Simponi (Golimumab) Side Effects

Simponi (golimumab) is a TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha) inhibitor approved to treat ulcerative colitis. It is used to control symptoms and begin to improve the appearance of the intestinal lining. Simponi is also prescribed to treat ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. This medication can block a protein found in the body's immune system that causes joint swelling and damage.

The drug is given through a skin injection that you can administer yourself after being properly trained by your health care professional. Side effects for Simponi vary depending on the person, but can include serious infections.

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 lowers the body's ability to fight off infection. Those taking Simponi can develop serious infections that target organ systems or be at increased risk of infection from bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Infections you may contract 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
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • Unsteadiness
  • Unexplained muscle weakness
  • Vision changes
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Butterfly-shaped rash on the nose and cheeks
  • 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

If you are experiencing at the above symptoms, contact your doctor or seek emergency medical assistance immediately.

When to Call Your Doctor

If you notice any of the following side effects, you should reach out to your doctor right away:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling of the arms or legs
  • Red scaly patches, change in overall skin appearance, pus-filled bumps on the skin
  • Blisters
  • Pain in the upper right part of the stomach
  • Rash spreading on the cheek and appearing on other body parts
  • Sun sensitivity
  • Joint pain
  • Hives and swollen eyes, lips, mouth, throat, or tongue
  • Having trouble swallowing or breathing

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 health care providers and patients to potential 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 and 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, and were also using Simponi during your pregnancy
  • Infections: Let your medical provider know if you have an infection of some kind. If you're being treated for symptoms of infection such as a fever, fatigue, or diarrhea, tell your doctor. Your body will have a more difficult time combatting the infection while on Simponi
  • Tuberculosis (TB): It's easier for you to contract TB while taking the drug
  • Hepatitis B: This disease can be activated while on the drug if you're carrying the virus. Let your doctor know if you have hepatitis B symptoms like shifts in bowel movements, vomiting, 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 different blood cells and result in anemia or serious bleeding problems
  • Additional warnings: If you have a history of nervous system disorders like multiple sclerosis, liver problems, and issues with your blood count, notify your doctor.

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 a new treatment over the course of your Simponi treatment.

A higher rate of infections have also occurred in people who have been on other biologic drugs like those commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis while taking Simponi. Also, people taking Simponi should avoid getting live vaccines, everything from the flu vaccine to the herpes zoster vaccine, because they can also lead to higher chance of infections. Other therapeutic agents like bladder instillation to treat cancer are also a concern.

A Word from Verywell

While Simponi can help with a variety of conditions, it should be taken with care and caution. Before starting treatment with Simponi, talk to your doctor about potential side effects. Knowing what side effects may come up while taking Simponi can help you recognize life-threatening ones quickly and get medical help. If you experience any serious side effects, your doctor may ask that you stop taking this medication and recommend another drug that works better for you. Staying on alert will help you make sure you are getting the most benefit out of your treatment with the least number of side effects possible.

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