Compare Cimzia vs. Actemra

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


Cimzia (certolizumab)

Prescription only

Actimmune (tocilizumab)

Prescription only
Calms the immune system and prevents joint damage.

Cimzia (certolizumab) effectively calms down your immune system, but you have to be comfortable receiving injections.

Calms down the immune system and helps prevent joint damage.

Actimmune (tocilizumab) effectively relieves pain and prevents joint damage. You can get it as a shot or an infusion, but it may not be the best choice if you have liver problems.

  • People taking Cimzia (certolizumab) for Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions had greater clinical response compared to people who did not take Cimzia (certolizumab).
  • Compared to some other drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions, Cimzia (certolizumab) has not been associated with as many harmful effects during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • You can give yourself Cimzia (certolizumab) on your own at home rather than visiting a clinic or hospital.
  • After the initial dosing, you need to take Cimzia (certolizumab) every 4 weeks.
  • Cimzia (certolizumab) has been on the market for almost 10 years.
  • In studies, Actimmune (tocilizumab) lowered joint pain and slowed down joint damage better than a placebo in people who didn't have earlier success with methotrexate.
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) can work for you even if methotrexate or other medications haven't improved your rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Many people have only minor side effects, or none at all.
  • Cimzia (certolizumab) lowers your ability to fight infection and in some cases can cause serious life-threatening illness. The risk is greater if you take other drugs that lower your immune system, have an active infection, or had tuberculosis (TB) in the past.
  • Can in some cases cause bladder infections, rash and respiratory infections (cold or flu)
  • In rare cases, Cimzia (certolizumab) has been associated with cancers in children and adolescents.
  • Can increase your risk of side effects if you have a history of heart failure, nervous system conditions, or hepatitis B.
  • There's no generic available and it can be expensive.
  • Since Actimmune (tocilizumab) calms down your immune system, it raises your risk of serious or possibly life-threatening infections, including TB (tuberculosis).
  • Actimmune (tocilizumab) doesn't come in a pill form - it has to be used as an injection or infusion.
  • You'll need to get blood tests done before and during your treatment to make sure no problems arise while taking Actimmune (tocilizumab).
  • This drug may not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
  • There is no generic form of the drug, so it can be expensive.
Used for
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (moderate to severe)
  • Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
  • Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Dosage forms
  • Injection
  • Infusion
  • Injection
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Side effects
4possible side effects
  • Infections
  • Upper airway infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Joint pain
See more detailed side effects
9possible side effects
  • Upper airway infection (URTI)
  • Headache
  • Nasopharyngitis (cold)
  • High blood pressure
  • Bronchitis (airway inflammation)
  • Rash
  • ALT increase (liver test change)
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Serious infections
    • Taking other immunosuppressant medications such as methotrexate or steroids
    • Age 65 or older
    • Active, chronic, or recurrent infection
    • Comorbidities
  • Cancers
    • Taking other immunosuppressant medications, such as azathiprine or 6-mercaptopurine, at the same time as Cimzia (certolizumab)
    • History of malignancy
    • Adolescent age
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart failure
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Lower blood cell counts
  • Nervous system effects
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Guillain-Barre syndrome
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Risk of serious or life-threatening infection
    • Diabetes, HIV, or other medical conditions that cause a weak immune system
    • Taking other immunosuppressant medications
    • Had TB or were exposed to TB in the past
  • Stomach and intestinal problems
    • History of diverticulitis
  • Blood test changes
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Cancer
  • Live vaccines
See more detailed risks and warnings