Skyrizi is a biologic medication that has garnered attention for its efficacy in treating certain chronic conditions. Approved by regulatory authorities, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), It offers a solution to patients dealing with plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease.

However, like any medication, Skyrizi has potential side effects that warrant thorough exploration and discussion. In this article, we’ll explore the associated side effects of Skyrizi, highlighting on essential considerations for patients and healthcare providers alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Skyrizi may cause common side effects like upper respiratory infections, headaches, injection site reactions, and tinea infections. These can vary in severity and may require management strategies such as rest, hydration, topical treatments, or medication.
  • While less common, Skyrizi can also lead to serious side effects like hypersensitivity reactions, serious infections, liver damage, and the development of drug resistance. These require close monitoring and prompt medical attention if symptoms arise.
  • Healthcare providers should thoroughly evaluate patients’ medical history, discuss potential risks and benefits, and provide personalized monitoring and management plans to ensure safe and effective treatment with Skyrizi.
  • Patients should maintain open communication with their healthcare providers, reporting any new or worsening symptoms promptly. Regular monitoring of liver function and antibody development can help mitigate risks associated with Skyrizi therapy.

What are the Most Common Side Effects of Skyrizi?

Since clinical trials are done under different conditions, the side effects seen during the trials may not match what happens in real-world use. Based on Skyrizi’s clinical trials for efficacy and safety, these are the observed side effects:

In People Treated for Plaque Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

psoriasis skin with red wounds, male arms with cracked, flaky skin

In clinical development trials for plaque psoriasis, 2234 subjects were treated with SkyriziI. Among them, 1208 subjects had been exposed to Skyrizi for at least one year. The safety profile for subjects with psoriatic arthritis treated with Skyrizi is generally consistent with those with plaque psoriasis. According to these trials, the most common side effects of Skyrizi are:

1. Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are the most common side effects associated with Skyrizi, appearing in 13% of the subjects. These infections can involve various parts of the respiratory tract and are categorized based on the specific area they affect. Infections experienced by subjects include:

  • Respiratory Tract Infection (viral, bacterial, or unspecified): Common symptoms include cough, congestion, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, and general malaise.
  • Sinusitis (including acute sinusitis): This refers to the inflammation or infection of the sinuses, which can be acute (lasting less than four weeks). Symptoms of sinusitis include facial pain or pressure, nasal congestion, thick nasal discharge, reduced sense of smell, and headache.
  • Rhinitis: Refers to the inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane. Symptoms include runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itching, and postnasal drip.
  • Nasopharyngitis: This refers to the inflammation of the nasal passages and pharynx, commonly known as the common cold. Symptoms include sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, cough, sneezing, mild headache, and body aches.
  • Pharyngitis (including viral): This refers to the inflammation of the pharynx, often causing a sore throat, which can be viral or bacterial. Symptoms of pharyngitis include sore throat, difficulty swallowing, red and swollen throat, sometimes accompanied by fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
  • Tonsillitis: Refers to the inflammation of the tonsils, which can be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Symptoms may appear as swollen and red tonsils, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

General tips for managing upper respiratory infections:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and help thin mucus.
  • Good Hygiene: Practices such as regular handwashing and avoiding close contact with infected individuals may help prevent respiratory infections.
  • Rest: Ensure adequate rest to help the body recover.
  • Humidify Air: Use a humidifier to keep the air moist and ease congestion and throat irritation.
  • Avoid Irritants: Stay away from smoke, strong odors, and other environmental irritants.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Take medications as prescribed and follow the healthcare provider’s advice.

If symptoms persist for over a week or worsen despite treatment, accompanied by a high fever or severe symptoms, contact your doctor.

2. Headache

Headaches experienced as a side effect of Skyrizi can vary in intensity from mild to severe. They can be temporary, lasting only a short period, or persist for longer durations. Headaches may occur in different parts of the head, such as the temples, forehead, or back of the head. Types of headaches experienced by patients include:

  • Tension Headache: This is the most common type of headache and is often described as a dull, aching pain that feels like a tight band around the head or pressure on the forehead or back of the head. It may be accompanied by muscle tension in the neck and shoulders, sensitivity to light or sound, and mild nausea.

Management strategies for tension headaches include stress reduction techniques such as relaxation exercises, over-the-counter pain relievers, and applying heat or cold packs to the affected area.

  • Sinus Headache: This occurs when the sinuses become inflamed or congested, usually due to sinusitis or allergies. They are characterized by a deep, constant pain in the forehead, cheeks, or bridge of the nose. It is often accompanied by other symptoms of sinus congestion, such as nasal congestion, facial pressure or tenderness, and thick nasal discharge.

