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SIMPONI(TM) (golimumab) Receives Positive Opinion From CHMP for Once-Monthly Subcutaneous Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis
Date:6/26/2009

ter treatment, including patients who tested negative for latent tuberculosis infections.

The use of TNF blocking agents including SIMPONI has been associated with reactivation of hepatitis B virus in patients who are chronic carriers of the virus. Some of these cases have been fatal. Chronic carriers of hepatitis B should be appropriately evaluated and monitored prior to the initiation of, during treatment with, and for several months following discontinuation of SIMPONI. In patients who develop HBV reactivation, SIMPONI should be discontinued.

Lymphomas have been observed in patients treated with TNF blocking agents, including SIMPONI. The incidence of non-lymphoma malignancies was similar to controls, and lymphoma is seen more often than in the general population. The potential role of TNF-blocking therapy in the development of malignancies is not known. Based on an exploratory clinical trial in patients with COPD, caution should be exercised when using any TNF-blocking therapy in COPD patients, as well as in patients with an increased risk for malignancy due to heavy smoking.

Worsening congestive heart failure (CHF) and increased mortality due to CHF have been reported with another TNF blocker. SIMPONI has not been studied in patients with CHF. SIMPONI should be used with caution in patients with mild heart failure and must be discontinued if new or worsening symptoms of heart failure appear.

TNF-blocking agents, including SIMPONI, have been associated in rare cases with new onset or exacerbation of demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis. The benefits and risks of anti-TNF treatment should be carefully considered before initiation of SIMPONI therapy in patients with pre-existing or recent onset of demyelinating disorders.

There is limited safety experience of SIMPONI treatment in patients who have undergone surgical procedures, including arthroplasty.
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SOURCE Schering-Plough Corporation; Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.
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