Taltz, the brand name of the injectable ixekizumab, is a medication used to treat autoimmune diseases. Taltz is most often used to treat diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. The exact conditions that Taltz is used to treat vary based on location, as different governing bodies have approved it for different uses.
- How does Taltz (Ixekizumab) work?
- What are the side effects of Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
- How much does Taltz (Ixekizumab) cost?
- Taltz (Ixekizumab) vs Humira: What’s the difference?
- What’s the right Taltz (Ixekizumab) dosage for me?
- Can you drink alcohol while taking Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
- How do you inject Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
- How long does Taltz (Ixekizumab) take to work?
1. How does Taltz (Ixekizumab) work?
Psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis are all autoimmune conditions. This means that they cause the immune system to attack healthy cells, leading to negative symptoms. Each of these diseases is linked to various parts of the immune system. However, one thing they have in common is their connection to a protein called interleukin-17A. Interleukin-17A is a naturally occurring protein responsible for normal immune responses.
Taltz works by attaching itself to interleukin-17A, which in turn prevents attacks on cells. This prevention reduces inflammation and negative symptoms such as scaly patches of skin and joint swelling.
2. What are the side effects of Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
Taltz may potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen you should speak with your doctor.
Common side effects:
- Redness or soreness at or near the injection site
- Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)
- Fungal infections
- Cold-like symptoms
Severe side effects:
- Serious infections, such as tuberculosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
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 Taltz.
- Skin rash
- Tightness in the throat or chest
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
3. How much does Taltz (Ixekizumab) cost?
As with most drugs, the cost of Taltz will vary based on your location as well as your insurance coverage. That said, the US cash price for a single standard dose is around $6245. The monthly cost will vary based on your specific dosing schedule, but typically patients will take two doses per month for the first three months and one dose per month after that. There is also typically a starting dose of two injections on the same day.
4. Taltz (Ixekizumab) vs Humira: What’s the difference?
Patients often wonder about the difference between Taltz and Humira since they are used to treat similar conditions. Medically, the key difference is the mechanism of action lies with Humira being an anti-TNF medication, blocking TNF-alpha instead of interleukin -17A. The end goal of both medications is to block inflammation, they just have slightly different methods of doing so. For that reason, doctors may prescribe one before switching to the other if the first option was not effective.
5. What’s the right Taltz (Ixekizumab) dosage for me?
The proper dosage of Taltz 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 is typical doses for the different conditions Taltz may be used to treat.
Psoriatic Arthritis – The first dose will be two 80mg injections on the same day. Following the initial dose, there will be one 80mg injection every 4 weeks.
Plaque psoriasis – The first dose will be two 80mg injections on the same day. Then for the next 12 weeks, there will be an 80mg dose every 2 weeks. Following those 12 weeks, there will be a maintenance dosage of 80mg every 4 weeks for as long as necessary.
Ankylosing spondylitis – The dosage for ankylosing spondylitis is typically the same as psoriatic arthritis. The first dose will be two 80mg injections on the same day. Following the initial dose, there will be one 80mg injection every 4 weeks.
If you miss a dose of Taltz, you should take it as soon as possible unless it is already nearly time for your next dose. If it’s almost time for your next dose take it when you normally would. You should never double dose to make up for a missed dose.
6. Can you drink alcohol while taking Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
There is no known interaction between Taltz and alcohol. However, many doctors still recommend avoiding alcohol consumption while taking Taltz, especially for patients with psoriasis. The reason for this is that alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of treatment and worsen skin conditions. If you do wish to consume alcohol while taking Taltz you should speak with your doctor first and ensure that you do so in moderation.
7. How do you inject Taltz (Ixekizumab)?
Patients often wonder about the best method of self-administration. 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 John Hopkins Rheumatology provides helpful step-by-step instructions and demonstration.
8. How long does Taltz (Ixekizumab) take to work?
A question that anyone taking Taltz is sure to wonder about is, “how long until it works?” The answer will vary depending on the condition being treated, but there are some general timeframes you can expect the drug to start working in. For patients with psoriasis, symptoms should start to improve in 1-2 weeks, with significant results in about 12 weeks. Patients treating arthritis should expect improvement in their symptoms within 6 months. Finally, for those treating ankylosing spondylitis with Taltz, significant improvement is typically seen within 4 months.
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