Velsipity (etrasimod) is a prescription drug that’s used to treat ulcerative colitis (UC). Velsipity comes as an oral tablet.

Velsipity is used in adults to treat moderate to severe active UC. “Active” means the condition is currently causing symptoms.

To learn more about Velsipity’s uses, see the “What is Velsipity used for?” section below.

Velsipity basics

Velsipity contains the active ingredient etrasimod. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.)

Velsipity is a brand-name medication. A generic version of the drug currently isn’t available.

Velsipity is prescribed to treat moderate to severe active ulcerative colitis (UC) in adults. (“Active” means the condition is currently causing symptoms.)

UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. With UC, inflammation affects the lining of your large intestine (also called the colon), rectum, or both. Inflammation leads to ulcers (sores) forming on this lining. It also causes your bowels to contract and empty their contents frequently. Symptoms of UC may include pain in the abdomen, blood in the stool, and diarrhea.

It’s not fully known how Velsipity works to treat UC. But it’s thought that the drug helps block immune cells from reaching your GI tract. This may lower inflammation in your bowels, which may help ease the symptoms of UC.

Like most drugs, Velsipity may cause mild or serious side effects. The lists below describe some of the more common side effects that Velsipity may cause. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

Keep in mind that side effects of a drug can depend on:

  • your age
  • other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the potential side effects of Velsipity. They can also suggest ways to help reduce side effects.

Mild side effects

Here’s a list of some of the mild side effects that Velsipity can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist or read Velsipity’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects of Velsipity that have been reported include:

Mild side effects of many drugs may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. But if they become bothersome, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Velsipity can occur, but they aren’t common. If you have serious side effects from Velsipity, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Velsipity that have been reported include:

* These side effects were not reported in studies of Velsipity. But they have occurred in people taking other medications that are similar to Velsipity.
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Allergic reaction” section below.

Allergic reaction

Some people may have an allergic reaction to Velsipity.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include swelling under your skin, usually in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. They can also include swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat, which can cause difficulty breathing.

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Velsipity. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Velsipity that’s right for you. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.

Form and strength

Velsipity is available as an oral tablet. It comes in one strength, which is 2 milligrams (mg).

Recommended dosage

For treating ulcerative colitis (UC), your doctor will likely prescribe 2 mg of Velsipity to be taken once per day.

Questions about taking Velsipity

Below are some common questions about taking Velsipity.

Can Velsipity be chewed, crushed, or split? No, you should not chew, crush, or split Velsipity tablets. You should swallow them whole. If you have difficulty swallowing pills, check out this article or ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Should I take Velsipity with food? You can take Velsipity with or without food.

Is there a best time of day to take Velsipity? You can take Velsipity at any time of day. But it’s best to take it around the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent level of the drug in your body, which helps Velsipity work effectively.

What if I miss a dose of Velsipity? If you miss a dose of Velsipity, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time to take your next dose, skip the missed dose. And then take the next dose at its usual time. You should not take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. Doing so could raise your risk of side effects.

If you’re not sure whether to take a missed dose, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Will I need to take Velsipity long term? Velsipity is typically taken as a long-term treatment. You and your doctor can determine whether it’s safe and effective for your condition. If you agree that it is, you’ll likely take it long term.

Overdose

Do not take more Velsipity than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to harmful effects.

What to do in case you take too much Velsipity

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Velsipity. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach America’s Poison Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room.

Below is important information you should consider before taking Velsipity.

Interactions

Taking a drug with certain medications, vaccines, foods, and other things can affect how the drug works. These effects are called interactions.

Velsipity can interact with several other medications.

Before taking Velsipity, 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 take. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

Drug interactions

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Velsipity. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Velsipity. If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drug group or drug nameDrug examples
beta blockersmetoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
carvedilol (Coreg)
calcium channel blockersdiltiazem (Cartia XT, Cardizem CD, others)
amlodipine (Norvasc)
certain antiarrhythmic drugsamiodarone (Pacerone)
sotalol (Betapace)
certain drugs that weaken your immune systemmethotrexate (Trexall)
• doxorubicin (Doxil)
drugs that can cause long QT syndromehaloperidol (Haldol)
clarithromycin
the antibiotic drug rifampin (Rimactane)
the antifungal drug fluconazole (Diflucan)

Velsipity and alcohol

Alcohol is not known to interact with Velsipity. But alcohol may make your ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms worse. Because of this, if you drink alcohol, your doctor may recommend limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

Velsipity interactions with vaccines

You should not receive live vaccines* during your Velsipity treatment. You’ll also need to avoid receiving a vaccine for at least 4 weeks before you start taking Velsipity. And you’ll need to avoid receiving one for at least 5 weeks after your last dose of Velsipity. This is because getting a live vaccine while you’re taking Velsipity increases your risk of infection.

Examples of live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, and chickenpox. If you need to receive a vaccine, talk with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe.

* Live vaccines contain weakened versions of the bacteria or virus that they’re meant to protect against.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Velsipity during pregnancy. But the drugmaker notes to warn pregnant females* and those who can become pregnant of the potential risk to a fetus while taking Velsipity. Studies also report that untreated UC can cause harm during pregnancy.

It’s not known whether it’s safe to take Velsipity while breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or planning either, talk with your doctor before starting Velsipity treatment.

Pregnancy registries help study whether treatments are safe to take during pregnancy. Velsipity has such a registry. You might consider signing up for it if you and your doctor agree you’ll take Velsipity during pregnancy. Or you might consider signing up if you become pregnant while taking Velsipity. To do so or to learn more, call 800-616-3791.

* In this article, we use the term female to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, see this article.

Birth control

If you’re able to become pregnant, your doctor may recommend using a form of birth control during your Velsipity treatment. They’ll likely recommend that you use it throughout your treatment. You may also need to continue taking birth control for at least 1 week after your Velsipity treatment ends.

Warnings

Velsipity can sometimes cause harmful effects in people who have certain conditions. This is known as a drug-condition interaction. Other factors may also affect whether Velsipity is a good treatment option for you.

Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Velsipity. Be sure to tell them if any of the following factors apply to you:

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about Velsipity.

Does Velsipity cause long-term side effects?

It’s possible. Long-term side effects include those that may start at any time you’re taking a drug, even if you’ve taken it for a long time. They include side effects that may not go away, even after you stop taking the drug.

Examples of long-term side effects reported in Velsipity’s studies include:

Talk with your doctor to learn more about possible side effects of Velsipity and how long they may last.

Will Velsipity cure my ulcerative colitis?

No, Velsipity does not cure ulcerative colitis (UC). UC currently has no cure. But Velsipity works to manage the symptoms of UC.

If you have other questions about what to expect from your Velsipity treatment, talk with your doctor.

How does Velsipity compare with Zeposia?

Both Velsipity and Zeposia treat UC in adults. Zeposia also treats certain forms of multiple sclerosis.

Velsipity and Zeposia belong to the same group of drugs and work in a similar way. Both drugs cause similar side effects. Examples include an increased risk of infection, liver injury, and macular edema. Joint pain is more likely with Velsipity, while back pain is reported with Zeposia.

If you have other questions about how Velsipity and Zeposia compare, talk with your doctor. They can help find the best treatment for you.

Whether or not you have health insurance, cost may be a factor when you’re considering Velsipity. The amount you’ll pay for Velsipity may depend on several things, such as your treatment plan and the pharmacy you use.

If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. A copay savings program may be available.

You can also check out this article to learn more about saving money on prescriptions.

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Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. If you’d like to explore an alternative to Velsipity, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that might work well for you.

The following drugs are similar to Velsipity:

* This drug is used off-label. This means the drug isn’t approved to treat UC. Even so, doctors might prescribe it to treat the condition based on studies and guidelines.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about approved and off-label treatments for UC.

If you have questions about taking Velsipity, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Questions you may want to ask include:

  • How does Velsipity fit into my ulcerative colitis (UC) treatment plan? Should it be taken alone or with other medications to treat my UC symptoms?
  • Based on my health history, am I at higher risk of side effects from taking Velsipity?
  • What should I do if I become pregnant during my treatment with Velsipity?
  • Can you recommend ways to lower my risk of infection while I’m taking Velsipity?

To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. You may also want to check out the online communities at Bezzy. It’s a place where people with certain conditions can find support and connect with others.

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.