What Is It?
Secukinumab (Cosentyx) is a biologic medication used to treat psoriatic arthritis, moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Biologics are medicines that are human made through genetic engineering techniques and closely related to a protein that occurs naturally in the body. Secukinumab blocks an inflammatory protein called interleukin 17 (IL-17), thus improving joint pain and swelling from arthritis and rash from psoriasis.
How to Take It
Secukinumab is a self-administered subcutaneous (beneath the skin) injection given every 4 weeks at a dose of 150 mg or 300 mg. Secukinumab usually begins with a loading schedule of weekly doses of 150 mg for the first 5 weeks, followed by a maintenance dose every month. 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. Secukinumab may be taken alone or with methotrexate or other non-biologic drugs. Secukinumab should not be given in combination with another biologic drug.
The most common side effects are cold symptoms, diarrhea, and upper respiratory infections. If you develop symptoms of an infection while using this medication, you should stop it and contact your doctor. Rare cases of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, have been seen. Very rarely, patients have developed allergic reactions to secukinumab. Secukinumab can lower your immune system’s ability to fight infections. All patients should be tested for tuberculosis before starting on secukinumab.
Tell Your Rheumatology Provider
If you develop signs of an infection or have any side effects, especially diarrhea, bloody bowel movements, abdominal pain, fever, or allergic reactions, you should stop taking the medication and contact your rheumatology provider. If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, let your doctor know before starting this medication. Secukinumab has not been studied in pregnancy or breastfeeding. Be sure to talk with your rheumatology provider before receiving any vaccines or undergoing any surgeries while taking this medication.
Updated March 2023 by Howard Yang, MD, and reviewed by the American College of Rheumatology Communications and Marketing Committee.
This information 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.