Cosentyx is a brand-name prescription medication used for adults. It’s prescribed to treat:

  • Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. With plaque psoriasis, itchy, red patches form on your skin. The condition is one of many types of psoriasis.
  • Active psoriatic arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, you develop arthritis (swelling of the joints) in addition to having psoriasis. “Active” means that you currently have symptoms.
  • Active ankylosing spondylitis. With ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis affects your spine.

Cosentyx may be right for you if systemic treatment (medication that works throughout your body) or phototherapy (light treatment) could help your psoriasis. Cosentyx is a kind of systemic treatment.

Cosentyx contains secukinumab. This is a type of drug called a biologic, which is made from a living or natural source. Cosentyx is a kind of biologic called a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that work to decrease the inflammation (swelling) that causes psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Cosentyx is an injectable drug that comes in three forms:

  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • powder in a single-use vial

Each form is given as an injection just under your skin (subcutaneous). At first, your healthcare provider will give you the injection. After that, if you’re using the pen or syringe, you can learn how to give yourself injections at home. (If you’re using the vial, your healthcare provider will need to give you the drug.)

Effectiveness

Clinical studies looked at all three conditions to determine how effective Cosentyx is:

  • Plaque psoriasis. Clinical trials looked at people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. About 80% of people who took Cosentyx saw their psoriasis symptoms ease by at least 75% after 12 weeks. In comparison, about 4% of people who took a placebo (no treatment) saw their psoriasis symptoms ease by least 75% after 12 weeks.
  • Psoriatic arthritis. Clinical trials also looked at people with psoriatic arthritis. After 16 weeks of treatment, up to 60% of people who took Cosentyx saw their symptoms ease by at least 20%. This is compared to 18% of people who took a placebo, who saw their symptoms ease by at least a 20% after 16 weeks.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis was also studied in clinical trials. After 16 weeks, 61% of people who took Cosentyx saw their symptoms ease by at least 20%. In comparison, 28% of people who took a placebo saw their symptoms ease by at least 20% after 16 weeks.

Cosentyx is available only as a brand-name medication. It contains the active drug secukinumab.

Cosentyx isn’t currently available in biosimilar form.

A biosimilar is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name drug. A generic medication, on the other hand, is an exact copy of a brand-name drug. Biosimilars are based on biologic medications, which are made from parts of living organisms. Generics are based on regular medications, which are made from chemicals. Biosimilars and generics also usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

As with all medications, the cost of Cosentyx can vary. To find current prices for Cosentyx in your area, check out WellRx.com.

The cost you find on WellRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Cosentyx, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the manufacturer of Cosentyx, offers a program called Cosentyx Connect Personal Support. This program may help lower the cost of your medication. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the program website.

Cosentyx can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Cosentyx. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Cosentyx, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Cosentyx can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Cosentyx aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Infections. These can include severe respiratory infections, such as bronchitis and fungal infections (for example, candidiasis). Symptoms can include:
    • fever
    • diarrhea
    • feeling tired
    • throat pain
    • stuffy nose
    • a red, itchy skin rash
  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • trouble breathing
    • hives
    • swelling of the lips or face
  • Ulcerative colitis (swelling of your large intestine). Symptoms can include:
    • diarrhea, sometimes with bleeding
    • weight loss
    • abdominal (belly) pain
    • feeling tired

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug, or whether certain side effects pertain to it. Here’s some detail on some of the side effects this drug may or may not cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Cosentyx.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. In clinical trials, about 1% of people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis developed hives (itchy welts on your skin). This was compared to 0.1% of people who took a placebo (no treatment). It’s not known how many people with psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis developed hives while taking Cosentyx.

Some people in clinical trials also developed anaphylaxis, a type of serious allergic reaction. How often an allergic reaction occurs may be different based on what you condition you are taking Cosentyx to treat.

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Cosentyx. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Diarrhea

You may have diarrhea when taking Cosentyx.

In clinical trials involving plaque psoriasis, about 4.1% of people who took 300 mg of Cosentyx had diarrhea. This is compared to only about 2.6% of people who took 150 mg of Cosentyx or 1.4% of people who took a placebo (no treatment). Diarrhea was not seen as a common side effect in people taking Cosentyx for either psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.

How often diarrhea occurs may be different based on what condition you’re taking Cosentyx to treat. If you’re concerned about diarrhea while taking Cosentyx, talk with your doctor. They may be able reduce your dose of the drug, which may help relieve the diarrhea side effect.

