Highlights for natalizumab
Natalizumab is an injectable drug used to treat multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.
Natalizumab is given by a trained doctor or nurse through a needle in your vein once every four weeks.
Natalizumab increases your risk of a dangerous condition called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. It’s only available through the TOUCH Prescribing Program. You and your doctor must agree to the program instructions and complete some paperwork before you can get this medication.
You’ll receive treatment at an infusion center registered with the TOUCH Prescribing Program. You’ll be monitored during the treatment and for 1 hour after treatment.
You may not be able to receive natalizumab if you have a weakened immune system from health conditions, such as HIV, AIDS, leukemia, lymphoma, or an organ transplant.
This drug is a prescription drug. It’s an injectable solution that can only be given by a trained healthcare provider in an authorized location.
Why it's used
This drug is used to treat:
- relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis
- moderate to severe Crohn’s disease
How it works
It’s unclear how this drug works in your body.
natalizumab Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects that occur with natalizumab when it’s used to treat multiple sclerosis include:
- joint pain
- urinary tract infections
- stomach pain
The most common side effects that occur with natalizumab when it’s used to treat Crohn’s disease include:
- fever and chills
- back pain
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
herpes encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms may include:
- sudden fever
- severe headache
liver damage. Symptoms may include:
- stomach pains
- loss of appetite
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- dark urine
allergic reaction. Symptoms may include:
- trouble breathing
- chest pain
This drug doesn’t cause drowsiness.
natalizumab May Interact with Other Medications
Natalizumab can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take natalizumab (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
This drug comes with risks if you don’t receive it as prescribed by a doctor.
If You Miss a Dose/Appointment
If you miss a dose, your condition and its symptoms could get worse.
What to Do If You Miss a Dose
This drug is given through a needle in your vein at a registered infusion center. If you have to miss an appointment, contact your doctor or the infusion center to make sure you can reschedule as soon as possible.
How to Tell If the Drug Is Working
You may be able to tell this drug is working for multiple sclerosis if you notice a decrease in flare-up symptoms. These include muscle weakness, vision changes, problems with coordination and balance, and problems with thinking or memory.
You may be able to tell it’s working for Crohn’s disease if you notice improvements in your symptoms, such as less abdominal pain and discomfort.
This drug is a short-term or long-term drug treatment.
Your doctor will evaluate you every 6 months to see if you need to continue treatment.
- Tysabri. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Treating-MS/Medications/Tysabri-%C2%AE
- Tysabri – natalizumab. (2013, December). Retrieved from http://www.tysabri.com/patientMedicationGuide
- Tysabri – natalizumab. (2013, December). Retrieved from http://www.tysabri.com/prescribingInfo
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on April 20, 2015