Treatment for sinus headaches may involve addressing the underlying sinus congestion with decongestants, saline nasal sprays, steam inhalation, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

  • Cervicogenic Headache: This type of headache originates from pain in the cervical spine (neck). They typically present as a steady, dull ache that radiates from the back of the head to the forehead or temple. It is often accompanied by neck pain or stiffness, limited range of motion in the neck, and tenderness in the muscles or joints of the neck.

Management of cervicogenic headaches may involve stretching and strengthening exercises for the neck muscles.

3. Fatigue

Reports from clinical trials include asthenia. Fatigue and asthenia are terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. Fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion that can be either physical, mental or a combination of both.

Physical fatigue may present as a feeling of muscle weakness and a decreased capacity to perform physical tasks, while mental fatigue may present as difficulty concentrating, decreased alertness, and reduced cognitive performance. This can be improved with rest and relaxation.

Asthenia, on the other hand, refers to a more generalized sense of weakness or lack of energy. It is often associated with underlying medical conditions and can be more persistent than fatigue.

Its characteristics include a pervasive sense of physical weakness without specific muscle fatigue. Asthenia affects overall strength and energy levels. Unlike fatigue, asthenia does not typically improve significantly with rest and may persist over a long period.

General management tips for asthenia include:

  • Thorough medical evaluation to identify and treat underlying conditions.
  • Symptomatic treatment to manage energy levels and improve quality of life.
  • Supportive therapies, such as physical therapy, nutritional support, and psychological counseling, if needed.

Understanding the difference between fatigue and asthenia is important for proper diagnosis and treatment, as they can indicate different underlying health issues and require different management approaches.

4. Injection Site Reactions

close-up of a patient getting an injection of a medication at a doctor's office

Injection site reactions are another common side effect of Skyrizi observed in clinical trials. These reactions can vary in severity and type, affecting the area where the medication is administered. Here are the specific types of injection site reactions documented:

  • Bruising: Discoloration of the skin due to blood leakage from small vessels into surrounding tissue.
  • Erythema: Redness of the skin at the injection site.
  • Extravasation: Leakage of the medication into the surrounding tissue, potentially causing irritation or damage.
  • Hematoma: Collection of blood outside of blood vessels, leading to a raised, painful area.
  • Hemorrhage: Excessive bleeding at the injection site.
  • Infection: Bacterial infection at the injection site, leading to redness, swelling, pain, and possibly fever.
  • Inflammation: Swelling, redness, and warmth due to the body’s response to the injection.
  • Irritation: General discomfort or inflammation at the injection site.
  • Pain: Discomfort or soreness where the injection was given.
  • Pruritus: Itching at the injection site.
  • Reaction: A generalized term for any local adverse response to the injection.
  • Swelling: Puffiness or enlargement at the injection site.
  • Warmth: Increased temperature of the skin at the injection site, often accompanying inflammation.

General tips for managing injection site reactions include:

  • Proper injection technique
  • Hygiene
  • Cold compress
  • Topical treatments
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to avoid rubbing and irritation of the injection site.
  • Keep an eye on the injection site for signs of infection, such as increasing redness, swelling, warmth, or pus.
  • Rest the affected limb or area to minimize discomfort and allow healing.
  • Maintain good hydration and a balanced diet to support overall skin health and healing.

Always ask your doctor before applying topical treatments or taking any pain relief to ensure safe use. If side effects are persistent or severe, consulting a healthcare provider is essential for appropriate intervention.

5. Tinea Infections

Tinea infections, also known as dermatophytosis, are fungal skin infections caused by dermatophytes, a type of fungus. These infections can affect various parts of the body, and they are commonly named according to the area they infect. Here are the types of tinea infections that appeared during Skyrizi trials:

  • Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot): A fungal infection of the feet, particularly between the toes. Symptoms include itching, redness, scaling, and sometimes blisters.
  • Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch): A fungal infection of the groin area. Symptoms of jock itch include a red, itchy rash that may spread to the inner thighs and buttocks.
  • Body Tinea (Tinea Corporis): Refers to a fungal infection of the skin on the body, also known as ringworm. It appears as a ring-shaped, red, itchy rash with a clear center.
  • Tinea Versicolor: A fungal infection that causes small, discolored patches of skin. Characteristics of tinea versicolor include patches that may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin, often on the trunk and shoulders.
  • Tinea Manuum: A fungal infection of the hands. Symptoms include Iichy, scaly rash on the palms or between the fingers.
  • Onychomycosis (Tinea Unguium): A fungal infection of the nails. Symptoms may show as thickened, discolored, and brittle nails.