Headache

You may develop headaches while taking Cosentyx for psoriatic arthritis.

In a clinical trial, between 4% and 7% of people who took Cosentyx for psoriatic arthritis developed headaches. In comparison, 2% of people who took a placebo (no treatment) developed headaches. Headaches weren’t a common side effect in people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis or ankylosing spondylitis.

How often headaches occur may differ based on what you condition you’re taking Cosentyx to treat. If you’re taking Cosentyx and your headaches are very bothersome or don’t go away, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to ease your headache pain.

Colds

You may be more likely to get a cold while taking Cosentyx.

Over a 12-week period in clinical trials, about 12% of people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis developed a cold. This was compared to less than 9% of people who took a placebo (no treatment).

Colds also occurred more often in people who took Cosentyx for psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis than in people who took a placebo. The colds weren’t serious infections.

How often you get a cold while taking Cosentyx may depend on what condition the medication is treating. If you develop a cold that’s taking a long time to go away or is bothersome, talk with your doctor.

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a very rare side effect that may occur when you take Cosentyx. Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes irritation in your intestines or colon.

Over a one-year period in clinical trials, 2 of 3,430 people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis had new cases of ulcerative colitis. There were no new cases of ulcerative colitis seen in the placebo group, which didn’t receive treatment.

Clinical trials also showed that people who already had ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease had flare-ups of their condition while taking Cosentyx. (Like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease is a kind of inflammatory bowel disease.) These flare-ups were very rare and occurred in 5 of 3,430 people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis. There were no cases of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease flare ups-in the placebo group, which didn’t receive Cosentyx treatment.

How often ulcerative colitis occurs in people with psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis may vary.

If you’re concerned about new or worsening ulcerative colitis while taking Cosentyx, talk with your doctor. They may monitor you for signs of ulcerative colitis. But if you already have the condition, your doctor may suggest a treatment other than Cosentyx.

Cancer

Currently, there’s no link between Cosentyx and cancer. But taking Cosentyx may increase the risk of developing cancer. This is because Cosentyx may weaken your immune system (your body’s defense against infections).

With a weak immune system, it’s harder for your body to recognize when your cells aren’t growing properly. Normally, your immune system helps prevent cancer cells from starting to multiply. But if your immune system isn’t working properly, cancer cells may grow more easily.

There are no studies showing whether Cosentyx increases or decreases the risk of cancer in humans.

If you’re concerned about developing cancer, talk with your doctor.

Skin rash

A skin rash is a possible rare side effect of taking Cosentyx. If you develop a rash or hives (itchy welts on your skin) after taking Cosentyx, you may have an allergy to the medication. In clinical trials, about 1% of people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis developed hives. This is compared to about 0.1% of people who took a placebo (no treatment). Depending on what condition you’re taking Cosentyx to treat, side effects may be slightly different.

If you develop a rash while taking Cosentyx, ask your doctor if it could be due to the drug. They can look at how serious the rash is and if you have other side effects of an allergic reaction. Then your doctor can decide if you should keep taking Cosentyx. Your doctor or pharmacist may also be able to recommend ways to ease your rash.

Weight loss or weight gain (not side effects)

Weight loss and weight gain aren’t side effects of Cosentyx. In clinical trials, Cosentyx didn’t increase or decrease people’s weight in any way. However, other medications in the same class as Cosentyx can cause weight changes. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.)

If you’re concerned about weight loss or weight gain, talk with your doctor. They can recommend exercise and diet tips to help you stay at a healthy weight.

Fatigue (not a side effect)

Fatigue isn’t a side effect of Cosentyx. In clinical trials, Cosentyx wasn’t shown to cause fatigue. However, other medications used to treat plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, including ustekinumab (Stelara), can cause fatigue.

If you’re concerned about fatigue, talk with your doctor. They can suggest ways to help improve your energy level.

Depression (not a side effect)

Depression isn’t a side effect caused by Cosentyx. Clinical trials haven’t shown any link to the use of Cosentyx and developing depression. However, other medications used to treat plaque psoriasis, such as brodalumab (Siliq), may increase your risk for depression.

If you’re concerned about depression, talk with your doctor. They can find out if you do have depression and suggest treatments that may help.

