What is golimumab and why is it prescribed?
In rheumatoid arthritis and some other inflammatory conditions, too much of a protein called TNF is produced in the body, causing inflammation, pain and damage to the bones and joints.
Anti-TNF drugs such as golimumab (trade name: Simponi) block the action of TNF and so reduce this inflammation. They're not painkillers, but they can modify the disease and should start to improve your symptoms after about 12-14 weeks (after three or four doses).
Golimumab can be prescribed by a consultant rheumatologist for:
There are national and local guidelines that determine when golimumab can be used and these vary depending on the condition.
Are there any reasons golimumab won't be prescribed?
Golimumab won't be prescribed if:
- your arthritis isn't active
- you haven't tried standard treatments appropriate for your condition first
- you have an infection.
Doctors sometimes use a score known as DAS28 to work out how active your arthritis is. This counts how many of 28 specific joints are tender and swollen, and looks at inflammation levels in a blood test. You'll also be asked to score how well you feel on a scale of 0 to 10.
You may not be prescribed golimumab if you’ve had or have:
- repeated infections
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- a serious heart condition
- scarring of lung tissue (lung fibrosis).
You'll have a chest x-ray and a test to check whether you've ever been exposed to tuberculosis (TB). You may need treatment for latent (asymptomatic) TB before starting golimumab.
You may also be checked for previous hepatitis infection, as golimumab may increase the risk of hepatitis being reactivated.