What is Secukinumab (Cosentyx®)?
Secukinumab is a drug that reduces the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis. Secukinumab is commonly known as Cosentyx®. It is a type of drug called a biologic.
How do I take it?
Secukinumab is injected under the skin (similar to insulin injections) once a month after a loading dose once a week for 5 weeks. The injections are 150 mg each and are available in an automatic “pen” injector or a pre-filled syringe. You will be instructed on how to give yourself injections. People who do not respond well to the 150 mg dose may be increased to 300mg once a month.
What about side effects?
The medicine can cause itching or redness near the injection site. If this happens, the discomfort should be mild. If you have pain, swelling, warmth, or discoloration near the injection site, you should contact your healthcare provider.
Allergic reactions may happen. Call your healthcare provider or an emergency medical provider if you have any signs of an allergic reaction, such as rashes or hives; swollen face, eyelids, lips, or tongue; and difficulty breathing.
The most common serious side effect is infection. Secukinumab can lower the body’s ability to fight infection. Be sure to contact your physician if you have any signs of infection, such as fever, fatigue, cough, or red or painful skin. You may have to stop secukinumab while being treated for an infection. You may also have to stop if you are planning a surgery. Please contact your rheumatologist if you think you have an infection or are planning surgery.
You will need to have a negative tuberculosis (TB) test before beginning secukinumab therapy.
Tell your doctor if you have thrush.
You should not take a live vaccine (Flu-Mist, chicken pox vaccine, shingles vaccine) while on secukinumab. The flu-shot is not a live virus and all patients should consider having this vaccination yearly.
What about other medications?
Many patients need to continue another oral medication, like methotrexate or plaquenil, while on secukinumab, and should continue to take this if advised to do so by their doctor.
Never take secukinumab with another any other biologic medication used to treat psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or psoriasis.
When you are taking secukinumab, it is very important that your doctors know if you are taking any other medicine. This includes prescription and non-prescription medicines as well as birth control pills, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
What else should I know?
Secukinumab must be refrigerated in its original container. Do not freeze this medicine.
You must continue your regular visits to the rheumatologist. Your doctor will monitor you for any improvements in your disease and for any signs of infections.
A Federal Drug Administration approved medication guide can be found at: https://www.pharma.us.novartis.com/sites/www.pharma.us.novartis.com/files/cosentyx_pmg.pdf