Taltz (Ixekizumab) is a biologic medicine that suppresses the immune system in order to treat psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
Taltz works by blocking a signalling protein (called a cytokine) named interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 regulates the body’s immune system and is related to its inflammatory response.
Taltz is available as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection that can be administered at home.
Taltz is available as a pre-filled syringe that is taken every four (4) weeks. The normal dose is 80 mg every four (4) weeks.
Patients starting Taltz will receive two injections (160 mg) initially followed by 80 mg every four (4) weeks after that.
Watch our video to learn how inject Taltz at home:Learn how to inject subcutaneous injectionsLearn how to inject autoinjectors
Subcutaneous injections are easy to do compared to other types of injections. A small needle pokes just under the skin to deliver medicine into the “fatty tissue” below.
The manufacturer of Taltz offers a support program to Canadian patients that are prescribed the medication:Patient support program enrolment forms
Important Tests and Risks
Taltz can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections.
People taking this medicine should call their doctor they have a fever, think they have an infection, or have been prescribed antibiotics to treat an infection.
Patients should coordinate with their doctor to stop treatment before any surgery. It can be re-started once things have healed and there’s no sign of infection.
Patients should discuss all vaccinations with their doctor because some (live vaccines) are not advisable to get while taking Taltz.
It is important to get a TB (tuberculosis) skin test and a chest x-ray before starting Taltz.
It is important for patients who are taking Taltz to get occasional blood tests as requested by their doctor to keep an eye on blood counts and monitor their arthritis.
Taltz works by blocking interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 is a signalling protein, or cytokine, that regulates the body’s immune system and is related to its inflammatory response.
Taltz is a type of protein known as a monoclonal antibody. It binds to IL-17, and in doing so, prevents it from binding to its receptors.
Immune system cells like T-cells, a type of white blood cell, use IL-17 as a messenger to attract other inflammatory cells.
When IL-17 is tied up by Taltz, the messages that are normally sent to recruit other inflammatory cells don’t get through as often, and the overall effect is suppression of the immune system.
Although suppressing the immune system can make it slightly harder for patients to fight off infections, it also helps to stabilize an overactive immune system and treat the symptoms of arthritis and psoriasis.
People taking Taltz should talk to their doctor if they are concerned about any side effects. The most common side effects of Taltz are cold symptoms, upper respiratory tract infections, and diarrhea.
Other possible side effects include:
- Injection site reaction – Taltz can rarely cause a reaction (redness, pain, & itching) at the injection site. Patients should tell their doctor if these are severe.
- Taltz can very rarely flare or un-mask inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis). Tell your doctor if you develop diarrhea while taking Taltz.
- Patients have very rarely developed allergic reactions (feeling faint, trouble breathing or throat tightness, chest tightness, and swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat) or hives while taking Taltz. Taltz should be stopped if this occurs.
People who should NOT be taking Taltz include:
- Anyone who has an allergic reaction to Taltz or any ingredient in this medicine
- Those with a fever or possible infection
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
Patients who are about to have surgery should discuss stopping Taltz with their doctor. The medication can be restarted once things have healed and there are no signs of infection.
People taking Taltz should call a doctor if they feel sick and want to stop, or if they are concerned about any side effects.
Other reasons to call a doctor while taking Taltz include:
- Fever or possible infection
- Upcoming surgery
- Becoming pregnant or planning on pregnancy
- Planning any vaccinations
- Rash or allergic reaction
- Severe diarrhea
Anyone who becomes pregnant while taking Taltz should notify their doctor.Pregnancy and medications