Prevention and general management tips for tinea infections:

  • Topical and/or oral antifungal medications
  • Hygiene practices
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, clothing, and shoes.
  • Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing and footwear to reduce moisture buildup, which can promote fungal growth.
  • Change socks and underwear daily.
  • Keep living areas clean and dry, especially bathrooms and other damp areas.
  • Use antifungal sprays or powders in shoes and on surfaces to prevent reinfection.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as locker rooms or pool areas.
  • Use separate towels for affected areas to prevent spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

In People Treated for Crohn’s Disease

Skyrizi was studied for up to 12 weeks in subjects with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease across two induction studies. Long-term safety was evaluated over 52 weeks in subjects who responded to induction therapy through a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled maintenance study.

The adverse reactions reported in these studies were similar to those seen in treatments for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including upper respiratory infections, headaches, and injection site reactions, but with additional side effects. These additional side effects include:

1. Arthralgia

Arthralgia, or joint pain, is the most common side effect associated with Skyrizi in people treated for Crohn’s disease. Clinical trials have demonstrated that arthralgia was experienced by approximately 9.2% of patients receiving the medication over long-term studies.

For those experiencing arthralgia as a side effect of Skyrizi, here are some general management tips:

  • regular exercise
  • pain relief medications
  • hot and cold therapy
  • adequate rest
  • staying well-hydrated

2. Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is another side effect reported by patients using Skyrizi. In clinical trials, various forms of abdominal pain, including upper and lower abdominal pain, have been observed. While the prevalence of abdominal pain is lower compared to arthralgia, it remains a significant concern for some patients undergoing treatment.

The following tips may help manage this side effect effectively:

  • Eat smaller portions more frequently to help ease digestion and reduce abdominal discomfort.
  • Identify and avoid foods that trigger abdominal pain. Common culprits include spicy foods, fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks.
  • Consume more fiber to help regulate bowel movements and reduce abdominal pain caused by constipation. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration helps maintain healthy digestion and prevent abdominal pain related to dehydration and constipation.
  • Regular exercise can promote healthy digestion and reduce abdominal pain. Activities such as walking, yoga, and stretching can be particularly beneficial.
  • Applying a heating pad or warm compress to the abdomen can relax muscles and alleviate pain. This is especially helpful for cramping pain.
  • Taking probiotics can help maintain a healthy gut flora, which might reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.

For upper abdominal pain related to acid reflux or indigestion, over-the-counter antacids or H2 blockers (like ranitidine) can provide relief. Each patient’s response to treatment and side effects can vary, so a personalized approach is often the most effective.

3. Anemia

Anemia is a condition characterized by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin, leading to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. To avoid this, incorporate foods high in iron, such as red meat, poultry, fish, lentils, beans, tofu, and fortified cereals. If dietary adjustments are insufficient, iron supplements may be prescribed. Consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate type and dosage.

Additionally, enhance your body’s iron absorption by consuming vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers. Adding folate (leafy greens, nuts, and seeds) and vitamin B12 (meat, dairy, eggs) are also essential for red blood cell production.

4. Pyrexia

woman laying on couch with wet cloth on forehead

Pyrexia, or fever, is an elevation of body temperature, often indicating an immune response or inflammation. To manage Pyrexia:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
  • Apply cool, damp cloths to the forehead, wrists, and back of the neck to help lower body temperature.
  • Wear lightweight clothing and use light bedding to prevent overheating.
  • Make sure you get ample rest to help the body recover from the fever.

Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help reduce fever. However, always consult a healthcare provider before starting any new medication. If the fever is high, persistent, or accompanied by other severe symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.

5. Back pain

Back pain can be a side effect of Skyrizi, manifesting as discomfort in the upper, middle, or lower back. To effectively manage back pain triggered by Skyrizi, it’s essential to adopt a comprehensive approach. This includes incorporating low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga into your routine to strengthen back muscles and enhance flexibility.

Regular stretching routines can also alleviate stiffness and enhance your range of motion. Additionally, a heating pad can promote muscle relaxation and diminish discomfort, while ice packs can alleviate inflammation and numb painful sensations.

6. Arthropathy

Arthropathy refers to any disease of the joints, including conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory or degenerative joint diseases. Symptoms can vary widely depending on the specific type of arthropathy but generally include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and possibly deformities or reduced range of motion.

