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Cimzia – a New Option against Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease (CD), one of the types of inflammatory bowel disease, belongs to the so-called autoimmune disorders. That means that the immune system of a patient occasionally goes crazy and starts to attack healthy cells of his own organism for no obvious reasons. In case of Crohn’s disease, it is the cells of the human digestive tract, which find themselves under attack of the immune system. As the result, the inflammation of the bowel develops. The attacks may appear and go away for some time, but they usually do not disappear forever, bringing new and new episodes of sufferings for a patient with CD.

The exact cause of such “madness” of the biological system, which is called to protect the organism from external threats and illnesses, is still unknown for scientists. However, certain medicinal options, which help to decrease extra activity of the immune system, still exist.

Cimzia is the new word in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. This is the prescription medication, which was officially approved by the American Food and Drug Administration in April 2008. It is used to treat moderate to severe cases of Crohn’s disease in those patients, whose condition does not respond well to other medications, such as Remicade, for example.

Cimzia reduces the signs and symptoms of the Crohn’s disease by interacting with the human immune system, as we already know. In fact, the medication blocks a certain chemical, called tumor necrosis factor or TNF, which is believed to be responsible for the inflammatory processes within human body.

Speaking about Cimzia, it is worthy to underline a couple of crucially important facts about the medication. First of all, Cimzia is not one of the medicines, which one can just pick up at the drugstore and use it for self-treatment – this is a very potent medication, and before using it one should undergo detailed medical examination. On the other hand, Cimzia is not an oral pill - it can be administered only by injections. So, it is unlikely that someone will decide to risk and make injections to himself instead of visiting medical institution.

By the way, Cimzia features a special advanced PEGylation Technology, which helps to reduce the frequency of medicine administration to once every 4 weeks. So, in order to keep the symptoms of Crohn’s disease under control a patient will have to visit his doctor or a nurse only once per month to receive one shot of Cimzia. (Note: only at the beginning of the treatment Cimzia is given twice a month in half-dose in order to see whether it works for a particular patient)

Another important issue concerning Cimzia refers to its mode of action and potential side effects. On one hand, it is due to the ability of Cimzia to suppress human immune system that the medication is effective in treating Crohn’s disease. However, on the other hand, suppressed immune system always means greater risks of external infections, which may attack the human organism while its security level is decreased. So, while treating the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, Cimzia may slightly open the doors in the human body, and certain infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections, fungal infections or even tuberculosis may attack the organism. Consequently, one should be extremely careful being on Cimzia in order not to get another health disorder, while treating Crohn’s.

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Anyway, according to some oriental wisdom, at some point a worrier should yield to his enemy in order to get the final victory. Perhaps, this is a case with Cimzia – in order to win we should slightly reduce our protection…

P.S. On September 4, 2008, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published an official press-release, calling the manufacturers of TNF-blockers, such as Cimzia, Humira and Remicade, to strengthen the existing warnings on the risk of developing opportunistic fungal infections. The agency reports that some patients with invasive fungal infections have died.

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