Stelara

Generic Name: Ustekinumab

  • What is Stelara?

    Stelara is used to treat adults with moderate or severe psoriasis that involves large areas or many areas of the body, who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet light alone or with pills).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Stelara?

    It is not known if Stelara is safe and effective in children. It is also not known if taking Stelara for more than 2 years is safe and effective.

    Stelara affects the immune system and can increase your chances of having serious side effects, including the ability of your immune system to fight infections. It also may increase your risk of infections. Call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of an infection.

    Some people have serious infections while taking Stelara, including tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Some people have to be hospitalized for treatment of their infection. Your doctor should check you for TB before starting Stelara. If your doctor feels that you are at risk for TB, you may be treated with medicine for TB before you begin treatment with Stelara. During treatment with Stelara, your doctor should watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB.

    Because Stelara may decrease the activity of the immune system, it may increase your risk for certain types of cancers. Tell your doctor if you have ever had any type of cancer. Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) is a rare condition that affects the brain and can cause death. The cause of RPLS is not known. If RPLS is found early and treated, most people recover. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening medical problems, including headache, seizures, confusion, vision problems.

    You should not receive the BCG vaccine during the 1 year before taking Stelara or 1 year after you stop taking it.

  • Who should not take Stelara?

    Do not take this medication if you are diagnosed with TB or have any active infections, have cancer, are pregnant or nursing, have received a live vaccine, or have received allergy shots.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Stelara?

    Before you receive Stelara, tell your doctor if you have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). Tell your doctor if anyone in your house needs a vaccine. The viruses used in some types of vaccines can spread to people with a weakened immune system and can cause serious problems.

    Tell your doctor if your are receiving or have received allergy shots, especially for serious allergic reactions. Allergy shots may not work as well for you during treatment with Stelara. Stelara may also increase your risk of having an allergic reaction to an allergy shot. Also tell your doctor if you receive phototherapy for your psoriasis or if you have any other medical conditions.

    Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take other medicines that affect your immune system. Certain medicines can affect how your liver breaks down other medicines.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults ≥ 18 years: Your doctor will decide the right dose for you based on your weight and how often you should receive it.

  • How should I take Stelara?

    Stelara is given by injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection). Stelara should only be given by a healthcare provider as directed by your doctor. Be sure to keep all of your scheduled follow-up appointments.

  • What should I avoid while taking Stelara?

    You should not receive a live vaccine while taking Stelara.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Stelara?

    If Stelara is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Stelara with vaccines or immunosuppressive drugs.

  • What are the possible side effects of Stelara?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Stelara can increase your chances of having serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you have any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: feeling faint; swelling of your face, eyelids, tongue, or throat; trouble breathing, throat tightness; chest tightness, or skin rash.

    Common side effects may include: upper respiratory infections, headache, tiredness

  • Can I receive Stelara if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    It is not known if Stelara is safe to use during pregnancy; you and your doctor should decide if Stelara is right for you. Stelara may pass into breast milk. You should not breastfeed while taking Stelara without first talking with your doctor.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Stelara?

    Stelara should only be given by a healthcare provider, and it should only be given to those who will be closely monitored and have regular follow-up visits with a physician. Make sure to keep all your scheduled appointments, and call your doctor if you are unsure of your dosing schedule.

  • How should I store Stelara?

    Your doctor will store this medication.

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I'm Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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