Cosentyx (Secukinumab) is a biologic medicine that suppresses the immune system in order to treat psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriasis.
Cozentyx works by blocking interleukin-17 (IL-17), a signalling protein (cytokine) that regulates the immune system and is related to the body’s inflammatory response.
Cosentyx is available as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection.
Cosentyx is available as a pre-filled syringe that is taken once a month. The normal dose is either 150 or 300 mg and is based on body weight.
Patients starting Cosentyx will receive an injection weekly for the first five (5) weeks and then once a month after that.
Watch our video to learn how inject Cosentyx at home:Learn how to inject subcutaneous injectionsLearn how to inject autoinjectors
Subcutaneous injections (under the skin 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 Cosentyx offers a support program to Canadian patients that are prescribed the medication:Patient support program enrolment forms
Important Tests and Risks
Cosentyx can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections.
People who take 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 Cosentyx.
It is important to get a TB (tuberculosis) skin test and a chest x-ray before starting Cosentyx.
It is important for patients who are taking Cosentyx to get occasional blood tests as requested by their doctor to keep an eye on blood counts and monitor the arthritis.
Cosentyx works by blocking interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 is a signalling protein, or cytokine, that regulates the immune system and is related to the body’s inflammatory response.
Cosentyx 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 Cosentyx, 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. Though this suppression 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 Cosentyx should talk to their doctor if they are concerned about any side effects. The most common side effects of Cosentyx are cold symptoms, upper respiratory tract infections, and diarrhea.
Other possible side effects include:
- Injection site reaction – Cosentyx can rarely cause a reaction (redness, pain, & itching) at the injection site. Patients should tell their doctor if these are severe.
- Cosentyx can flare or un-mask inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis). Tell your doctor if you develop diarrhea while taking Cosentyx.
- 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 Cosentyx. Cosentyx should be stopped if this occurs.
People who should NOT be taking Cosentyx include:
- Anyone who has an allergic reaction to Cosentyx 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 Cosentyx with their doctor. The medication can be restarted once things have healed and there are no signs of infection.
People taking Cosentyx 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 Cosentyx include:
- Fever or possible infection
- Upcoming surgery
- Becoming pregnant or planning on pregnancy
- Planning any vaccinations
- Rash or allergic reaction
- Severe diarrhea