Hair loss (not a side effect)

Hair loss isn’t a side effect of taking Cosentyx. In clinical trials of Cosentyx, there were no reports of people losing their hair. However, if you have scalp psoriasis, hair loss can happen due to itching and irritating the area where the roots of your hair grow. Usually, hair loss due to itching isn’t permanent, and your hair will grow back.

If you’re concerned about losing your hair, talk with your doctor. They can help determine the cause and suggest ways to treat it.

Joint pain (not a side effect)

Joint pain isn’t a side effect of Cosentyx. However, joint pain may be a side effect of other medications used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis. Examples of medications that may cause joint pain include adalimumab (Humira) and ustekinumab (Stelara).

If you’re concerned about joint pain, talk with your doctor. They can suggest treatments to help you feel more comfortable.

The Cosentyx dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on the type and severity of the condition you’re using Cosentyx to treat.

Sometimes, your doctor may start you on a higher dose of Cosentyx at the beginning of your treatment. This is called a loading dose. A loading dose is used so that there’s enough medication in your body to start working right away. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Cosentyx is given as an injection just under your skin (subcutaneous). The drug comes in three forms and each contains 150 mg/mL of Cosentyx:

  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • powder in a single-use vial*

At first, your healthcare provider will give you the injection. Once they train you, you’ll be able to give yourself injections at home with the Sensoready pen or prefilled syringe. One form may be easier for you to use than another. Ask your doctor which form of Cosentyx is best for you.

* Only a healthcare professional can give you Cosentyx in this form. They’ll mix the powder with a solution and give you the injection.

Dosage for plaque psoriasis

The recommended dose for plaque psoriasis is 300 mg (two 150-mg injections) every week for five weeks. After week 5, you’ll need two 150-mg injections of Cosentyx once every four weeks.

Dosage for psoriatic arthritis

If you have both plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the recommended dose is 300 mg (two 150-mg injections) once a week for five weeks. After five weeks, you’ll need two 150-mg injections once every four weeks.

If you have only active psoriatic arthritis, there are two different ways to take Cosentyx. Depending on how severe your condition is, your doctor may give you a loading dose. This is a higher dose of medication at the beginning of treatment so that the drug can start working more quickly. You’ll have a 150-mg injection once a week for five weeks. Then you’ll have a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

If your doctor doesn’t think that a loading dose is the right option, you’ll have a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

In some cases, you may still have symptoms of psoriatic arthritis with single 150-mg injections of Cosentyx. So your doctor may increase your dose to 300 mg (two 150-mg injections) once every four weeks.

Dosage for ankylosing spondylitis

There are two different ways to take Cosentyx for ankylosing spondylitis. Depending on how severe your condition is, your doctor may give you a loading dose. This is a higher dose of medication at the beginning of treatment so that the drug can start working more quickly. You’ll have a 150-mg injection once a week for five weeks. Then you’ll have a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

The second way to take Cosentyx is without a loading dose. You’ll have a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Cosentyx, have your injection as soon as you remember. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about when to take your next dose.

Medication reminders can help make sure that you don’t miss a dose.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Cosentyx is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Cosentyx is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Cosentyx to treat certain conditions. Cosentyx may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is a condition that causes itchy, red patches (plaques) to form on your skin. Plaques are created when skin cells build up too quickly. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis.

Cosentyx is approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who may need phototherapy or systemic therapy. Phototherapy uses light to treat psoriasis plaques. Systemic therapy is medication that works throughout your entire body to stop plaques from forming.

The National Psoriasis Foundation defines moderate to severe plaque psoriasis as having psoriasis on more than 3% of your body surface. As a guide, one of your hands (including all five fingers and your palm) equals about 1% of your body surface.

In clinical trials of Cosentyx, the drug seemed to be effective at treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. After taking 300 mg of Cosentyx for 12 weeks, about 80% of people with plaque psoriasis saw their psoriasis symptoms ease by at least 75%. In comparison, about 4% of people who took a placebo (no treatment) saw their symptoms ease by at least 75% after 12 weeks.

Cosentyx for psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis (swelling of the joints) that can affect people with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your immune system (your body’s defense against infections) attacks your joints and causes them to swell. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joints in your body and cause them to become painful and swollen.

Cosentyx is approved to be used in adults with active psoriatic arthritis. (“Active” means that you currently have symptoms.)

