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Secukinumab (Cosentyx) is a biologic medication used to treat psoriatic arthritis, moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Biologics are medicines that are man made through genetic engineering techniques and closely related to a protein that occurs naturally in the body. Secukinumab blocks an inflammatory protein called IL-17, which improves joint pain and swelling from arthritis and rash from psoriasis.
Secukinumab is a self-administered injection that comes in 150mg dose syringes. The typical dose is 150 or 300mg per injection. Depending on your dose, you may inject one or two syringes each time it is given. Secukinumab usually begins with weekly doses for the first five weeks, followed by a dose every month. The medicine can be injected into the thigh or abdomen. The site of injection should be rotated so the same site is not used multiple times. Some patients will start to see improvement within a few weeks, but it may take several months to take full effect. Secukinumab may be taken alone or with methotrexate or other non-biologic drugs. Secukinumab should not be given in combination with another biologic drug.
The most common side effects are cold symptoms, diarrhea, and upper respiratory infections. Rare cases of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, have been seen. Very rarely, patients have developed allergic reactions to secukinumab. Secukinumab can lower your immune system’s ability to fight infections. All patients should be tested for tuberculosis before starting on secukinumab.
If you develop signs of an infection or have any side effects, especially diarrhea, fever, or allergic reactions, you should stop taking the medication and contact your doctor. If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, let your doctor know before starting this medication. Secukinumab has not been studied in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Be sure to talk with your doctor before receiving any vaccines or undergoing any surgeries while taking this medication. Live vaccines should be avoided while on this medication and you should discuss updating your vaccinations prior to starting this medication. These include the shingles vaccine, the nasal spray flu vaccine, and others such as the measles, mumps, rubella, and yellow fever vaccines.
Written May 2017 by Paul Sufka, MD and reviewed by the American College of Rheumatology Communications and Marketing Committee.
This information provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment of a medical or health condition.
© 2017 American College of Rheumatology