Prescription onlyClass: Autoimmune

Stelara 

(ustekinumab)

Prescription onlyClass: Autoimmune
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Treats moderate to severe psoriasis.

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Our bottom line

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.

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Prices and coupons for 1 (0.5ml of 45mg/0.5ml) syringe of ustekinumab

Upsides

  • 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).
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Downsides

  • 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.
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.

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Side effect rates for Stelara (ustekinumab)

  • Immunogenicity

Risks and Warnings for Stelara (ustekinumab)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • Age 60 or older
    • Weak immune system

    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.

Common concerns from people taking Stelara (ustekinumab)

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Pregnancy
Interactions
  • There are certain medicines that interact with Stelara (Ustekinumab) or will need the dose adjusted, especially if they are "narrow" therapy medicines like warfarin,