Secukinumab - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Secukinumab: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is secukinumab?

Secukinumab is a fully human IgG1κ monoclonal antibody (biological medicine) used to treat inflammatory diseases in humans. Secukinumab was approved in January 2015 in the United States and in the European Union to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Secukinumab is branded and sold as Cosentyx by Novartis. Secukinumab binds to the protein interleukin-17A and inhibits its action. Cosentyx is used to treat psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis.

What are the uses of Secukinumab?

Secukinumab is used for treating the following conditions:

  • Plaque psoriasis (a skin disease with raised red patches covered with a whitish buildup of dead skin cells)
  • Psoriatic arthritis (a type of inflammatory arthritis with symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints)
  • Axial spondyloarthritis (a chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease that affects the axial bones, causing stiffness, severe pain and fatigue)
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Side effects of Secukinumab

Side effects of secukinumab are commonly seen after prolonged infection in a considerably lesser percentage of people, about 29% to 48% of the population. The various side effects include sore throat or a dry cough, irritable bowel syndrome and upper respiratory tract infections. Other side effects that can be seen are as follows:

  • Sneezing
  • Rashes
  • Itching
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hives
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat
  • Headache
  • Chest tightness
  • Hoarseness
  • Increase in cholesterol (only 2% of patients can see this)

Consult your doctor immediately if your symptoms are severe or do not go away for more than 3 days.


Frequently Asked Questions about Secukinumab

1. How long does Secukinumab take to work?

Secukinumab(Cosentyx) takes different time intervals for different conditions depending on the dosage. Following are the timelines for treatment with Secukinumab:

  • Skin psoriasis (3–12 weeks)
  • Psoriatic arthritis (4–16 weeks)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (3–8 weeks)
  • Axial spondyloarthritis (16 weeks)
In some cases, the doses might extend up to 52 weeks, depending on the disease severity and your body response.

2. Does Secukinumab lower the immune system?

Secukinumab may lower the immune system and increase the risk of infections. However, this can occur in only 1% of the patients taking the drug. A general thumb rule is not to take it with other drugs or medications that can weaken your immune system to avoid such cases. Examples would be cyclosporine or tacrolimus.

3. Is Secukinumab an immunosuppressant?

Secukinumab is an immunosuppressant as it weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infections. Hence, you should not take this medication if you have any signs of infection unless your doctor instructs you to do so.

4. How do you inject Secukinumab?

Secukinumab can be taken intravenously and subcutaneously. Secukinumab can be injected through a prefilled syringe, a dosing pen or even in a powdered form that can be mixed with liquid and injected directly into the skin (subcutaneously). Initially, Secukinumab is injected once every week for the initial 5 doses and then once every 4 weeks.

5. Is Secukinumab safe?

Secukinumab is an anti-inflammatory biological medicine that treats moderate to severe disease conditions. Secukinumab is regarded as safe and approved by the FDA and used globally. No evidence proves this medicine is fatal. However, please take precautions to take this medication per your doctor’s prescription.

6. Does Secukinumab cause weight gain?

Secukinumab does not cause weight gain. However, weight loss may occur in some cases due to side effects such as diarrhoea or infections. If your weight loss or side effects are severe, consult your doctor immediately.

7. Can you drink alcohol while on Secukinumab?

No. You cannot consume alcohol while on Secukinumab because it is a drug mainly used to treat inflammatory bone diseases. Alcohol might cause more inflammatory responses that, in turn, delays response to the drug. In that case, consumption of alcohol may worsen your side effects and make you feel sick. Consult your doctor before taking this medicine and take precautions accordingly.

8. Does Secukinumab cause belly fat?

Secukinumab does not cause weight gain. There is no proof that this drug increases belly fat. However, there can be weight loss in some cases because of some of the side effects, such as diarrhoea or infections. If your weight loss or side effects are severe, consult your doctor immediately.

9. How long do you stay on Secukinumab?

Secukinumab or Cosentyx is a biological drug given intravenously or subcutaneously. The dosage depends on the condition and severity of the disease. Usually, the dosage takes 3 weeks to start working, and for severe cases of axial spondyloarthritis, it takes up to 52 weeks for the whole treatment. However, the dosage is suggested by your doctor and revised after regular checkups.

10. Does secukinumab make you sweat?

Secukinumab or Cosentyx has several side effects, such as headaches, chills, sore throat and increased sweating. You may consult your doctor immediately if the side effects are severe or do not go away even after 2 days.


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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.