Skyrizi side effects and how to avoid them
Skyrizi is a brand-name medication that is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. It is classed as an interleukin-23 biologic and used for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis or active psoriatic arthritis, and moderate to severe Crohn’s disease in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. While Skyrizi is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Skyrizi include headaches, tiredness, and stomach pain. Less common, but more serious side effects, can include an increased risk of serious infections and allergic reactions.
Learn more about the side effects of Skyrizi and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa)?
The active ingredient in Skyrizi is called risankizumab-rzaa. It is a type of antibody protein that has been designed to specifically target and deactivate immune system proteins that cause inflammation.
One of the ways your immune system triggers inflammation is by releasing interleukin proteins. Interleukins are created and released by your white blood cells. They then attach to the outside of certain cells in your body (such as skin cells), triggering the cells to begin processes that cause inflammation.
When you take Skyrizi, the risankizumab it contains attaches to the interleukins released by your white blood cells. This blocks the interleukins, stopping them from attaching to skin cells and triggering inflammation. In turn, this limits how much inflammation your immune system can cause in your skin, reducing the severity of your plaques and clearing areas of your skin. Learn more about what is Skyrizi.
Skyrizi is available in injection form, in single-dose prefilled syringes, each containing 75 mg/0.83 mL. 150 mg (two 75 mg injections) of Skyrizi is administered by subcutaneous injection at Week 0, Week 4, and every 12 weeks thereafter. Your doctor will show you how much Skyrizi to use and how often.
Adults with plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis will receive Skyrizi using the prefilled pen or prefilled syringe. Adults with Crohn’s disease will receive starter doses through a vein in the arm in a healthcare setting by a healthcare provider. After completing the starter doses, these patients will receive Skyrizi as a subcutaneous injection using the prefilled cartridge with on-body injector.
If you miss a dose of Skyrizi, inject a dose as soon as you remember, and take your next dose at your scheduled time. If you use more Skyrizi than prescribed, call your healthcare provider immediately.
Store Skyrizi in the original carton in a refrigerator and use it until its expiration date. Protect from light. Do not shake or freeze. When using Skyrizi, take the medicine out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature for 30 to 90 minutes before use. Do not heat the medicine in any other way.
You are advised to read the medication guide for the full prescribing information and drug information and to always speak with your healthcare provider about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
How effective is Skyrizi?
In clinical studies comparing adults with plaque psoriasis using Skyrizi to those using a placebo, after 16 weeks 75% of adults receiving Skyrizi reported at least a 90% improvement in their plaque psoriasis symptoms, compared to 2% to 5% of those receiving a placebo reporting a 90% improvement in their plaque psoriasis symptoms.
Skyrizi side effects
The most common possible side effects of Skyrizi in clinical trials include:
- Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat
- Injection site reactions: swelling, itching, and pain at the site of injection
- Upper respiratory infections, fever, stomach pain, back pain, joint pain, and low red blood cells (anemia)
- An increased risk of fungal skin infections
Skyrizi can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Increased risk of serious infections such as tuberculosis (fever, cough, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and feeling very tired)
- Severe allergic reactions to the medication
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Skyrizi 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.
Skyrizi drug interactions
Skyrizi can interact with other medications including:
- Any other treatments you have for your psoriasis
- Any vaccinations you are due to have or have recently had
Before taking Skyrizi, 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.
Skyrizi warnings & precautions
You should not use Skyrizi if:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient risankizumab
- Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Skyrizi
- Are under 18 years of age
Talk to your doctor before taking Skyrizi if you:
- Are taking any of the medications that could interact with Skyrizi
- Have tuberculosis or have recently been around someone who has tuberculosis
- Have an infection that will not go away or that keeps coming back
- Have recently had a live vaccine or are due to have one
- Are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
- Are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed – It is not known if Skyrizi passes into your breast milk
You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Skyrizi, to make sure it is safe for you.
Other warnings you should know about
- Skyrizi may reduce the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. Call your doctor if you have symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, muscle aches, skin sores, stomach pain, diarrhea, burning when you urinate, weight loss, cough, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough with red or pink mucus
- Skyrizi can cause serious allergic reactions. Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you get any of the following symptoms – fainting, dizziness, feeling lightheaded, swelling of your face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat, trouble breathing or throat or chest tightness, skin rash, hives, or itching
How to avoid Skyrizi side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Skyrizi 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 Skyrizi that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than specified.
Skyrizi is not known to interact with alcohol, however, research shows that alcohol can trigger a new diagnosis of psoriasis or make symptoms worse.
3. Know the signs and symptoms of Skyrizi side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects include upper respiratory infection, headaches, and tiredness. Speak to your doctor for medical advice if you experience any of these side effects.
4. 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 Skyrizi.
5. Get regular medical checkups
It is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your progress and may adjust your dose of Skyrizi 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.