Ixekizumab (Taltz) is a biologic medication used to treat psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. Biologic medications are proteins designed by humans that affect the immune system. Ixekizumab blocks the inflammatory protein IL-17A. This improves joint pain and swelling from arthritis and rash in psoriatic conditions.
How to Take It
Ixekizumab is a self-administered injection that comes in 80 mg syringes. For psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, it starts with 160 mg (2 syringes), followed by 80 mg (1 syringe) every 4 weeks. For plaque psoriasis, it starts with 160 mg (2 syringes), followed by 80 mg (1 syringe) at weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, then every 4 weeks. For non-radiographic axial spondylarthritis, there is no starting dose; the regimen is 80 mg every 4 weeks. The medicine can be injected into the thigh or abdomen. The site of injection should be rotated so the same site is not used multiple times. Some patients will start to see improvement within a few weeks, but it may take several months to take full effect. Ixekizumab may be taken alone or with methotrexate or other non-biologic drugs. Ixekizumab should not be given in combination with another biologic drug.
Ixekizumab can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. If you develop symptoms of an infection while using this medication, you should stop it and contact your rheumatology provider. All patients should be tested for tuberculosis and hepatitis before starting on Ixekizumab. The most common side effects are infections, injection site reactions, upper respiratory infections, and lowering of white blood cells called neutropenia. Rare cases of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) have been seen. Ixekizumab has not been studied in pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Tell Your Rheumatology Provider
You should contact your provider if you develop symptoms of an infection, such as a fever or cough, or if you think you are having any side effects, especially diarrhea or allergic reactions. Be sure to let your provider know if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. If you are planning on having surgery or if you plan on getting any live vaccinations, talk to your rheumatology provider first. These include the nasal spray flu vaccine, and others such as the measles, mumps, rubella, and yellow fever vaccines.
Updated March 2023 by David Waldburg, MD, 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.