Here are some tips for managing this Skyrizi side effect:

  • Engage in low-impact exercises.
  • Strengthening the muscles around the joints.
  • Applying heat to the joints can reduce stiffness and improve circulation.
  • Using ice packs can reduce inflammation and numb pain.

NSAIDs or acetaminophen can also help manage joint pain, but consult with your healthcare provider first.

7. Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections in any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. UTIs can present with various symptoms, which may vary depending on the severity of the infection and the affected part of the urinary tract. Common symptoms include:

  • pain or burning sensation during urination
  • increased frequency of urination
  • urgency to urinate
  • cloudy or bloody urine
  • foul-smelling urine
  • pelvic pain
  • fever and chills

To prevent UTIs, stay well-hydrated to flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Practice good hygiene, including wiping front to back and urinating after sexual activity, to reduce the risk of infection. UTIs typically require antibiotics for treatment.

What are the Serious Side Effects of Skyrizi?

Although serious side effects from Skyrizi aren’t common, they are possible. Serious side effects may include:

1. Hypersensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity reactions are an important consideration when using Skyrizi, particularly based on the data from phase 3 placebo-controlled trials and phase 2 clinical trials. These reactions can manifest in various forms and severity levels, ranging from mild rash and allergic rhinitis to more serious conditions like facial swelling and anaphylaxis.

Symptoms to watch for in patients taking Skyrizi include:

  • Rash: Any unusual or widespread rash that develops after starting Skyrizi should be monitored closely. This could present as redness, itching, or raised bumps on the skin.
  • Allergic Rhinitis: Symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and itching in the nasal passages may indicate allergic rhinitis. These symptoms may appear similar to those experienced during seasonal allergies but should not be overlooked, especially during Skyrizi use.
  • Facial Swelling: Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat can occur as a result of a hypersensitivity reaction. This symptom can be particularly alarming and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Anaphylaxis: Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction that requires urgent medical intervention. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat or tongue, rapid heartbeat, drop in blood pressure, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

If a hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, Skyrizi should be discontinued immediately, and further administration should be avoided.

2. Serious Infection

Skyrizi exerts its therapeutic effects by targeting a specific immune system component involved in the inflammatory processes associated with conditions like psoriasis. However, because Skyrizi modulates the immune system’s activity, it also has the potential to suppress immune responses that are necessary for defending the body against infections.

This immunosuppressive effect increases the risk of infections in individuals receiving Skyrizi therapy. Lowered immune activity can compromise the body’s ability to combat infections effectively, increasing susceptibility to various pathogens.

The infections reported in individuals receiving Skyrizi therapy include a range of bacterial, viral, and potentially life-threatening conditions. Here’s a brief overview of each:

  • Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that typically affects the deeper layers of the skin and the underlying tissues. It is often characterized by redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness of the affected area. Cellulitis can occur anywhere on the body and may require antibiotic treatment to resolve.
  • Osteomyelitis: Osteomyelitis is a bacterial infection of the bone, usually caused by the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream or from nearby tissue. It can lead to inflammation, pain, and destruction of bone tissue. Osteomyelitis may require prolonged antibiotic therapy and, in severe cases, surgical intervention to remove infected tissue.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to infection triggers a systemic inflammatory response. This can lead to organ dysfunction and failure. Sepsis requires immediate medical attention and treatment with antibiotics and supportive care in a hospital setting.
  • Herpes Zoster (Shingles): Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles, is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. It typically presents as a painful rash with blisters along one side of the body or face. Treatment may include antiviral medications to shorten the duration and severity of symptoms.

Additionally, patients should be screened for tuberculosis (TB) infection prior to initiating Skyrizi treatment, and appropriate measures should be taken for those with latent or active TB. Monitoring for signs and symptoms of active TB during and after Skyrizi treatment is crucial to detect reactivation promptly.

Here are some symptoms of an infection to watch for:

  • General Signs of Infection: Fever, chills, fatigue, and malaise may indicate the presence of an infection. These nonspecific symptoms can occur with various types of infections and should prompt further evaluation, especially in individuals receiving Skyrizi.
  • Localized Symptoms: Pain, redness, warmth, swelling, or drainage at the site of a wound or injury may indicate a localized infection, such as cellulitis or osteomyelitis. These symptoms should be promptly assessed to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Respiratory Symptoms: Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and sputum production could signify respiratory infections, including pneumonia or tuberculosis (TB) reactivation. These symptoms should be evaluated promptly, particularly in patients with a history of TB or known risk factors.
  • Skin Lesions: The appearance of new or worsening skin lesions, including blisters or rashes, may suggest the development of infections such as herpes zoster (shingles) or other viral skin infections.

