Compare Orencia vs. Cimzia

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.



Orencia (Abatacept) decreases inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Orencia (Abatacept) slows the progress of rheumatoid arthritis, but can also have serious side effects.Reduces inflammation. Cimzia (Certolizumab) is an effective medicine to calm down your immune system, but it can be expensive and it requires a lot of monitoring while you're taking it.
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  • Coupons for Orencia (Abatacept)
  • Cost for (1) 4 syringes of 125mg/ml carton of Orencia (Abatacept)
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Side effects
  • Headache 5%
  • High blood pressure 3%
  • Common cold 3%
  • Indigestion 2%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Rash 1%
  • Pain in extremity 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Urinary tract infection 1%
More Orencia side effects »
  • Upper respiratory infections 7%
  • Common cold 4%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 4%
  • High blood pressure 3%
  • Back pain 3%
  • Joint pain 2%
  • Acute bronchitis 2%
  • Rash 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Urinary tract infections 1%
More Cimzia side effects »
How it works
Orencia (Abatacept) is called a DMARD, a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug. It prevents your body from activating cells that cause inflammation.Cimzia (Certolizumab) is a monoclonal antibody. It lowers inflammation in the body by blocking a protein called TNF (tumor necrosis factor).
Type of medication
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Biological response modifier
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
        • Taking immunosuppressive medications
        • History of repeat infections
        • Adults with rheumatoid arthritis taking TNF inhibitors
        Detailed Orencia (Abatacept) risks & warnings »
        • Medications that lower immune system function
        • Younger age
            • History of heart failure
              Detailed Cimzia (Certolizumab) risks & warnings »
              Pregnancy category
              CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

              Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

              See the FDA package insert
              BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

              Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

              See the FDA package insert
              No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
              No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
              Kidneys and liver
              No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
              No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
              No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
              No specific weight-related info.
              • Tell your doctor if you have night sweats, persistent fever, fatigue, weight loss, or swollen lymph nodes.
              • Cimzia (Certolizumab) can increase the risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers. Talk to your doctor if you have night sweats, persistent fever, fatigue, weight loss, or swollen lymph nodes.
              Upsides and benefits
              • Helps minimize joint damage, lowers symptoms, and prevents future problems.
              • In a 2-year study that used IV Orencia (Abatacept) with methotrexate, more than half of the people had remission and the majority felt significantly better.
              • People taking [name-common] had no new joint damage after two years.
              • Taking Orencia (Abatacept) allows RA patients to use less prednisone, a steroid that has many side effects.
              • Orencia (Abatacept) can be used without other medications for RA.
              • In studies, people with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) taking methotrexate had improved symptoms when Cimzia (Certolizumab) was added to methotrexate.
              • Cimzia (Certolizumab) is as effective as other similar medicines for Crohn's disease. It can be an option for people taking other RA medications that have too many side effects of don't work anymore.
              • Cimzia (Certolizumab) lasts longer in the body than other RA medications, letting it work longer.
              • Available in a prefilled syringe. This can make it easier to give yourself the injection.
              Downsides and risks
              • You'll have to get your blood tested regularly while taking Orencia (Abatacept).
              • You'll probably have to take other medications to help treat your RA symptoms.
              • Orencia (Abatacept) is pretty expensive.
              • The IV infusion form of Orencia (Abatacept) can cause a reaction, which ranges from a slight itching or warm feeling to more serious complications like low blood pressure and chest pain.
              • Because RA is chronic disease, you'll likely take Orencia (Abatacept) for many years.
              • Can lower your immune system's ability to fight infections. You can get serious infections such as TB (tuberculosis) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria.
              • Can have a higher risk for causing bladder infections, rash, and upper respiratory infections (cold or flu) compared to other similar medicines.
              • Cimzia (Certolizumab) can increase the risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and other cancers.
              • Requires routine tests to check for infections.
              • Not a good choice if you have a history of heart failure, nervous system problems, or hepatitis B.
              • There's no generic available and it can be very expensive.
              Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
              • Keep the Orencia (Abatacept) self-injection refrigerated, but let it rest at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes before using it.
              • Each time you use Orencia (Abatacept), be sure to rotate the sites you chose to inject it in. Don't inject it where your skin is tender, bruised, red, or scaly.
              • If you decide to go with the IV version of Orencia (Abatacept), you will only need to get infusions once a month. The self-injections however need to be taken once a week.
              • If you get the IV infusion, stay hydrated, try to relax, and ask your nurse to apply dry heat (instant warm packs) to your arm to help find your good veins.
              • Cimzia (Certolizumab) is a medicine that's injected just under the skin (subcutaneous). It can be given in your doctor's office or you can do it yourself at home.
              • It can take multiple doses before you start to see any effects, so don't change your dose without talking to your doctor.
              • Tell your doctor if you have night sweats, persistent fever, fatigue, weight loss, or swollen lymph nodes.
              • You'll need to have a TB (tuberculosis) test before you start Cimzia (Certolizumab) and periodically during treatment.
              • Don't get any live vaccines while you're taking Cimzia (Certolizumab) since they may not work as well. Wait at least 3 months after you've stopped taking Cimzia (Certolizumab) before getting a live vaccine.
              Learn more
              More about OrenciaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
              More about CimziaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert