Risankizumab-rzaa, sold under the brand name Skyrizi, is an FDA-approved biologic treatment for adults. It is prescribed to patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It may be used in combination with UV light (phototherapy) or on its own.
- What is Skyrizi used to treat?
- How does Skyrizi work?
- How much does Skyrizi cost?
- What are the side effects of Skyrizi?
- How do you inject Skyrizi?
- What is the correct dosage of Skyrizi?
- What should you avoid while taking Skyrizi?
1. What is Skyrizi used to treat?
Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis and an autoimmune disease. Skyrizi is used to treat the symptoms of plaque psoriasis, specifically the thick red patches that appear on the skin. Aside from its primary application, Skyrizi is currently being studied in phase three clinical trials for treating Crohn’s disease. Skyrizi is also being studied to determine its ability to treat psoriatic arthritis and colitis safely and effectively.
2. How does Skyrizi work?
Skyrizi belongs to a class of drugs called interleukin-23 (IL-23) antagonists. The drug works by attaching itself to IL-23 proteins in the body. By attaching to IL-23 proteins, Skyrizi not only blocks them from causing inflammation, but also prevents them from turning on other immune cells as well. This leads to a reduction in the symptoms of plaque psoriasis.
3. How much does Skyrizi cost?
One of the most common questions patients prescribed Skyrizi have is about the cost. As with most medications, the answer isn’t straightforward. The cost that every individual pays will vary based on a number of factors including their location and insurance coverage. The cash price of a single Skyrizi kit, equivalent to one dose, is $16,548. This means that the first month of treatment, which includes two doses will cost $33,096. However, following the first month of treatment, Skyrizi is taken only four times a year. This means that the monthly cost is $5516.
4. What are the side effects of Skyrizi?
Skyrizi may cause a variety of side effects ranging from mild to severe. Mild side effects typically subside after a few days or weeks following the start of treatment, but if they persist or worsen you should speak with your doctor.
Mild side effects:
- Injection site reaction
- Tinea, a fungal skin infection
- Upper respiratory tract infection
Severe side effects:
- Signs of infection (fever or chills, prolonged dizziness, weight loss, listlessness)
- Symptoms of urinary tract infection (pain while urinating, urinating more frequently than usual)
If you experience any of these serious side effects, you should speak with your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if it is an emergency.
In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking Skyrizi.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
5. How do you inject Skyrizi?
Patients often wonder how to inject Skyrizi themselves. However, it is important to note that you should not attempt to give any injections without first speaking with your doctor. If your doctor has decided that at-home injections are the best route, then the following video from the Polyclinic can help with understanding how to properly give a subcutaneous injection.
6. What is the correct dosage of Skyrizi?
The proper dosage of Skyrizi will vary between patients and is based on several factors. You should always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The following information refers to typical doses of Skyrizi. If these doses are not consistent with your prescription, follow your prescription.
Typically, patients take two initiation doses (a 75 mg injection each time) in week 0 and week 4. Starting in week 16 of treatment, they receive injections every 12 weeks.
7. What should you avoid while taking Skyrizi?
The most important thing to avoid for patients taking Skyrizi is live vaccines. Skyrizi treats plaque psoriasis by lowering your immune system’s activity. . This means that when taking a live vaccine the body may not be able to properly process and respond to the vaccine, and you could fall ill. Before taking Skyrizi, speak with your doctor about any upcoming vaccines, as you may need to delay starting treatment until you have had them. Due to the weakened immune system that results from taking Skyrizi, patients should also take care to avoid getting sick as they may have a more difficult time recovering.
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