Treats moderate to severe psoriasis. Stelara (Ustekinumab) works for two psoriatic conditions. It may be somewhat of a hassle because of the injection, but after the first two doses, you only need to take it every 12 weeks.
How it works
Stelara (Ustekinumab) is a biologic response modifier, or biologic. It blocks two immune system proteins called IL-12 and IL-23. This slows down new skin cell formation, and lowers inflammation for people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
› Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of serious bacterial, fungal and viral infections. In some cases infections can be reactivated from an inactive virus in your body like tuberculosis (TB). You may need to take medicine for TB before you can begin taking Stelara (Ustekinumab). If you develop symptoms of cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, feel very tired, or you notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, appetite/weight loss, vomiting, change in stool color, stomach discomfort, and skin rash, tell your doctor and get medical care right away.
Upsides and benefits
› Stelara (Ustekinumab) works throughout your whole body (systemic therapy) and may be better than just applying medicine to your skin (local therapy) for moderate or severe plaque psoriasis that covers large areas or many areas of your body.
› It's used alone or together with another medicine called methotrexate for better results to treat active psoriatic arthritis.
› Initial dosing might be a hassle, but then you only have to take it every 12 weeks.
› People treated with Stelara (Ustekinumab) for psoriatic arthritis felt better and had more physical improvement compared to not using the medicine (placebo).
Downsides and risks
› It's an injection.
› Stelara (Ustekinumab) lowers your ability to fight infection and can cause serious life-threatening illness. The risk is greater if you take other drugs that lower your immune system, have an active infection, diabetes, or had tuberculosis (TB) in the past.
› You have to get your first dose of Stelara (Ustekinumab) at your doctor's office. If you decide not to self-inject and don't have someone to do it for you, you'll need to continue to see your doctor for each dose.
› You'll need to properly dispose of the needle and syringes in a special (FDA-approved) sharps container.
› Because Stelara (Ustekinumab) needs to be refrigerated until you use it, if you're traveling, you'll need to carry it in a cooler with an ice pack.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
› Stelara (Ustekinumab) is an immunosuppressant medication that's injected under the skin (subcutaneous).
› Your doctor will give your first dose then let you self-inject once you learn how to do it correctly.
› It's very important you read the Medication Guide especially if you're giving yourself injections.
› Usual dosing to build up the medicine in your body is a starting dose, then 4 weeks, then 12 weeks. Maintenance dosing is every 12 weeks.
› You'll need to have a TB test before you start injecting Stelara (Ustekinumab).
› Tell your doctor if you have an allergy to latex. The prefilled syringe needle cover contains a latex product.
› Don't use/inject if the medicine contains any particles or is discolored.
› Rotate your injection areas using front of the thigh, outer area of upper arms or lower part of your belly (not around belly button). Don't inject into skin that's red, bruised or irritated.
› Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of common infections, reactivate infections hidden in your body, and in some people, cause rare infections.
› Serious and life-threatening nervous system and allergic reactions can happen immediately, days or months after starting Stelara (Ustekinumab). Stelara (Ustekinumab) can increase your risk of certain skin cancer.
› Dispose of used syringes in a protective (Sharps) container. DON'T throw in the trash.
› Don't get any live vaccines while you're taking Stelara (Ustekinumab). If you need to get a vaccine, ask your doctor first.