Clinical trials of Cosentyx have looked at people with active psoriatic arthritis. Over 16 weeks, symptoms eased by at least 20% in up to 60% of people who took Cosentyx. In comparison, symptoms eased by at least 20% in 18% of people who took a placebo (no treatment) over 16 weeks.

Studies also showed that Cosentyx stopped joint damage from getting worse six months after the start of treatment.

Cosentyx for ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects your spine. The condition occurs when your immune system attacks the joints in your spine, causing them to swell and become painful.

Symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis include stiffness, back pain, and being less flexible. You may also have a hunched posture if you have ankylosing spondylitis.

Cosentyx is approved to be used in adults with active ankylosing spondylitis. In clinical trials, about 61% of people had less pain and stiffness after taking Cosentyx for 16 weeks. In comparison, about 28% of people who took a placebo (no treatment) had less pain and stiffness after 16 weeks.

Off-label use for Cosentyx

In addition to the uses listed above, Cosentyx may be used off-label for other uses. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one use is used for a different one that’s not approved.

Cosentyx for rheumatoid arthritis

Cosentyx may be used off-label for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). With RA, swelling occurs in your joints, especially in your hands and feet. And your immune system is overactive.

A pooled analysis of three clinical studies looked at Cosentyx in people with RA. Researchers found that some doses of Cosentyx were effective for easing RA symptoms in people for whom other medications didn't work.

In the future, Cosentyx may be an option for people with RA because the drug can help slow down swelling in joints. However, Cosentyx hasn’t yet been approved for the treatment of RA. More studies are needed to show whether Cosentyx is safe and effective to treat people with RA.

Sometimes Cosentyx can be used with other medications to be a more effective treatment.

For example, if you have psoriatic arthritis, you may take oral medications along with Cosentyx. (Oral drugs are swallowed as a tablet, capsule, lozenge, or liquid.) These include methotrexate (Rheumatrex) or hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). The combination of Cosentyx and an oral medication may be more effective in treating psoriatic arthritis than taking Cosentyx alone.

Cosentyx should never be taken at the same time as other biologic medications, such as adalimumab (Humira), etanercept (Enbrel), or ustekinumab (Stelara). This is because taking more than one biologic medication increases your risk for side effects, such as serious infections. It’s very important that your doctor and pharmacist know all the medications and supplements that you’re taking with Cosentyx.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Cosentyx, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions.

Alternatives for plaque psoriasis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat plaque psoriasis include:

Alternatives for psoriatic arthritis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:

  • etanercept (Enbrel)
  • adalimumab (Humira)
  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • apremilast (Otezla)
  • ixekizumab (Taltz)
  • ustekinumab (Stelara)
  • certolizumab (Cimzia)
  • methotrexate (Rheumatrex)

Alternatives for ankylosing spondylitis

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat ankylosing spondylitis include:

  • adalimumab (Humira)
  • etanercept (Enbrel)
  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • certolizumab (Cimzia)

You may wonder how Cosentyx compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Cosentyx and Humira are alike and different.

Uses

Both Cosentyx and Humira are approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who may need phototherapy or systemic therapy. Phototherapy uses light to treat psoriasis plaques. Systemic therapy is medication that works throughout your entire body to stop plaques from forming.

Both Cosentyx and Humira are also approved for use in adults with active psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. “Active” means that you currently have symptoms.

In addition to these conditions, Humira is also approved to treat:

Drug forms and administration

Cosentyx contains the drug secukinumab. Humira contains the drug adalimumab.

Both Cosentyx and Humira are given as an injection just under your skin (subcutaneous). At first, your healthcare provider will give you the injection. Once they train you, you’ll be able to give yourself injections at home with a Sensoready pen or syringe.

For Cosentyx

Here’s some information about the forms and dosages of Cosentyx.

Cosentyx comes in three forms, and each contains 150 mg/mL of the drug:

  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • powder in a single-use vial*

For plaque psoriasis, you’ll have two 150-mg injections every week for five weeks. After five weeks, you’ll have two 150-mg injections once every four weeks.

For psoriatic arthritis, depending on how severe your condition is, your doctor may give you a loading dose. This is a higher dose of medication at the beginning of treatment so that the drug can start working more quickly. You’ll have a 150-mg injection once a week for five weeks. After five weeks, you would need a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

If your doctor doesn’t think that a loading dose is the right option, you can start with a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

For ankylosing spondylitis, the dosage is the same as for psoriatic arthritis. See above for details.