If you experience symptoms suggestive of a serious infection while taking Skyrizi, seek immediate medical attention. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications and improve outcomes.

3. Liver Damage

Liver damage is identified as a possible serious side effect of Skyrizi use, as indicated by increased levels of certain liver enzymes observed in clinical trials. The most common events that were reported more frequently were increased in the following enzymes:

  • ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase): ALT is primarily found in liver cells, with smaller amounts in the kidneys and other tissues. When liver cells are damaged or inflamed, ALT is released into the bloodstream, leading to elevated levels in blood tests.
  • AST (Aspartate Aminotransferase): AST is also present in liver cells, as well as in the heart, muscles, and other organs. Like ALT, elevated AST levels in the blood can indicate liver damage, particularly when the AST to ALT ratio is elevated.
  • GGT (Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase): GGT is primarily located in the liver and bile ducts, as well as in the kidneys and pancreas. Elevated GGT levels are often associated with liver or bile duct injury, obstruction, or inflammation. GGT levels may increase in conditions such as alcoholic liver disease, bile duct obstruction, and liver tumors. GGT is particularly sensitive to alcohol consumption.

Although no serious hepatic events were reported in clinical trials of Skyrizi, it’s important for healthcare providers to monitor liver function before initiating treatment and regularly throughout therapy. Monitoring may involve blood tests to assess liver enzyme levels and other markers of liver function.

Signs and symptoms of liver damage include:

  • skin rash without an apparent cause
  • feeling of nausea or episodes of vomiting
  • yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes, known as jaundice
  • abdominal discomfort or pain in the stomach area
  • persistent tiredness or feelings of fatigue
  • decreased desire to eat or appetite loss
  • urine appears darker than usual

If you have a history of liver problems, you may not be a suitable candidate for Skyrizi therapy due to the increased risk of exacerbating pre-existing liver conditions.

4. Drug Resistance

Skyrizi, a biologic medication, can trigger your body to see it as a threat. This can lead to your body making antibodies against Skyrizi over time.

In clinical studies involving Skyrizi treatment for plaque psoriasis, approximately 24% of subjects developed antibodies against risankizumab-rzaa. Among those who developed antibodies, about 57% exhibited neutralizing antibodies. This would inhibit or reduce the effectiveness of the medication by neutralizing its therapeutic effects.

For psoriatic arthritis patients, about 12.1% developed antibodies. For those with Crohn’s disease, around 3.4% developed antibodies. None of these individuals had neutralizing antibodies.

While this occurrence is relatively uncommon, the formation of antibodies against Skyrizi can reduce its effectiveness. In such instances, switching to an alternative medication may be necessary. Healthcare providers will collaborate with you to identify the most suitable treatment option based on your needs and circumstances.

Final Thoughts

While Skyrizi has shown efficacy in treating conditions like plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease, it’s important to be aware of its potential side effects. Common side effects such as upper respiratory infections, headaches, injection site reactions, and tinea infections can occur and may require management strategies ranging from rest and hydration to topical treatments or medication.

Moreover, serious side effects like hypersensitivity reactions, serious infections, liver damage, and the development of drug resistance are possible, albeit less common. These warrant close monitoring and prompt medical attention if symptoms arise.

To ensure safe and effective treatment with Skyrizi, healthcare providers must thoroughly evaluate patients’ medical histories, discuss potential risks and benefits, and provide personalized monitoring and management plans.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Skyrizi side effects last?

The duration and severity of side effects from Skyrizi can vary from person to person. In clinical trials, most side effects were mild to moderate and typically resolved on their own within a few days to a couple of weeks. If you experience persistent or severe side effects, contact your doctor promptly. They can help determine the best course of action, which may involve adjusting your treatment plan or providing additional support.

Can Skyrizi cause hair loss?

Hair loss was not listed as a common side effect of Skyrizi based on available clinical data and prescribing information. In some cases, hair loss may be attributed to other factors such as stress, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, or underlying medical conditions.

Can Skyrizi cause weight gain?

Similar to hair loss, weight gain was also not observed as a side effect during clinical trials of Skyrizi. If you’re experiencing weight gain, it may be attributed to factors such as changes in appetite, lifestyle factors, hormonal changes, or underlying medical conditions

Can Skyrizi cause joint pain?

