Cosentyx side effects and how to avoid them
Cosentyx is a brand-name medication manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. It is classed as a biologic medication (biologics are drugs made from living cells) and is used for the treatment of inflammatory autoimmune diseases. While Cosentyx is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Cosentyx include upper respiratory tract infections. Less common, but more serious side effects, can include more serious infections.
Learn more about the side effects of Cosentyx and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Cosentyx (secukinumab)?
Cosentyx is a medication prescribed to adults who have one or more of the inflammatory autoimmune diseases. You may use it on its own or in combination with the drug methotrexate for:
- Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis
- Active psoriatic arthritis
- Active ankylosing spondylitis, and active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis
Cosentyx may also be used to treat children and adolescents aged 4 years and older with active enthesitis-related arthritis.
Plaque psoriasis is a skin condition caused by a speeding up of the lifecycle of skin cells, likely triggered by your immune system. It causes cells to build upon the surface of your skin, resulting in red patches covered in silvery scales. These patches can occur in a few places or they can cover large areas of your body.
Psoriatic arthritis is a joint condition that’s related to plaque psoriasis and happens most often in people who have plaque psoriasis. It’s caused by inflammation in your joints. It can make joints stiff, swollen, and painful, and it can cause damage as cartilage and bone are lost over time. Psoriatic arthritis can affect any joint, but it’s most common in the fingers and toes.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis caused by inflammation in the joints of your spine and sometimes in your shoulders and hips. It can result in stiffness, pain, damage, and deformation of the joints over time.
The active ingredient secukinumab is classed as a monoclonal antibody. It reduces the amount of inflammation your immune system can cause. Your immune system triggers inflammation by releasing molecules called cytokines. Secukinumab works by binding with these cytokines. This stops the cytokines from working, reducing the amount of inflammation they can trigger.
Cosentyx is available in injection form:
- 150 mg/mL in a single-dose Sensoready pen or in a single-dose prefilled syringe
- 75 mg/0.5 mL in a single-dose prefilled syringe
- 150 mg, lyophilized powder in a single-dose vial for reconstitution
Costenyx is often prescribed after a first round of medication has proven ineffective. Cosentyx is given as an injection under your skin (a subcutaneous injection). It can be done by a doctor or nurse, or by yourself using a pre-filled syringe or a Sensoready pen.
You are advised to read the medication guide and prescribing information provided with this medicine for the drug information and patient information and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
Cosentyx side effects
The most common possible side effects of Cosentyx in clinical trials include:
- Injection site irritation
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat
- Cold sores (oral herpes)
- A runny nose (rhinorrhea)
Cosentyx can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Serious infections – signs of infection such include fever, sweats, muscle aches, skin sores, diarrhea, stomach pain, pain when you urinate
- Skin redness and shedding of large areas of skin, which may be itchy or painful
- Anaphylaxis and serious allergic reactions can occur – feeling faint, swelling of your face, mouth, tongue, or throat, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, chest tightness, skin rash or hives .
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Cosentyx and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Cosentyx drug interactions
Monitor patients when starting or stopping treatment with Cosentyx if also taking CYP450 substrates
Before taking Cosentyx, be sure to tell your doctor about all of the medications you are taking to ensure they are safe to take at the same time.
Cosentyx warnings & precautions
Don’t take Cosentyx if you:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient secukinumab
- Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Cosentyx
- Have an infection your physician thinks is serious
- Are under 18 years of age
Talk to your doctor before taking Cosentyx if you:
- Have an infection
- Have recently had a vaccination
- Have long-term or repeating infections
- Have tuberculosis
- Have Crohn’s disease
- Have ulcerative colitis
- Are undergoing any other treatments for plaque psoriasis, such as taking another immunosuppressant or ultraviolet (UV) light phototherapy
- Have a latex allergy (the injection device used for Cosentyx may contain latex)
- Have recently received or are scheduled to receive live vaccines (such as smallpox, chickenpox, and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine)
- Are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed
You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Cosentyx, to make sure it is safe for you.
Does Cosentyx cause cancer?
No, Cosentyx is not associated with cancer.
Does Cosentyx cause weight gain?
No, Cosentyx does not cause weight loss or weight gain.
Does Cosentyx cause neurological side effects?
Cosentyx does not cause tiredness but fatigue is a side effect of methotrexate which you may take alongside Cosentyx. Fatigue may also be a symptom of psoriatic arthritis or another condition that Cosentyx is used to treat.
Does Cosentyx cause depression?
No. Cosentyx is not known to cause depression or changes in mood changes.
What are Cosentyx’s rare side effects?
Rarely, Cosentyx can cause inflammatory bowel disease. Cosentyx may cause severe flare-ups if you already have inflammatory bowel disease.
Does Cosentyx cause hair loss?
Cosentyx is not known to cause hair loss.
Is Cosentyx a high-risk medication?
Cosentyx may weaken your immune system, and increase your risk of infection.
What can you not do with Cosentyx?
Do not drink alcohol if you are using methotreaxte in combination with Cosentyx. Alcohol may cause liver damage and make the symptoms of the condition you are treating worse.
Who should not take Cosentyx?
Cosentyx is not recommended for children under the age of 18 years. Cosentyx is only available with a doctor’s prescription.
What is the maximum dosage for Cosentyx?
Your loading dose and maximum dose of Cosentyx will be based on the condition you are being treated for and your body weight. This will be decided by your doctor.
Are there any risks with Cosentyx?
Costenyx reduces how well your immune system is able to fight infections and may increase your chances of developing a serious infection.
How to avoid Cosentyx side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Cosentyx as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and do not take more or less than prescribed.
If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.
1. Stick to the recommended dosage
Take your prescribed dose of Cosentyx that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
2. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Cosentyx. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.
3. Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse.
4. Avoid alcohol
Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Cosentyx as it can increase your risk of liver problems and make the symptoms of the condition you are treating worse.
5. Don’t skip meals
Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
6. Check your feet
If you have diabetes, check your feet regularly for any cuts, sores, or redness. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Cosentyx.
7. Know the signs and symptoms of Cosentyx side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects include upper respiratory infections. If you experience any of these symptoms speak to your doctor for medical advice.
8. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking
Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Cosentyx.
9. Get regular medical check ups
It is important to get regular medical check ups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your side effects and may adjust your dose of Cosentyx as needed.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.
Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.