Cosentyx has been approved by Health Canada in March 2015 for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.
How Does It Work?
Cosentyx is the first approved fully human monoclonal antibody that binds and neutralizes a messenger protein called IL-17A, which is involved in the development of psoriasis. By blocking the effect of IL-17A, Cosentyx prevents the body’s autoimmune attack against the skin of those suffering from psoriasis.
How Is it Administered?
Cosentyx is given as an injection under the skin. The recommended dosage is 300mg (two injections of 150mg) subcutaneously with initial doses at weeks 0, 1, 2 and 3. Afterwards, monthly maintenance dosing begins at week 4.
What are its Side Effects?
Since it is a biologic treatment that suppresses your immune system, patients taking it have a higher chance of catching an infection. Prior to starting treatment with Cosentyx, your doctor will evaluate you for a tuberculosis infection. Those who have a current TB infection cannot start Cosentyx.
The most frequently reported adverse reaction were mild-moderate upper respiratory infections (e.g.: a runny nose or sore throat). Other potential side effects include, but are not limited to: low blood counts (often reversible), diarrhea, rash and allergic reactions.
Special Populations and Cosentyx
- Crohn’s Disease: Patients who have active Crohn’s disease should exercise caution when using Cosentyx as there is a risk of exacerbations while taking on the biologic.
- Latex Allergy: Patients who have a latex-sensitivity may react to the removable cap on the Cosentyx pre-filled syringe, which contains a derivative of natural rubber latex.
- Pregnant Women: there are no adequate clinical trials on the use of Cosentyx during pregnancy, however animal studies did not show any harmful effects in pregnancy. The current recommendation is use Cosentyx during pregnancy only if the benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
- Nursing women: It is not known whether Cosentyx is excreted in human milk, so caution should be exercised when taking it while nursing.
- Fertility: The effects on human fertility have not been evaluated. However, animal studies did not indicate any harmful effects on fertility.
- Kids < 18 years old: The safety and efficacy of Cosentyx in paediatric patients have not been studied yet, so for this patient population, Cosentyx is not recommended.
- Elderly patients >65 years old: Limited studies suggest that there is no difference in safety and efficacy between older and younger patients.
- Kidney/Liver Impairment: Cosentyx has not been studied in these patient populations.
What medications should I pay attention to when on Cosentyx?
Cosentyx suppresses your immune system’s response to infection, which prevents it from releasing your body’s “fighter cells” that help you build an immunity to components of vaccines. For this reason, patients on Cosentyx (and other biologic medications) cannot have any live vaccine given to them. Some examples are: Influenza nasal vaccine, MMR, Rotavirus, Smallpox, Varicella/Zoster, Yellow Fever, Thyphoid.
You can and should, however, receive inactivated or non-live vaccinations, such as the yearly influenza vaccine (injectable) and the meningococcal vaccine. Data suggest that Cosentyx does not suppress your immune system’s response to either of these vaccines.
For detailed information on side effects, safety and if this medication is right for you, please speak to your doctor.