Secukinumab (brand name: Cosentyx®) is a medicine used to treat adults with psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints that is often accompanied by psoriasis. Secukinumab is also used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis that is chronic (lasts for a long time).
Secukinumab may also be used to treat adults with ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease which primarily affects the spine, causing inflammation and pain in the spinal joints.
Secukinumab is a monoclonal antibody which is a protein that recognises and binds to an inflammatory protein called Interleukin 17A (IL-17A). In patients with psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, the body's immune system produces an increased amount of IL-17A which causes the symptoms such as swollen and painful joints. Secukinumab blocks the action of IL-17A in the body, reducing the inflammation and other symptoms caused by the increased amount of IL-17A.
Secukinumab is a new medicine used for patients who have severe active psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. It may take a number of weeks for you to notice some relief of joint swelling, pain and stiffness.
Secukinumab is injected just under the skin (subcutaneously) of the thigh or abdomen. It is best to avoid (if possible) any areas of skin involved with psoriasis. The syringe should be taken out of refrigerator 20 minutes before injecting to allow it to reach room temperature. Do not shake or freeze the syringe.
It can be injected by your doctor, nurse, carer, or by you. If injecting yourself, be sure to follow the detailed instructions carefully to ensure the best response. It is important to change the injection site each time.
If you forget an injection, make the next injection as soon as you remember and continue to use it as you normally would. Do not inject a double dose to make up for the one you missed.
If you have missed more than one dose or are not sure what to do, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Let your doctor as soon as possible if you accidentally use more than your prescribed dose. The risk of adverse events is higher with larger doses.
Secukinumab is a solution for injection that comes in a pre-filled syringe or pen. Each pre-filled pen contains 150mg of secukinumab. In psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, the usual dose of secukinumab is 150mg (the contents of one pre-filled pen) injected each week for the first 4 weeks of treatment, then once a month after that.
Secukinumab may be taken in combination with other arthritis medicines, including:
There are separate information sheets for the medicines mentioned above.
Treatment can continue with secukinumab as long as it is effective and you are not experiencing any adverse effects. Your doctor will tell you how long to continue treatment with secukinumab.
As with most medicines, secukinumab may cause side effects in some people. You may need medical treatment if you get some side effects. Tell your doctor if you are concerned about any possible side effects.
Other less common side effects include oral thrush, signs of low white cells (such as fever, sore throat or mouth ulcers due to infections), athelete's foot, ear infections, painful periodsconjunctivitis or discharge from the eye with itching, redness and swelling.
There are some rare but potentially serious side effects with secukinumab.
Tell your doctor or go to the hospital immediately if you have an allergic reaction as you need urgent medical attention.
If you have inflammatory bowel disease, tell your doctor if you have worsening symptoms during treatment with secukinumab, or if you develop new symptoms of stomach pain or diarrhoea.
Other side effects not listed in this leaflet may also occur. Tell your doctor if you notice any other side effects that you think might be caused by secukinumab.
Before treatment is started with secukinumab, your doctor will examine you for tuberculosis (TB). If your doctor feels that you are at risk for TB, you may be treated with medicine for TB before you begin treatment and during treatment with secukinumab.
While having treatment with secukinumab you must see your rheumatologist regularly to ensure the treatment is working and minimise any possible side effects.
If you stop secukinumab for any reason you must contact your doctor.
Remember to change the injection site each time secukinumab is injected.
If you are worried about any side effects you should contact your rheumatologist as soon as possible.
If you need a vaccination, tell your doctor you are being treated with secukinumab before you have the vaccination. Some vaccines cannot be given while on sucukinumab.
If you are having treatment with secukinumab and plan to become pregnant you must discuss the timing with your doctor
This information has been produced by the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) to help you understand the medicine that has been prescribed for you. Please read it carefully and discuss it with your doctor. The information in this sheet has been obtained from various sources and has been reviewed by the ARA. It is intended as an educational aid and does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned. This information is not intended as medical advice for individual problems nor for making an individual assessment of the risks and benefits of taking a particular medicine. It can be reproduced in its entirety but cannot be altered without permission from the ARA. The NHMRC publication: How to present the evidence for consumers: preparation of consumer publications (2000) was used as a guide in developing this publication.