Canakinumab (Ilaris) is an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS; including Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Syndrome (FCAS), Muckle-Wells Syndrome (MWS), Neonatal Onset Multisystem Inflammatory Disease (NOMID), Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome (TRAPS), Hyper-immunoglobulin D Syndrome (HIDS)/ Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency (MKD), Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF), Adult Onset Still's Disease (AOSD) and Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA).
Canakinumab is an interleukin-1β (IL-1β) blocker, which works to suppress the production of an inflammatory protein. Increased levels of IL-1β cause inflammation resulting in symptoms such as fever, joint pain, and rashes. Canakinumab stops this inflammatory response.
How To Take It
Canakinumab is an injection given in the fat under the skin (i.e., subcutaneous injection). Dosing for canakinumab is based on weight and the disease being treated. Dosing frequency ranges from every 4 weeks to every 8 weeks. For those with an inadequate response, the dose or frequency can be increased.
Side effects from canakinumab include cold and flu symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, body aches, and cough. Patients may also experience nausea, headache, upper respiratory infection, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and vertigo. Injection site reactions are the most common adverse event and have been reported in more than 10% of patients.
Tell Your Rheumatology Provider
Canakinumab suppresses your natural immune response and can increase your risk of infection. Tell your rheumatology provider if you develop fevers or any signs or symptoms of infection. If you experience any allergic symptoms to canakinumab, you should immediately stop treatment and contact your doctor. A documented allergy to canakinumab is an absolute contraindication to the drug. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on conceiving soon. Live vaccines should be avoided while taking canakinumab. When possible, obtain all required vaccinations prior to starting canakinumab.
Updated April 2023 by Nina Washington, MD, MPH, and reviewed by the American College of Rheumatology Committee on Communications and Marketing.
This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment of a medical or health condition.