complete blood count

Regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. It is important to allow your doctor to monitor your progress and to make sure that there aren’t any side effects from the medication.

Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment. The doctor may order some blood tests in order to determine the blood levels of the drug.

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Simponi. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with following side effects:

  • chills
  • body aches or pain
  • cough
  • ear congestion
  • the difficulty with breathing
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • loss of voice
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • stuffy or a runny nose
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • blurred vision
  • a cough with mucus
  • congestion
  • diarrhea
  • joint pain
  • dizziness
  • the general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • hoarseness
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nervousness
  • painful cold sores or blisters on the lips
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • shivering
  • sweating
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • trouble with sleeping
  • the tightness of the chest or wheezing
  • trouble with swallowing
  • vomiting
  • voice changes

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on lanthanum. Also contact your health care professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug.

If any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor.