Simponi (Golimumab) Side Effects

Simponi (golimumab) is a tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitor approved to treat ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. The side effects of this medication vary and can include serious infections, bruising, a rash, and more.

The drug is given through a skin injection that you can administer yourself after being properly trained by your healthcare professional. It can also be given by a healthcare professional intravenously (IV, in a vein) at a reduced frequency compared to the injections.

Your initial dose of Simponi will be administered by your doctor.

 

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Common Side Effects

The most common side effects of Simponi include:

Serious Side Effects

Simponi blocks the action of TNF-alpha, a protein that mediates the body's immune system and may contribute to inflammation and joint swelling and damage. This medication lowers the body's ability to fight off infection.

People taking Simponi can develop serious infections that target organ systems or can be at an increased risk of infection from bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Some of the infections you may be at increased risk for while on Simponi include aspergillosis, blastomycosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, legionellosis, listeriosis, pneumocystosis, and tuberculosis.

Serious side effects to watch out for while taking Simponi include:

  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • A butterfly-shaped rash on the nose and cheeks
  • Weight loss or weight gain

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor promptly.

When to Call Your Doctor

If you notice any of the following side effects, you should get medical attention right away:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Having trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Hives and swollen eyes, lips, mouth, throat, or tongue
  • Symptoms of heart failure, including swelling in the ankles or feet, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness
  • Signs of infection, such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, unusual sweating
  • Symptoms of liver damage, including dark urine, persistent nausea or vomiting, stomach or abdominal pain, or yellow eyes or skin
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling of the arms or legs
  • Rash spreading on the cheek and appearing on other body parts
  • Red scaly patches, change in overall skin appearance, pus-filled bumps on the skin
  • Blisters
  • Unsteadiness
  • Vision changes

Warnings

Simponi carries a black box warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is the most serious warning issued by the agency. It alerts healthcare providers and patients to potentially serious side effects that can lead to injury and death.

This medication comes with several important warnings:

  • Allergic reactions: Let your doctor know if you are allergic to latex or rubber because the cover for the needle used for injection contains dry natural rubber.
  • Pregnancy: Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, are planning on becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Infections: Let your medical provider know if you have an infection or if you're being treated for symptoms of infection such as a fever, fatigue, or diarrhea. Your body will have a more difficult time combatting the infection while on Simponi.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): While on this medication, it's easier for you to contract TB, and there is an increased risk of reactivation of a prior TB infection that is dormant (not active) in the body.
  • Hepatitis B: This infection can be activated if you're carrying the virus while you are taking this drug. Let your doctor know if you have hepatitis B symptoms, like vomiting, abdominal pain, and fatigue.
  • Heart failure: This drug can cause or worsen heart failure.
  • Cancer: Taking Simponi may put you at greater risk for developing various cancers, such as melanoma, leukemia, and lymphoma, among others.
  • Anemia: Simponi can lower the number of blood cells in your body. resulting in anemia or serious bleeding problems.
  • Additional warnings: If you have a history of multiple sclerosis, liver problems, or issues with your blood count, notify your doctor before you start taking this drug.

Interactions

Simponi can interact with other medications you may be taking, which can decrease the drug's efficacy or increase your risk of developing serious side effects. Before starting treatment with Simponi, let your doctor know about any other medications, supplements, or vitamins you might be taking. Also, keep your medical team updated if you start any new medication during the course of your Simponi treatment.

A higher rate of infections has also occurred in people who take other biologic drugs, like those commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis, while taking Simponi. Also, people taking Simponi should avoid getting live vaccines because they can cause infections if your immune system is suppressed.

Therapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer may interact with Simponi.

A Word from Verywell

While Simponi can help with a variety of conditions, it should be taken with caution. Before starting treatment, talk to your doctor about potential side effects. Knowing what side effects may come up while taking Simponi can help you recognize life-threatening signs quickly so you can get medical help. If you experience any serious adverse effects, your doctor may tell you to stop taking this medication and recommend another drug that works better for you.

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