Certolizumab pegol is recommended as a possible treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis who:
- have already tried methotrexate and another disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD), usually for at least 6 months,
- have severe 'active' rheumatoid arthritis, as assessed by arheumatologist on two separate occasions.
People who are treated with certolizumab pegol should normally also be given methotrexate. If methotrexate does not suit them, they may be given certolizumab pegol on its own.
This treatment should only be carried out by a specialist rheumatology team. The treatment should only be continued if the disease has improved sufficiently after 6 months, and the person should continue to have check-ups every 6 months to make sure that their rheumatoid arthritis is still responding to the drug.
If a person taking a different TNF inhibitor has to stop during the first 6 months of treatment because it has unwanted effects, their specialist may offer certolizumab pegol after discussion with the person.
When assessing if rheumatoid arthritis is 'active', healthcare professionals should take into account any disabilities or difficulties in communicating that might mean that the standard assessments do not provide accurate information.