Skyrizi, also known by its generic name risankizumab, is a medication classified as an interleukin-23 (IL-23) inhibitor. It is primarily used for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in adults. Skyrizi is administered as an injection and works by targeting specific proteins in the body’s immune system, reducing inflammation and controlling the symptoms of these conditions.

Skyrizi works by inhibiting the activity of interleukin-23, a protein that plays a significant role in the development of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. By blocking the action of IL-23, Skyrizi helps regulate the immune system and reduce the excessive inflammation associated with these conditions. This mechanism of action helps alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and can lead to improved skin clearance and joint function.

Skyrizi is primarily prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Plaque psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition characterized by raised, red patches covered with silvery white scales on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects individuals with psoriasis, causing joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Skyrizi has shown significant efficacy in treating both of these conditions and improving patients’ quality of life.

Skyrizi is prescribed to adults who have been diagnosed with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. It is important to note that Skyrizi should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional who specializes in dermatology or rheumatology. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your medical history, assess the severity of your condition, and determine whether Skyrizi is an appropriate treatment option for you.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells. This acceleration leads to the formation of raised, reddish patches covered with silvery scales, known as plaques. These plaques can appear anywhere on the body, most commonly on the scalp, knees, elbows, and lower back. While the exact cause of plaque psoriasis is unknown, it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

The exact causes of plaque psoriasis remain unclear. However, research suggests that a combination of genetic predisposition, immune system dysfunction, and environmental factors play a role in its development. Common triggers that can exacerbate plaque psoriasis include stress, infections, injury to the skin, certain medications, and hormonal changes.

Plaque psoriasis presents with distinct symptoms that are easily recognizable. The most common signs include raised, reddish patches covered with silver-white scales, itching, dryness, and cracking of the skin. These patches can vary in size and may be accompanied by discomfort and pain. Additionally, some individuals may experience nail changes, such as pitting or separation, and joint pain or swelling in a condition known as psoriatic arthritis.

Warnings and Precautions

While it can be highly effective, it’s important to understand the warnings and precautions associated with its use.

  • Allergic Reactions and Hypersensitivity: One of the significant warnings associated with Skyrizi usage is the possibility of allergic reactions or hypersensitivity. If you are allergic to any of the components in Skyrizi, it is crucial to avoid using this medication. Allergic reactions may include symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Infections: Skyrizi may increase the risk of infections in some individuals. Before starting Skyrizi, it is important to inform your healthcare provider about any existing infections or a history of recurrent infections. Additionally, if you develop any signs of an infection, such as fever, cough, or urinary tract infection symptoms, it is crucial to consult your doctor promptly. They will evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): Individuals with a history of tuberculosis should exercise caution while using Skyrizi. Before initiating treatment, your healthcare provider will evaluate your medical history for tuberculosis infection or exposure. If you have a history of TB or have been in close contact with someone with active TB, inform your doctor. They will perform appropriate tests and determine the best approach for your treatment.
  • Vaccinations: Prior to starting Skyrizi, it is important to ensure that all required vaccinations are up to date. Some vaccines may not be suitable to administer while on Skyrizi. Therefore, consult your healthcare provider to determine if any vaccinations need to be completed before initiating Skyrizi treatment. It is important to note that live vaccines should be avoided during Skyrizi therapy.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider before starting Skyrizi. Limited data is available on Skyrizi’s effects on pregnant women. Your doctor will assess the potential risks and benefits and guide you accordingly. Similarly, if you are breastfeeding, consult your doctor regarding the safe use of Skyrizi during this period.
  • Liver and Kidney Function: Patients with impaired liver or kidney function should exercise caution while using Skyrizi. It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any existing liver or kidney conditions. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and determine the appropriate dosage and treatment plan for you.

Side Effects

When it comes to managing certain medical conditions, Skyrizi has emerged as an effective treatment option. However, like any medication, it is essential to be aware of the potential side effects it may cause.