* Only a healthcare professional can give you Cosentyx in this form. They’ll mix the powder with a solution and give you the injection.

For Humira

Here’s some information about the forms and dosages of Humira.

Humira comes in three forms:

  • single-use prefilled pen that contains 40 mg or 80 mg of the drug
  • single-use prefilled syringe that contains 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, or 80 mg of the drug
  • single-use vial* that contains 40-mg of the drug

For plaque psoriasis, you’ll have an 80-mg injection once in the first week. Then you’ll have a 40-mg injection once every two weeks.

For psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, you’ll have a 40-mg injection once every two weeks.

* Only a healthcare professional can give you Humira in this form.

Side effects and risks

Cosentyx and Humira contain different active drugs but are in the same class of medications. (A drug class is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) Therefore, these medications can cause similar and different side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Cosentyx, with Humira, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Cosentyx, with Humira, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Cosentyx and Humira have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Separate studies of the two drugs were compared in a larger review of studies. Researchers found that Cosentyx was more effective than Humira for treating plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.

However, clinical trials are currently comparing Cosentyx and Humira in people with psoriatic arthritis. This trial is called EXCEED 1 and will be completed around late December 2019. Another trial called SURPASS is comparing Cosentyx and adalimumab (the active drug in Humira) in adults with ankylosing spondylitis. This trial should be completed in December 2021.

Costs

Cosentyx and Humira are both brand-name drugs. Cosentyx isn’t currently available in biosimilar form. But Humira has four biosimilars: Hyrimoz, Cyltezo, Amjevita, and Hadlima. They may cost less than Humira and Cosentyx.

A biosimilar is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name drug. A generic medication, on the other hand, is an exact copy of a brand-name drug. Biosimilars are based on biologic medications, which are made from parts of living organisms. Generics are based on regular medications, which are made from chemicals. Biosimilars and generics also usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Cosentyx and Humira generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, the pharmacy you use, your dose of medication, and how often you are taking it.

In addition to Humira (above), Stelara is another drug that has some uses similar to those of Cosentyx. Here we look at how Cosentyx and Stelara are alike and different.

Uses

Both Cosentyx and Stelara are approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who may need phototherapy or systemic therapy. Phototherapy uses light to treat psoriasis plaques. Systemic therapy is medication that works throughout your entire body to stop plaques from forming. Cosentyx and Stelara are also both approved to treat psoriatic arthritis in adults.

Cosentyx is also approved to treat ankylosing spondylitis in adults.

Stelara is also approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in children ages 12 years and older and Crohn’s disease.

Drug forms and administration

Cosentyx contains the drug secukinumab. Stelara contains the drug ustekinumab.

For Cosentyx

Cosentyx is given as an injection just under your skin (subcutaneous). At first, your healthcare provider will give you the injection. Once they train you, you’ll be able to give yourself injections at home with a Sensoready pen or syringe.

Cosentyx comes in three forms and each contains 150 milligrams/milliliter (mg/mL) of the drug:

  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • powder in a single-use vial*

For plaque psoriasis, you’ll have two 150-mg injections every week for five weeks. After five weeks, you’ll have two 150-mg injections once every four weeks.

For psoriatic arthritis, depending on how severe your condition is, your doctor may give you a loading dose. This is a higher dose of medication at the beginning of treatment so that the drug can start working more quickly. You’ll have a 150-mg injection once a week for five weeks. After five weeks, you would need a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

If your doctor doesn’t think that a loading dose is the right option, you can start with a 150-mg injection once every four weeks.

For ankylosing spondylitis, the dosage is the same as for psoriatic arthritis. See above for details.

* Only a healthcare professional can give you the medication in this form. They’ll mix the powder with a solution and give you the injection.

For Stelara

Stelara is also given as an injection just under your skin (subcutaneous). For adults, your healthcare provider will give you the injection at first. Once they train you, you’ll be able to give yourself injections at home. But children should get all their Stelara injections from a healthcare provider.

Stelara is available in the following forms:

  • prefilled syringes (45 mg/0.5 mL or 90 mg/mL)
  • single dose vial (45 mg/0.5 mL)

The dose of Stelara that you take will be based on your weight and the condition you’re taking it for.

For plaque psoriasis: If you weigh 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds) or less, your first dose will be a 45-mg injection. Four weeks later, you’ll have another 45-mg injection. Then you’ll have a 45-mg injection every 12 weeks.

