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 (or cytokine) called interleukin-17 (IL-17). IL-17 regulates the immune system and is related to the body’s inflammatory response. Taltz itself is a type of protein known as a monoclonal antibody.
Taltz is available as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection. 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.
Subcutaneous injections are easy to do compared to other types of injections. Patients can do them quickly at home. A small needle pokes just under the skin to deliver medicine into the “fatty tissue” below.
Learn how take Taltz:
Important Tests and Risks
Taltz can make it a bit harder for people to fight off infections. Patients 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 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 the arthritis.
Drug Identification Number (DIN): 02455102, 02455110
How Taltz Works
Taltz 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.
Taltz is itself 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. 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.
Side Effects of Taltz
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 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.
Who Should NOT Take Taltz
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.
When to Call a Doctor
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