Common Side Effects

  • Skin Irritation: Some individuals may experience mild skin irritation, such as redness or itching, at the injection site. This reaction is generally temporary and resolves on its own.
  • Headache: A common side effect reported by some Skyrizi users is a mild to moderate headache. This discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers and usually subsides with time.
  • Upper Respiratory Tract Infections: It is not uncommon for individuals taking Skyrizi to experience upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold or sinusitis. These infections are typically mild and resolve without complications.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or experiencing fatigue is another common side effect associated with Skyrizi. It is important to rest and prioritize self-care if you encounter this symptom.

Rare Side Effects

  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to Skyrizi. If you notice symptoms such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: In rare cases, Skyrizi can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If these symptoms persist or become severe, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider.
  • Increased Risk of Infection: Although not common, Skyrizi can potentially increase your susceptibility to infections. It is important to monitor any signs of infection, such as fever, sore throat, or persistent cough, and promptly seek medical attention if necessary.
  • Elevated Liver Enzymes: Rarely, Skyrizi may lead to increased levels of liver enzymes. Regular monitoring of liver function is essential during treatment to ensure any potential issues are detected early.

Severe Side Effects

  • Serious Infections: In some cases, Skyrizi may increase the risk of serious infections, including bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. If you develop symptoms such as high fever, severe chills, or worsening skin infections, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): While extremely rare, Skyrizi has been associated with cases of PML, a severe viral infection affecting the brain. If you experience symptoms such as changes in vision, difficulty speaking or walking, or seizures, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Malignancies: In rare instances, the use of Skyrizi may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancers. Regular monitoring and consultation with your healthcare provider are crucial to detect any potential issues early on.
  • Hypersensitivity Reactions: Severe allergic reactions to Skyrizi, although rare, may occur. If you experience symptoms such as severe rash, itching, or swelling, accompanied by difficulty breathing or swallowing, seek immediate medical attention.

Interactions

While Skyrizi is effective in managing these conditions, it is important to understand the potential interactions it may have with other drugs, herbs, and foods.

Drug Interactions with Skyrizi

  1. Methotrexate: Methotrexate is commonly used to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. When used in combination with Skyrizi, it may enhance the therapeutic effects, but close monitoring is required due to the increased risk of adverse reactions.
  2. Cyclosporine: Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant, is sometimes prescribed for severe psoriasis. Combining it with Skyrizi can increase the risk of infections and other complications, so cautious use is recommended.
  3. Biologic Agents: Other biologic agents used to treat autoimmune conditions should be used with caution alongside Skyrizi. These include drugs such as adalimumab, etanercept, and ustekinumab. Close monitoring is necessary to ensure the safety and efficacy of the combined treatment.

Herbal Interactions with Skyrizi

  1. St. John’s Wort: St. John’s Wort is a popular herbal supplement used to manage depression and anxiety. However, it can significantly reduce the effectiveness of Skyrizi. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid using St. John’s Wort while on Skyrizi treatment.
  2. Turmeric: Turmeric is a spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Although it is generally safe for consumption, consuming large amounts or taking concentrated turmeric supplements may have additive effects with Skyrizi, increasing the risk of bleeding. Moderate use is generally safe, but it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.
  3. Ginseng: Ginseng is a herbal supplement commonly used to enhance energy and boost the immune system. While its interaction with Skyrizi is not well-studied, exercise caution when using ginseng alongside Skyrizi to avoid potential interactions or adverse effects.

Food Interactions with Skyrizi

  1. Grapefruit: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain compounds that can interfere with the metabolism of certain medications, including Skyrizi. Avoid consuming grapefruit products while taking Skyrizi to ensure optimal drug absorption and effectiveness.
  2. Alcohol: While moderate alcohol consumption is generally acceptable for most individuals, excessive alcohol intake may weaken the immune system and potentially interfere with the therapeutic effects of Skyrizi. It is advisable to limit alcohol consumption and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.
  3. High-Fat Meals: Skyrizi is typically administered through injection, and it is generally unaffected by food. However, consuming high-fat meals around the time of injection may slightly delay the absorption of Skyrizi into the bloodstream. It is recommended to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider regarding injection timing and dietary considerations.

