Simponi

Written by Dr. Brian Bressler on October 31, 2019

What is Simponi?

Simponi (golimumab) reduces inflammation in the body by blocking the activity of a substance called TNF-alpha.

Simponi is used to treat ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and plaque psoriasis.

Simponi is often used when other drugs have not worked for you, or have caused bad side effects.

Simponi is part of a class of biologic drugs called “anti-TNFs” or “TNF-inhibitors”. Other anti-TNF drugs are: Remicade (infliximab), Cimzia (certolizumab pegol), Humira (Remicade), Renflexis (infliximab-abda) and Inflectra (infliximab-dyyb).

How should I use Simponi?

Simponi is given by a subcutaneous injection. Initially, you will receive 2 injections (200mg) at the start of therapy. After two weeks, your next dose will be 1 injections (100mg). After those injections, you will need to take 1 injection (100mg) every 4 weeks.

You can self-administer your injections at home, or if needed, it can be arranged to have a nurse give you the injections at the clinic or at home.

Important information

You may need to reschedule delay your injection if you are ill and/or running a fever.

Do not receive a live vaccine while using Simponi. Live vaccines include polio, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, and yellow fever. It is recommended that your immunizations are up to date prior to starting therapy.

For women, it is important to receive annual pap tests, even if previous exams have been negative.

Speak to your doctor if you have a history of cancer or heart disease as this medication may be contraindicated.

Simponi side effects

Common side effects of Simponi (golimumab):

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills or fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ear congestion
  • Headache
  • Loss of voice
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects of Simponi can happen almost immediately in direct response to the injection. Others side effects may not appear until several days, or even months, after the injection. It can take up to 6 months for Simponi to be eliminated from the body.

Some side effects are mild and go away on their own. Side effects that are more serious may require treatment.

Additional details about the side effects of Simponi are:

  • Allergic/Hypersensitivity Reactions: This reaction may occur at various times during treatment and can be mild or severe, such as anaphylaxis. Injection site reactions may include hives, redness, and swelling.
  • Dermatological concerns: This medication has been associated with skin rashes such as psoriasis.
  • Lupus-Like Syndrome: This may include symptoms such as chest discomfort/pain that does not go away, shortness of breath, joint pain, or a sun-sensitive rash on the cheeks or arms.
  • Neuropathy, Multiple Sclerosis (MS)-Type Symptoms: Signs and symptoms include numbness, weakness, tingling, or changes in your vision.
  • Increased risk of infection: Simponi suppresses the activity of the immune system which may increase your risk of developing infections from bacteria, viruses, and certain kinds of fungi. For example, this medication can reactivate tuberculosis (TB) if you’ve been exposed to it and it is dormant in the body. Therefore, it is necessary to undergo a TB skin test before starting therapy. Let the doctor know if you’ve been exposed to TB.
  • Lymphoma: This medication has been associated with an increased risk of lymphoma, a blood type cancer. Simponi when used in combination with Imuran or 6MP may further increase this risk. This combination has a few reported cases of a hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, which has an aggressive disease course and is usually fatal. This risk is considered extremely rare with a limited number of cases worldwide.

Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits before you start on Simponi. Let your doctor or nurse know about any new symptoms you develop while on Simponi.

When will I start to feel better?

Simponi works relatively quickly. Some people can begin to see benefits in as little as 7 days. Others will see results after a few months.

How long do I have to take this medication?

Simponi is used to induce and maintain clinical remission and is taken regularly. This medication cannot be used as needed and must be continued once started. If you miss a dose, your body can develop antibodies which can cause an allergic reaction and make the drug ineffective.

Can I drink alcohol while on this medication?

Yes, alcohol can be consumed in moderation.

What happens when I want to get pregnant?

This medication is relatively safe during pregnancy but family planning should be discussed with the doctor for more information.