What is Apremilast (Otezla®)?
Otezla is a pill that may help people with plaque psoriasis or active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). It may improve certain conditions of these diseases, such as joint pain, stiffness, swelling and skin plaques.
How do I take it?
When you first start Otezla, your doctor will give you a 14-day Starter Pack. All of the instructions are printed on the pack. During the first 5 days you gradually increase your dose until you reach the 30 mg twice a day. People with severe kidney disease will follow a different schedule for increasing their dose. Be sure to take Otezla exactly as directed by your doctor.
By starting slowly, people have less trouble with any nausea and diarrhea.
Otezla can be taken with or without food. Do not crush, chew or split the pill.
What about side effects?
Some patients taking Otezla reported depression. Before you start Otezla, tell your doctor if you have had feelings of overwhelming sadness, thoughts or behaviors like wanting to killing yourself or, or other mood changes. After starting Otezla, tell your doctor if any of these symptoms develop or worsen.
The most common side effects of Otezla were diarrhea, headache, and nausea. Side effects usually occur within the first 2 weeks of treatment, and get better as you continue to take it. You may use over-the-counter medication such as immodium to treat diarrhea, or Tylenol® to treat headaches.
Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
What about other medications?
You should not take certain medicines when you are taking Otezla as they may decrease its effectiveness. Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. This include prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as vitamins and herbal supplements.
What else should I know?
You must continue your regular visits to the rheumatologist. Your doctor will monitor you for any improvements in your disease or adverse effects of your medication.
A Federal Drug Administration approved medication guide can be found at: