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Stelara - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Stelara: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Stelara?

Stelara, known by the generic name Ustekinumab, is an autoimmune drug. It blocks a certain protein in the body which causes swelling. The protein is interleukin-23, interleukin-12. This medication treats psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. This drug helps decrease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is used with another drug, methotrexate, and administered subcutaneously (under the skin) in the form of an injection.

What are the uses of Stelara?

Stelara helps in the treatment of moderate and severe plaque psoriasis in adults and children above six years of age. It is also beneficial for the treatment of patients with psoriatic arthritis who are above 18 years of age. Doctors use it singly or in combination with methotrexate. Patients above 18 years with moderate or severe Crohn’s disease are prescribed this drug. It also helps in treating ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease.

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What are the side effects of Stelara?

Common side effects of Stelara are:

  • Nasal congestion, sore throat, and runny nose 
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Tiredness
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Stomach pain
  • Sinus infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Hardening of skin
  • Swelling
  • Frequent urination
  • Diarrhea

Occasionally it might cause a condition called PRES (Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome) which can be fatal in some cases. Contact our medical experts if you experience side effects such as persistent headaches, sudden vision changes, seizures, and mental/mood changes.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Stelara

1. Is there a generic for Stelara?

Not yet. Stelara, an anti-allergic medication used to treat different types of psoriasis, is a human monoclonal antibody, a kind of protein that can help the body combat infection. Stelara will become available as the generic Ustekinumab. There are many alternatives for Stelara, which doctors prescribe to treat similar conditions, such as Otezla (Apremilast), Cosentyx (Secukinumab).

2. How long does it take for Stelara to work on psoriasis?

The effect of Stelara depends on the condition of the patient who has psoriasis. It takes 12 weeks for considerable improvement upon administration of this drug in case of plaque psoriasis. In the case of psoriatic arthritis, the drug takes longer to show positive effects. Progress can be seen only after 24 weeks of medication.

3. Is Stelara covered by medicine part B?

Stelara is an autoimmune drug used to treat autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and arthritic psoriasis. Medicare Part B covers outpatient care. You can use it to cover the cost of this drug since it is expensive. Part B is filed in the hospital when the charges incurred by the procedure are high.

4. Can you donate blood while on Stelara?

Blood donation is not possible while on Stelara medication. You have to wait at least three months after you have stopped taking the drug, as when you are on this medication, the immune response is low. The increased chances of contracting infections make you susceptible to contracting diseases like TB.

5. Is Stelara a TNF blocker?

No. Stelara is a biologic response modulator and not a TNF blocker. TNF (Tumor necrosis factors) are substances produced by the body to prevent inflammation. But, too much production causes ill effects. TNF blockers act against these effects. On the other hand, Stelara works by binding immune response regulators such as IL-12 and 23, thereby inhibiting cytokine production, and no immune response occurs.

6. Is Stelara chemotherapy?

No, it is not a chemotherapeutic agent. Stelara is a biologic drug, whereas chemotherapy uses chemical agents. It comprises monoclonal antibodies that are proteinaceous substances. These proteins recognize specific proteins (IL-12 and IL-23) and inhibit their interaction with cell surface receptors (IL-12r Beta 1), which further inhibit the production of immune system regulators (cytokine.)

7. Is Stelara an autoimmune drug?

Yes, it is an autoimmune drug used to treat psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and Crohn's disease. It blocks the production of the proteins, Interleukin 23 and Interleukin 12, which are associated with inflammatory and immune responses such as CD4 and T-cell differentiation. This drug reduces immune response in the body.

8. How long can you take Stelara?

Doctors decide the dosage of Stelara for different patients based on several factors, such as the patient's condition, weight, and age. The treatment begins with two starter doses. Then, for 12 weeks, the caregiver administers a specific quantity subcutaneously or under the skin. Consult your healthcare practitioner for your dosage.

9. Does Stelara make you gain weight?

Stelara is a prescription medicine used to treat moderate to severe forms of lucrative colitis and Crohn's disease in patients above 18 years of age. It acts by suppressing the body's immune response and inflammation-causing substances in the body. Similar to other immunosuppressants, weight gain is one of the side effects.

10. Can pregnant women take Stelara?

Not much data is available to suggest the ill effects of Stelara on pregnant women. However, there is a concern regarding its impact on the baby's immune system. A live vaccine might be harmful. Hence, doctors recommend that when the fetus gets exposed to Stelara in the womb, patients should not be given live vaccines for six months after birth.

For further clarification and information, contact our experts.

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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.

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