If you have a certain type of autoimmune condition, your doctor might suggest Stelara (ustekinumab) as a treatment option for you.
Stelara is a prescription medication that’s used in adults with the following autoimmune conditions:
In addition, Stelara can be used in children ages 6 years and older who have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
Stelara comes as an injectable solution. It can be given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin) or as an intravenous (IV) infusion. With an IV infusion, you’ll get the medication through your vein over a period of time.
Stelara belongs to a group of medications called biologics. (A biologic drug is made from living cells.)
This article describes the dosages of Stelara, including its forms, strengths, and how to use the drug. To learn more about Stelara, including details of the conditions Stelara can treat, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Stelara’s typical dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when using Stelara, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
Your dosage of Stelara will depend on several factors, including:
- the condition that you’re using Stelara to treat
- your body weight in kilograms (kg)
- your age
- other medical conditions that you may have
- the form of Stelara you use
The section below lists some common dosages of Stelara. However, it’s important that you always follow the dosing schedule that your doctor prescribes. Your doctor will determine the best dosage and administration plan of Stelara for you.
What are the forms of Stelara?
Stelara comes as a liquid solution in either in a single-dose prefilled syringe or in a single-dose vial. The drug can be given in two ways: as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin) or as an intravenous (IV) infusion. (With an IV infusion, you’ll get the medication through your vein over a period of time.)
If you receive Stelara by IV infusion, you’ll get your doses from a healthcare professional, such as at your doctor’s office or a clinic. It’s also recommended that children receiving subcutaneous injections of Stelara get their doses in the doctor’s office or a clinic.
Adults using the subcutaneous injection form of Stelara may want to learn how to inject the drug themselves or have a caregiver administer their doses of Stelara. If your doctor determines that this is an option for you, they’ll give you dosing instructions.
If you’re interested in using Stelara at home, talk with your doctor.
What strengths does Stelara come in?
Stelara is available in either a single-dose prefilled syringe or a single-dose vial, both of which can be given by subcutaneous injection. The prefilled syringe and the vial both come in a strength of 45 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters (45 mg/0.5 mL) of solution. In addition, the prefilled syringe is available in a strength of 90 mg/mL.
When given by IV infusion, Stelara comes in a single-dose vial that’s available in one strength: 130 mg/26 mL.
What are the typical dosages of Stelara?
Typically, your doctor will start you on a dosage based on your body weight. They may adjust your dosage over time to reach the right amount for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Dosage for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis
When used for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, Stelara is given by subcutaneous injection. The dosage of Stelara used for these conditions depends on your body weight.
In adults weighing 100 kg (about 220 pounds [lb]) or less, the starting dose of Stelara is 45 mg, with another dose of 45 mg 4 weeks later. After these first two doses, you’ll get a maintenance dose of 45 mg once every 12 weeks.
In adults weighing more than 100 kg, the starting dose of Stelara is 90 mg, with another 90-mg dose 4 weeks later. After that, you’ll get a maintenance dose of 90 mg once every 12 weeks.
Dosage for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
The recommended dosage for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis also depends on body weight. When using Stelara for these conditions, you’ll receive your first dose through an intravenous (IV) infusion. This will help the medication work more quickly at the start of your treatment.
If you weigh 55 kg (about 121 lb) or less, your starting dose will be 260 mg. If you weigh more than 55 kg and up to 85 kg (about 187 lb), you’ll get a starting dose of 390 mg. If you weigh more than 85 kg, your starting dose of Stelara will be 520 mg.
After your initial dose given by IV infusion, you can switch to the subcutaneous form of the drug. The maintenance dosage is 90 mg every 8 weeks, regardless of your body weight.
Is Stelara used long term?
Yes, Stelara is typically used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Stelara is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely use it long term.
What’s the dosage of Stelara for children?
The dosage of Stelara used in children also depends on body weight. The drug is given as an injection under the skin.
Stelara is approved to treat plaque psoriasis in children and adolescents ages 6 years and older. It’s not approved for use in children or adolescents with psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis.
If your child weighs less than 60 kg (about 132 lb), their dose will be 0.75 mg per kg of body weight. For example, if your child weighs 40 kg (about 88 lb), their dose would be 30 mg.
This 30-mg dose would be given as an initial dose and repeated again 4 weeks later. After that, a maintenance dose of 30 mg is given every 12 weeks.
If your child weighs 60 kg or more, their dosage is the same as the dosage used in adults. To learn more, see “Dosage for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis” above.
Your Stelara dosage is based on your body weight. So your doctor may need to adjust your dosage if you gain or lose weight.
This may be especially important in children using Stelara. A child’s weight typically changes as they grow, which may mean that they need their dosage adjusted.
Be sure to keep your doctor updated about any weight changes you experience. That way, they can make sure you’re using the right dosage.
If you’re using Stelara at home and you miss a dose, you should inject it as soon as you remember. But if it’s been a while since your missed dose, and you’re unsure when to have your next dose, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help you determine when your next dose should be.
If you need help remembering to have your dose of Stelara on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm, downloading a reminder app, or setting a timer on your phone. A kitchen timer can work, too.
If you receive Stelara doses at your doctor’s office, it’s important to keep your appointments. If you miss an appointment, call the office right away to reschedule.
To help make sure you don’t miss your appointment, try setting a reminder on your phone.
The dosage of Stelara you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- the condition you’re using Stelara to treat
- your age
- the form of Stelara you’re using
- other medical conditions that you may have
- changes in body weight (see “Dosage adjustments” under “What is Stelara’s dosage?” above)
Stelara comes as a liquid solution that can be given as a subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin) or as an intravenous (IV) infusion. With an IV infusion, you’ll get the medication through your vein over a period of time. If you receive the IV infusion form of Stelara, you’ll get your doses at your doctor’s office.
Most people prescribed Stelara receive it as a subcutaneous injection. Your doctor may be able to teach you or your caregiver how to give Stelara injections so you can receive your doses at home.
If you use Stelara at home, it’s important to rotate your injection sites. You can inject Stelara into your upper arms, buttocks, upper thighs, or abdomen (belly). You shouldn’t inject Stelara into skin that is red or discolored, hard, tender, or bruised.
For more information about how to inject Stelara, see the step-by-step instructions.
Don’t use more Stelara than your doctor prescribes. Using more than this can lead to serious side effects.
What to do in case you use too much Stelara
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve used too much Stelara. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use their online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
The sections above describe the typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Stelara for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Stelara without your doctor’s recommendation. Only use Stelara exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions that you may want to ask your doctor:
- Will my dosage of Stelara change based on other medications I’m taking for my condition?
- Would a lower dosage of Stelara decrease the side effects I’m experiencing?
- If I start any new medications, will my dosage of Stelara need to change?
If you use Stelara for plaque psoriasis, sign up for Healthline’s psoriasis newsletter to learn more about the condition and your treatment options.
Can my dosage be increased if Stelara isn’t working for me?Anonymous patient
No, increasing your Stelara dosage above the recommended dosages described in this article is not recommended. These are the maximum dosages used in studies of Stelara. Using higher dosages than this could raise your risk for side effects.
To learn more about Stelara’s recommended dosages, see the “What is Stelara’s dosage?” section above.
If you’re concerned that Stelara isn’t working for you, talk with your doctor. They can help determine whether the drug is effective for you. And they can also discuss other treatment options for your condition.Alex Brewer, PharmD, MBAAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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 another 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.