If you weigh more than 100 kg (about 220 lbs.), your first dose will be a 90-mg injection. Four weeks later, you’ll have another 90-mg injection. Then you’ll have a 90-mg injection every 12 weeks.

As with adults, dosing for children ages 12 through 17 years varies based on weight.

For psoriatic arthritis: For most people, your first dose will be a 45-mg injection. Four weeks later, you’ll have another 45-mg injection. After that, you’ll have a 45-mg injection every 12 weeks.

However, if you have both psoriatic arthritis and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and weigh more than 100 kg (about 220 lbs.), you’ll be given 90-mg injections instead.

Side effects and risks

Cosentyx and Stelara contain different active drug ingredients, but they belong to the same class of medications. Therefore, both medications can cause very similar side effects, and may have some different side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

More common side effects

These lists contain examples of more common side effects that can occur with Cosentyx, with Stelara, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Cosentyx:
    • rash
  • Can occur with Stelara:
  • Can occur with both Cosentyx and Stelara:

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Cosentyx, with Stelara, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Cosentyx and Stelara have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in adults.

The use of Cosentyx and Stelara in treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis has been directly compared in a clinical study. After 16 weeks of treatment, 76.6% of adults who took Cosentyx saw their symptoms ease by at least 90%. This was compared to adults who took Stelara. After 16 weeks of treatment, 54.2% of adults who took Stelara who saw their symptoms ease by at least 90%. Therefore, the trial showed that Cosentyx was more effective than Stelara at treating moderate to severe plaque psoriasis at 16 weeks.

These two drugs haven’t yet been directly compared in clinical studies for psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. However, studies have found both Cosentyx and Stelara to be effective in treating the conditions.

Costs

Cosentyx and Stelara are both brand-name drugs. Neither drug is currently available in biosimilar form.

A biosimilar is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name drug. A generic medication, on the other hand, is an exact copy of a brand-name drug. Biosimilars are based on biologic medications, which are made from parts of living organisms. Generics are based on regular medications, which are made from chemicals. Biosimilars and generics also usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

According to estimates on WellRx.com, Cosentyx is generally less expensive than Stelara. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Cosentyx.

Can Cosentyx be used to treat eczema?

Not right now, but perhaps in the future. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved Cosentyx to treat eczema. However, Cosentyx is currently being studied in a clinical trial for the treatment of eczema. Results of the trial are to be released by July 2020.

If you have eczema, talk with your doctor. They can suggest treatments that may help.

Will I have withdrawal symptoms if I stop using Cosentyx?

If you stop taking Cosentyx, you shouldn’t have withdrawal symptoms. However, once you stop taking the medication, your plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis may flare up again. Sometimes, to help prevent a flare from occurring, your doctor may slowly decrease your dose instead of stopping your treatment all at once.

If you’re concerned about withdrawal symptoms after you stop taking Cosentyx, talk with your doctor.

Should I avoid getting any vaccines if I’m taking Cosentyx?

Yes, you should avoid getting live vaccines while you take Cosentyx. These vaccines contain a weakened form of a bacteria or virus.

If you have a healthy immune system (your body’s protection against infection), live vaccines shouldn’t make you sick. However, Cosentyx may weaken your immune system. So your body may not be able to fight the bacteria or virus in the vaccine as your body normally would.

Examples of live vaccines that you should avoid include:

However, inactive vaccines are safe to get during your Cosentyx treatment. These vaccines don’t have any live viruses in them. Examples of inactive vaccines include:

Before you start to take Cosentyx, talk with your doctor about any vaccines that you may need. It’s best to get these vaccines before you start your Cosentyx treatment.

Can I take Cosentyx if I’ve had tuberculosis?

Yes, but first you may need to be treated for tuberculosis (TB). TB is a lung disease, and even if you don’t have symptoms, TB can still be in your body.

Your doctor will need to treat the TB before you can start taking Cosentyx. This is because Cosentyx may weaken your immune system (your body’s defense against infection). If your immune system is weak, this may cause your TB infection to become active again.

After you complete treatment for TB, you can start taking Cosentyx. While you take Cosentyx, your doctor may test you to make sure that the TB doesn’t become active (cause symptoms).

There’s no interaction between Cosentyx and alcohol. However, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, alcohol may lower your chance of responding to treatment for your plaque psoriasis.

