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NICE recommend use of certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) in treating plaque psoriasis

Cimzia, for Nummular psoriasis and Psoriasis from UCB Pharma Limited

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has approved UCB's psoriasis treatment certolizumab pegol, brand name Cimzia for use by the NHS in England and Wales.

The full recommendation states that:

Certolizumab pegol (Cimzia) is available on the NHS as a possible treatment for plaque psoriasis in adults if:
  • the psoriasis is severe and affects quality of life and
  • the psoriasis has not improved with other treatments, for example, ciclosporin, methotrexate or phototherapy, or these can’t be taken
  • a maintenance dose of 200 mg every 2 weeks is used.
Treatment with certolizumab pegol should be stopped after 16 weeks if the psoriasis does not improve enough.

When assessing how psoriasis affects your quality of life, healthcare professionals should take into account any disabilities or difficulties in communicating you might have.

Patients not eligible for certolizumab pegol but are already taking it, you should be able to continue until you and your doctor decide when best to stop.

You can follow developments with this medicine using our Medicines Tracker service which provides users with updates about the medicines they are interested in, including updates to Patient Leaflets, information from medicine regulators and clinical trial information. To track information about this medicine please click on this article and follow the 'About this medicine' link then select 'Follow medicine'.


Psoriasis treatment pathway. NICE

About Cimzia
Cimzia is a medicine that is used in adults to treat the following diseases:
  • active rheumatoid arthritis (a disease causing inflammation of the joints) when it is used in combination with another medicine, methotrexate, or given alone when treatment with methotrexate is not appropriate.
  • axial spondyloarthritis (a disease causing inflammation and pain in the joints of the spine), including ankylosing spondylitis and when the X-ray does not show disease but there are clear signs of inflammation.
  • psoriatic arthritis (a disease causing red, scaly patches on the skin and inflammation of the joints) when it is used in combination with methotrexate or given alone when treatment with methotrexate is not appropriate.
  • plaque psoriasis, a disease causing red, scaly patches on the skin.
Cimzia is mostly used for conditions that are severe, moderately severe or getting worse, or when patients cannot use other treatments. For detailed information on the use of Cimzia in all conditions, see the summary of product characteristics.

The active substance in Cimzia, certolizumab pegol, reduces the activity of the immune system (the body’s defences). It is made up of a monoclonal antibody, certolizumab, which has been ‘pegylated’ (attached to a chemical called polyethylene glycol).

A monoclonal antibody is a protein that has been designed to recognise and attach to a specific structure in the body. Certolizumab pegol has been designed to attach to a messenger protein in the body called tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). This messenger is involved in causing inflammation and is found at high levels in patients with the diseases that Cimzia is used for. By blocking TNF-alpha, certolizumab pegol reduces inflammation and other symptoms of the diseases.

Pegylation decreases the rate at which the substance is removed from the body and allows the medicine to be given less often.

Cimzia was first made available in the EU in 2009. It is manufactured by UCB.

European Medicines Agency website page for Cimzia
Accessed 23/04/19
Links available in full article

© NICE [2019] Certolizumab pegol for treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis Available from: See Link below. All rights reserved. Subject to Notice of rights
NICE guidance is prepared for the National Health Service in England. All NICE guidance is subject to regular review and may be updated or withdrawn. NICE accepts no responsibility for the use of its content in this product/publication.

The information provided by NICE was accurate at the time this article was issued.

NICE information on Cimzia in treating plaque psoriasis

Reporting of suspected adverse reactions

Reporting suspected adverse reactions (side effects) after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals or patients are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Disclaimer: This site is designed to offer information for general educational purposes only. The health information furnished on this site and the interactive responses are not intended to be professional advice and are not intended to replace personal consultation with a qualified physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. We cannot provide individual medical advice. You must always seek the advice of a professional for questions related to a disease, disease symptoms, and appropriate therapeutic treatments.

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