Tremfya (Guselkumab) is a biologic medicine that suppresses the immune system in order to treat psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.
Tremfya works by blocking a signalling protein (cytokine) named interleukin-23 (IL-23). These cytokines regulate the body’s immune system and are related to its inflammatory response.
Tremfya is available as a pre-filled syringe that can be administered at home.
Although some patients who take Tremfya can feel better quite quickly, in others it can take a little longer. It is important to keep taking this medicine as prescribed by a doctor.
Tremfya – Administration, Dose, and Frequency
Tremfya comes in a pre-filled syringe for subcutaneous (under the skin) injection.
Patients starting Tremfya will receive an injection on week 0, week 4, and then every 8 weeks after that.
The normal dose is 100 mg.
Watch our video to learn how inject Tremfya at home:
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 Tremfya offers a support program to Canadian patients that are prescribed the medication:
Important Tests and Risks
Risk of Infection
Tremfya 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 (live vaccines) are not advisable to get while taking Tremfya.
Tuberculosis (TB) Test
It is important to get a TB (tuberculosis) skin test and a chest x-ray before starting Tremfya.
Occasional Blood Tests
It is important for patients who are taking Tremfya to get occasional blood tests as requested by their doctor to keep an eye on blood counts and monitor their arthritis.
How Tremfya Works
Tremfya works by blocking a signalling protein, or cytokines, called interleukin-23 (IL-23).
IL-23 regulates the immune system and are related to the body’s inflammatory response.
Tremfya is a type of protein known as a monoclonal antibody. It binds to IL-23, and in doing so, prevents it from binding to a receptor.
Immune system cells like T-cells, a type of white blood cell, rely on signals like IL-23 to become activated or “switched on”.
When IL-23 is tied up by Tremfya, the messages that would normally fire up T-cells don’t get through as often, and the overall effect is suppression of the immune system.
While suppressing the immune 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.
The most common side effects of Tremfya are upper respiratory tract infections (common cold symptoms)
Other possible side effects include:
- Injection site reaction – Tremfya can rarely cause a reaction (redness, pain, & itching) at the injection site. Patients should tell their doctor if these are severe.
- Headache – Tremfya can rarely cause a headache
- Nausea or Diarrhea – Tremfya can rarely cause nausea or diarrhea
Who Should NOT Take Tremfya
People that should NOT take Tremfya include:
- Those with a fever or possible infection
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to Tremfya
Patients who are about to have surgery should discuss stopping Tremfya 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 Tremfya should call a doctor if they feel sick and want to stop, or if they are concerned about any side effects.
Other reasons for people taking Tremfya to call a doctor include:
- Fever or possible infection
- Upcoming surgery
- Becoming pregnant or planning on pregnancy
- Planning any vaccinations
Anyone who becomes pregnant while taking Tremfya should notify their doctor.
Drug Identification Number (DIN)