How Simponi Works

In some people with arthritis, a signalling protein (cytokine) called Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) is present in the blood and joints in excessive amounts where it increases inflammation (pain and swelling).

Simponi (golimumab) is another type of protein (specifically: a monoclonal antibody) called a TNF blocker. It blocks the action of TNF. In blocking TNF, Simponi suppresses the body’s immune system. Though this suppression can make it slightly harder for patients to fight off infections, it also helps to stabilize an overactive immune system.

In patients with arthritis, this medicine can:

  • Reduce the pain and swelling (inflammation) in arthritic joints
  • Improve day to day function
  • Prevent long-term damage caused by joint inflammation

Side Effects of Simponi

Patients should talk to their doctor if they are concerned about any side effects.

All fevers and infections should be reported to a doctor. Occasional blood tests are important so doctors can monitor patients’ liver and blood counts.

MORE COMMON side-effects include:

  • Injection site reaction: Some patients may react to the medication during or shortly after and infusion.
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (such as sinusitis)

RARE side-effects include:

  • Infection – There is an increased risk of serious infection. Any infections or fevers should be taken seriously and reviewed by a doctor
  • Nervous System – There have been rare reports of some patients developing disorders that affect the nervous system (multiple sclerosis, seizures, or inflammation of the nerves of the eye) while taking medications like Simponi. Fortunately, these reports are exceedingly rare.
  • Heart – Patients should inform their doctor if they have congestive heart failure as Simponi may make it worse.
  • Blood Counts – Simponi can cause a drop in the numbers of white blood cells (which are needed to fight infection) or red blood cells (which carry oxygen). This is very rare and it is unusual for this to be a serious problem. Patients should get occasional blood tests so their doctor can monitor their liver and blood counts.
  • Malignancy – Simponi has been associated with a small increased risk of developing cancer (<1%)

How to minimize the side-effects of Simponi:

  • Patients should take Simponi as prescribed by their doctor.
  • Stay on top of regular blood tests

Simponi should not be taken with other biologic medications or Xeljanz.

Who Should NOT Take Simponi

Patients who should NOT be taking Simponi (golimumab) include:

  • Patients who have had a previous serious allergic reaction to Simponi (golimumab)
  • Patients taking another medication that also blocks TNF
  • Possibly patients who have cancer or have had a past history of certain cancers
  • Patients who have congestive heart failure
  • Patients who have Lupus or multiple sclerosis
  • Patients with active infections (such as tuberculosis)

Anyone who becomes pregnant while taking Simponi should notify their doctor.

When to Call a Doctor

People taking Simponi should call their doctor if they feel sick and want to stop, or if they are concerned about any side effects.

Other reasons to call a doctor while taking Simponi include:

  • Fever, infection, or suspected infection
  • If another doctor has prescribed antibiotics to fight an infection
  • Upcoming surgery
  • Pregnancy or planning on pregnancy
  • Planning on getting a vaccination
  • Development of a rash

Simponi Video

Watch Dr. Andy Thompson, a Canadian rheumatologist, introduce Simponi.