What is Otezla Uses, warnings & interactions
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Otezla (apremilast) is an oral medication that is manufactured by Amgen, Inc. It was approved in 2014 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain types of psoriasis. It is also used to treat mouth sores caused by a rare condition called Behçet’s Disease, which causes inflammation in your blood vessels. You typically begin treatment with a 14-day starter pack that will slowly increase your dose to help reduce your risk of GI side effects.
If your doctor has prescribed Otezla to you, you may want to know more about what it is and how it works. Here we’ll explain what Otezla is used for, how it works, its side effects, and more.
What is Otezla used for?
OTEZLA is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD) that is used in adult patients for the treatment of:
- Active psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
- Severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy
- Oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s Disease
Otezla can be used alone or with other treatments such as phototherapy or topical medications. It is also effective when taken with Trexall (methotrexate).
How does Otezla work?
Otezla inhibits the activity of an enzyme in your immune cells called phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4). Blocking PDE4 reduces your body’s production of inflammatory molecules and leads to a decrease in symptoms.
What are the most commonly prescribed doses of Otezla?
- 10mg tablet
- 20mg tablet
- 30mg tablet
Before taking Otezla
- Before taking Otezla, tell your healthcare provider about your medical conditions, including:
- Kidney disease
- History of depression or suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding
How to take Otezla
- Read the Full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide that comes with Otezla.
- Take Otezla exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes it. To reduce your risk of adverse effects, your healthcare provider may start Otezla at a low dose and then gradually increase it as tolerated. Do not change your dose or stop taking this medication without discussing it with them first.
- Otezla is an oral tablet that you typically take once in the morning and once at night. You can take this medication with or without food. You should swallow Otezla tablets whole. Do not crush, cut, or chew them.
- If you miss a dose of Otezla, take it immediately. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take it at the next scheduled time. Do not take extra doses to catch up.
- Store Otezla tablets below 30°C (86°F).
You should not use Otezla if you have a known allergy to apremilast or any inactive ingredients in its formulation.
- Otezla use has been associated with serious hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis. You should not use this medication if you have a known allergy to it. If a severe reaction occurs, seek immediate medical attention.
- You might need to reduce your dose or discontinue Otezla if you develop gastrointestinal problems such as severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.
- Monitor for worsening depression, suicidal thoughts, or other mood changes, and notify a healthcare provider if this occurs while you or someone you know is taking Otezla.
- You should monitor your weight regularly while on this medication. If unexplained or significant weight loss occurs, notify your healthcare provider.
What drugs should not be taken with Otezla?
When Otezla is taken with other medications, it may change how they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. You should ask your doctor if any of the prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements you take may cause drug interactions with Otezla, including:
- Strong CYP450 enzyme inducers such as rifampin, St. John’s wort, phenobarbital, carbamazepine, and phenytoin
What are some possible side effects of Otezla?
The most common side effects of Otezla seen in clinical trials include:
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Weight loss
- Tension headache
Otezla can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Severe allergic reactions (hives, swelling of the face or throat, and trouble breathing)
- New or worsening depression
- Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior
Contact your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible adverse effects you experience while taking Otezla. You can report your adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Your doctor can prescribe other medications if Otezla is not right for you. Some alternative FDA-approved treatment options include:
- Simponi (golimumab)
- Tremfya (guselkumab)
- Stelara (ustekinumab)
- Skyrizi (risankizumab)
- Humira (adalimumab)
- Siliq (brodalumab)
Can you take Otezla while you are pregnant or breastfeeding?
Based on animal studies, Otezla may cause fetal harm. There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors outcomes in pregnant women that have taken Otezla. You can find more information by calling 1-877-311-8972 or visiting https://mothertobaby.org/ongoing-study/otezla/. It is not known if Otezla is found in human breast milk or the effects it may have on a breastfed infant. Otezla was found in the milk of lactating mice. You should always discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding.
Does Otezla cause weight gain?
Otezla is more likely to cause weight loss than weight gain. Clinical studies showed that people taking Otezla 30mg twice a day lost an average of 5% to 10% of their body weight after 16 weeks of treatment.
How long can you stay on Otezla?
If you tolerate Otezla, you can take it long-term to keep your condition under control. Safety studies that lasted up to 5 years showed that Otezla was safe for long-term use.
Is Otezla an immunosuppressant?
Yes, Otezla is a DMARD that suppresses an overactive immune system to help reduce inflammation.
Is Otezla a steroid?
No, Otezla works differently than steroids to help reduce certain inflammatory conditions. It belongs to a class of medications called phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitors.
Is Otezla a biologic?
No, Otezla is not a biological medication. Biologics are drugs made from immune system cells while Otezla is synthetically made from chemicals.
How much does Otezla cost?
Currently, there is no generic Otezla available on the market. The average cost of #60 Otezla 30mg tablets is approximately $3,400. However, you can save on brand-name drugs like Otezla through NiceRx if eligible for assistance.