Yes. In clinical trials for Skyrizi used in treating Crohn’s disease, arthralgia (joint pain) and arthropathy (joint disease) were observed as adverse reactions in some patients. If you’re experiencing joint pain while being treated with Skyrizi for Crohn’s disease, discuss this with your healthcare provider so that they can evaluate your symptoms.

Can Skyrizi cause depression?

In clinical trials of Skyrizi, participants did not report experiencing depression. However, studies have found that there may be a connection between plaque psoriasis and depression. Psoriasis involves the release of substances called cytokines by immune cells. These cytokines contribute to the overgrowth of skin cells, resulting in the formation of scaly plaques. Additionally, they can alter the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that influence mood. One such cytokine, TNF-alpha, may impact brain chemicals like serotonin, potentially leading to depression.

Can Skyrizi cause diarrhea?

While diarrhea isn’t a direct side effect of Skyrizi, it can be a symptom of an infection, which is a potential side effect of the medication. If you’re experiencing diarrhea along with other symptoms suggestive of an infection, such as fever, sweats, chills, cough, shortness of breath, blood in your mucus, muscle aches, warm or painful skin, unexplained weight loss, stomach pain, or burning sensation during urination, or increased frequency of urination, it’s crucial to inform your doctor promptly.

Is cancer one of Skyrizi’s side effects?

The product label for Skyrizi does not include warnings or precautions regarding malignancy (cancer), and cancer is not identified as a serious or common side effect. Although a minimal number of cancer cases were documented in clinical trials for plaque psoriasis, it’s uncertain if they were associated with the treatment.

Does Skyrizi affect the liver?

Yes. A patient diagnosed with Crohn’s disease who received Skyrizi intravenously experienced alterations in liver blood tests accompanied by a rash severe enough to necessitate hospitalization. Healthcare providers will conduct liver function tests before, during, and at least 12 weeks following the initiation of Skyrizi treatment. If liver issues arise, treatment may be discontinued. It’s crucial to promptly notify your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms, including unexplained rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes), or dark urine.

Are there long-term side effects of Skyrizi?

The likelihood of Skyrizi causing long-term side effects is low, as such effects were not observed in studies of the medication. However, Skyrizi has been associated with an elevated risk of infections based on study findings. Certain severe infections, such as tuberculosis (TB), may result in long-lasting effects or complications.

Is Skyrizi a steroid?

No, Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) is not a steroid. It is a biologic medication that belongs to a class of drugs called interleukin inhibitors.

What does Skyrizi treat?

Skyrizi is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.
  • Active psoriatic arthritis in adults.
  • Moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease in adults.

How does Skyrizi work?

Skyrizi works by inhibiting interleukin-23 (IL-23), a cytokine that is responsible for stimulating certain immune cells, particularly T cells, to produce other inflammatory cytokines such as IL-17 and IL-22. These cytokines, in turn, promote inflammation and contribute to the development and progression of autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

By blocking the action of IL-23, Skyrizi interrupts this inflammatory cascade, reducing the production of IL-17 and IL-22, and ultimately dampening the inflammatory response. This mechanism of action helps to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and Crohn’s disease and may also slow down the progression of these conditions.

How long does Skyrizi stay in your system?

The elimination of Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) from the body typically requires a duration of 4 to 6 months for most individuals.

How is Skyrizi administered?

Skyrizi can be administered either through subcutaneous injection or intravenous infusion. Subcutaneous injections involve injecting the medication under the skin, while intravenous infusion delivers it directly into the bloodstream through a vein.

How often do you take Skyrizi?

The recommended Skyrizi dosage for psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis starts with a 150 mg loading dose injected under the skin, followed by a second 150 mg dose 4 weeks later. Maintenance involves a 150 mg injection every 12 weeks. For Crohn’s disease, the initial regimen includes three 600 mg intravenous infusions spaced 4 weeks apart. Afterward, maintenance for Crohn’s disease consists of either 180 mg or 360 mg injected subcutaneously every 8 weeks.

Sources

FDA. (2022). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION OF SKYRIZI. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2022/761262s000lbl.pdf

Skyrizi Official Website. (NA). Skyrizi. Retrieved from https://www.skyrizihcp.com/

AbbVie. (2023). Skyrizi Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.skyrizi.com/psoriasis-psoriatic-arthritis/about-skyrizi/side-effects-and-safety

Sahi, F. M., Masood, A., Danawar, N. A., Mekaiel, A., & Malik, B. H. (2020). Association Between Psoriasis and Depression: A Traditional Review. Cureus, 12(8), e9708. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.9708