How To Use

If you’re considering using Skyrizi for your skin condition, it’s crucial to understand how to use it correctly to maximize its benefits and minimize potential risks.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Choose a clean and well-lit area to prepare your injection.
  3. Gather all the necessary supplies, including the Skyrizi prefilled syringe, alcohol wipes, and a sharps container.
  4. Check the expiration date and ensure that the medication is not discolored or contains any particles.
  5. Clean the injection site with an alcohol wipe and let it dry.
  6. Remove the cap from the syringe and hold it in your hand like a pen.
  7. Pinch the skin at the injection site and insert the needle at a 90-degree angle.
  8. Inject the medication slowly and steadily.
  9. Once the injection is complete, remove the needle and apply gentle pressure to the injection site with a clean cotton ball or gauze.
  10. Dispose of the syringe and needle in a sharps container as per your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Dosing

It is important to follow the prescribed dosing instructions to ensure the safe and effective use of Skyrizi.

Initial Loading Dose

The initial loading dose of Skyrizi is administered as two subcutaneous injections. Each injection contains 150 mg of the medication. The loading dose helps to establish the therapeutic level of Skyrizi in the body.

Maintenance Doses

After the initial loading dose, maintenance doses of Skyrizi are given at regular intervals. These maintenance doses help maintain the desired therapeutic effect.

Overdose

An overdose of Skyrizi can have serious consequences and may require immediate medical attention. If you suspect an overdose or experience severe adverse effects after using Skyrizi, contact your healthcare provider or seek emergency medical help. It is essential to provide them with as much information as possible, including the amount of medication used and the time of the overdose.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Skyrizi, it is important to contact your healthcare provider for guidance. Depending on the circumstances, they may provide instructions on how to proceed. In general, if you realize you missed a dose shortly after the scheduled time, you should take it as soon as possible. However, if it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, it is recommended to skip the missed dose and continue with the regular dosing schedule. Never double up on doses to make up for a missed one without consulting your healthcare provider.

Storage

It’s essential to store Skyrizi properly to maintain its potency and ensure its safe use.

  • Storage Temperature: To ensure the stability and effectiveness of Skyrizi, it’s important to store it within a specific temperature range. The recommended storage temperature for Skyrizi is between 36°F (2°C) and 46°F (8°C). Deviating from this temperature range may affect the medication’s quality and performance.
  • Storing Skyrizi in the Original Packaging: When you receive Skyrizi, it comes in sealed packaging specifically designed to protect the medication from external elements. It is highly recommended to store Skyrizi in its original packaging until it is ready for use. The packaging helps maintain the medication’s integrity and protects it from light and moisture.
  • Avoiding Exposure to Light: Light can degrade the active ingredients in Skyrizi, reducing its potency. Therefore, it is crucial to keep Skyrizi away from direct sunlight and artificial light sources. Find a storage location that is shielded from light and avoid storing it near windows or areas with intense lighting.
  • Refrigeration Requirements: Refrigeration plays a vital role in storing Skyrizi correctly. Ensure that Skyrizi is always refrigerated between 36°F (2°C) and 46°F (8°C) to maintain its stability. Store Skyrizi in the main compartment of the refrigerator, away from the freezer compartment. Avoid placing it near the cooling vents to prevent exposure to excessive cold.

Disposal

Proper disposal helps protect the environment and prevents any potential harm to others.

  1. Mix Skyrizi with an undesirable substance: To discourage accidental ingestion, mix the remaining Skyrizi solution with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or cat litter. This will make it less appealing and discourage others from using it.
  2. Seal the mixture in a container: Place the mixture in a sealable bag or container to prevent any leaks or spills. Ensure that the container is labeled to indicate that it contains medication.
  3. Dispose of the container in the trash: Place the sealed container in the household trash. Avoid disposing of it in the recycling bin or flushing it down the toilet.
  4. Remove any personal information: Before discarding the Skyrizi packaging, remove any personal information or prescription labels. This step helps protect your privacy and prevents potential misuse.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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