Alcohol may also interact with other medications used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis. These medications include methotrexate (Rheumatrex), which is sometimes taken with Cosentyx for psoriatic arthritis. The combination of alcohol and methotrexate can cause severe liver damage.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor. They can tell you how much alcohol is safe for you to drink while you take Cosentyx.

Cosentyx can interact with several other medications. It isn’t known to interact with supplements or foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase the number of side effects or make them more severe.

Cosentyx and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Cosentyx. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Cosentyx.

Before taking Cosentyx, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Vaccines

You shouldn’t get any live vaccines while taking Cosentyx. These vaccines contain a weakened form of a bacteria or virus.

If you have a healthy immune system (your body’s protection against infection), live vaccines shouldn’t make you sick. However, Cosentyx may weaken your immune system. So your body may not be able to fight the bacteria or virus in the vaccine as your body normally would.

Examples of live vaccines that should be avoided while taking Cosentyx include:

Before you start to take Cosentyx, ask your doctor if you need to get any vaccines.

Antibiotics (not an interaction)

Cosentyx doesn’t interact with any antibiotics (drugs that treat infections caused by bacteria). But while you’re taking Cosentyx, the risk of developing an infection increases. This is because Cosentyx may weaken your immune system (your body’s defense against infection).

In clinical trials, over 12 weeks, about 29% of people who took Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis got an infection. This was compared to only about 19% of people who took a placebo (no treatment).

If you do develop an infection while taking Cosentyx, you may need to be treated with antibiotics. Ask your doctor how you can help avoid infections during your treatment.

Cosentyx and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Cosentyx. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Cosentyx.

You should take Cosentyx according to your doctor or healthcare provider’s instructions.

You’ll get your first dose of Cosentyx at your doctor’s office. A healthcare provider may then teach you how to give yourself injections at home. The Cosentyx website has helpful videos about the proper way to give injections with the Sensoready pen or prefilled syringe. You can also talk with a Cosentyx support specialist and get live virtual injection training. Call Cosentyx Connect at 844-COSENTYX (844-267-3689).

When to take

Depending on what condition you have and how long you’ve been treated, you’ll take Cosentyx either once a week or once every four weeks. You should take Cosentyx on the same day each week or month.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try setting a reminder on your phone. You can also put your treatment schedule in a calendar.

Plaque psoriasis is a condition that causes itchy, red patches (plaques) to form on your skin. Plaques are created when skin cells build up too quickly. Inflammation (swelling) makes plaques worse. Cosentyx can help by decreasing the inflammation and pain that’s caused by your plaque psoriasis.

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis (swelling of the joints) that can affect people with psoriasis. Psoriatic arthritis occurs when your immune system (your body’s defense against infections) attacks your joints and causes them to swell. This inflammation can become very painful. Cosentyx works by decreasing the inflammation in your joints and therefore reducing your pain.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects your spine. The condition occurs when your immune system attacks the joints in your spine, causing them to swell and become painful. In ankylosing spondylitis, Cosentyx works by decreasing the amount of swelling that occurs in your spine. Less swelling may help decrease the pain that ankylosing spondylitis can cause.

What Cosentyx does

Cosentyx belongs to a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. (A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that affect your immune system, which is your body’s defense against infections.

Interleukin 17A (IL-17A) is a type of protein that can cause inflammation. IL-17A can contribute to plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis and make your symptoms worse. People with plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis have higher levels of IL-17A in their blood than people without these conditions.

Cosentyx works by binding to IL-17A and preventing it from working. This decreases the amount of inflammation in your body.

Plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis are all conditions that worsen because of swelling. By preventing the swelling from occurring, Cosentyx should help ease your symptoms.

How long does it take to work?

How long Cosentyx takes to work depends on what condition the drug is treating. In clinical trials:

  • About 80% of people with plaque psoriasis who took Cosentyx had their symptoms ease by at least 75% in just 12 weeks. This is compared to 4% of people who took a placebo (no treatment).
  • Up to 60% of people with psoriatic arthritis who took Cosentyx had their symptoms ease by at least 20% after 16 weeks. This is compared to 18% of people who took a placebo. Some people who took Cosentyx saw an improvement in as little as three weeks.
  • Sixty-one percent of people with ankylosing spondylitis who took Cosentyx had their symptoms ease by at least 20% after 16 weeks. This is compared to 28% of people who took a placebo.

However, each person’s body reacts differently to medication, so you may see results more quickly or more slowly.

Cosentyx hasn’t been studied in pregnant women. So there isn’t enough data to show whether the medication is safe to take during pregnancy. Studies in animals show that there was no effect on the development of infants whose mothers were given Cosentyx. However, animal studies don’t always predict what happens in humans.

If you’re pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide whether Cosentyx is right for you.

It’s not known if Cosentyx is safe to take during pregnancy. If you or your sexual partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking Cosentyx.

Cosentyx hasn’t been studied in women who are breastfeeding. So it isn’t yet known if Cosentyx can pass into human breast milk.

If you’re taking Cosentyx and want to breastfeed your child, talk with your doctor. They can help you decide if you should keep using the drug.

Before taking Cosentyx, talk with your doctor about your health history. Cosentyx may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These include:

  • Chronic or recurring infections. If you have an infection, your doctor will need to treat it before you start taking Cosentyx. This is because Cosentyx increases your risk of getting an infection. The drug may weaken your immune system (your body’s defense against infection).
  • Tuberculosis (TB). If you have tuberculosis (TB) and have symptoms, your doctor will need to treat the TB before you can start taking Cosentyx. This is because Cosentyx may weaken your immune system and cause the TB to become worse. Before you start taking Cosentyx, your doctor will test you for TB.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease. Cosentyx may cause symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to get worse. If you have IBD, talk with your doctor before taking Cosentyx. They may monitor you more often to be sure that your IBD doesn’t get worse while you’re taking Cosentyx.
  • Allergic reactions to Cosentyx. If you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Cosentyx or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Cosentyx. Ask your doctor what other treatments are right for you.
  • Latex allergy. If you’re allergic to latex, you may have an allergic reaction to Cosentyx. This is because the cap on the Cosentyx Sensoready pen and prefilled syringe have natural rubber latex in them. There are no studies of people with a latex allergy using a Cosentyx Sensoready pen or prefilled syringe. However, if you have a latex allergy, talk with your doctor before using Cosentyx. They can review how severe your allergy is and whether it’s safe for you to use the drug.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s not known if Cosentyx is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. To learn more, see the “Cosentyx and pregnancy” and “Cosentyx and breastfeeding” sections above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Cosentyx, see the “Cosentyx side effects” section above.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Cosentyx can lead to serious side effects. (To learn more, see “Serious side effects” in the “Cosentyx side effects” section above.) There were no overdoses in clinical trials of Cosentyx.

What to do in case of overdose

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Cosentyx from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the box of syringes or Sensoready pens. This date is typically one year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee the effectiveness of the medication during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Store Cosentyx in a refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Keep it in its original carton to protect the medication from light. You should never freeze Cosentyx.

Before using Cosentyx, you’ll take it out of the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes. Let Cosentyx come to room temperature before you inject it.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Cosentyx and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

The FDA website provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

You should put used needles, syringes, and pens in a sharps container. Never put them into your regular trash. For more information on how to properly dispose of needles, syringes, and pens, see the FDA guidelines.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Cosentyx is indicated for the following conditions in adults:

Mechanism of action

Cosentyx is a human IgG1 monoclonal antibody. Cosentyx binds to interleukin-17A (IL-17A) selectively and blocks interaction with the IL-17 receptor. Inhibiting the interaction between IL-17A and the IL-17 receptor blocks proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, thereby reducing inflammation. Inflammation is a key symptom of plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Increased levels of IL-17A have also been seen in psoriasis plaques.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Steady state was reached by 24 weeks after monthly dosing. The bioavailability of Cosentyx ranged from 55% to 77%. The pharmacokinetics of Cosentyx were similar in plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Cosentyx also showed dose-proportional pharmacokinetics, meaning that an increase in dose directly affects the maximum concentration of the drug (Cmax), as well as the total drug exposure over time (area under the curve, or AUC).

Cosentyx is believed to be metabolized in the same pathway as endogenous IgG and is broken down into amino acids. The half-life of Cosentyx ranged from 22 to 31 days.

Contraindications

Cosentyx is contraindicated in patients who have had a serious hypersensitivity reaction to Cosentyx in the past.

Storage

Cosentyx should be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). It should be protected from light and should stay in the original carton until use. Do not freeze Cosentyx.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.