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Ustekinumab

Generic Name: Ustekinumab (yoo stek in YOO mab)
Brand Name: Stelara

Medically reviewed on May 2, 2018.

Uses of Ustekinumab:

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Ustekinumab?

  • If you have an allergy to ustekinumab or any other part of ustekinumab.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have had the BCG vaccine in the past year.
  • If you have an infection.
  • If you have active TB (tuberculosis).

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with ustekinumab.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take ustekinumab with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Ustekinumab?

All products:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take ustekinumab. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • The chance of cancer is higher after using ustekinumab. Talk with the doctor.
  • Have your skin checked. Tell your doctor if you have any skin changes like a new wart, skin sore or reddish bump that bleeds or does not heal, or a change in the color or size of a mole.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly infections have happened in patients who take ustekinumab. If you have any infection, are taking antibiotics now or in the recent past, or have had many infections, talk with your doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines while you take ustekinumab and after you stop taking it. Vaccine use with ustekinumab may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well. Talk with your doctor.
  • You will need a TB (tuberculosis) test before starting ustekinumab.
  • This medicine may affect how much of some other drugs are in your body. If you are taking other drugs, talk with your doctor. You may need to have your blood work checked more closely while taking ustekinumab with your other drugs.
  • If your weight changes, talk with your doctor. The dose of ustekinumab may need to be changed.
  • If you are 60 or older, use ustekinumab with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using ustekinumab while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Prefilled syringes:

  • If you have a latex allergy, talk with your doctor.

How is this medicine (Ustekinumab) best taken?

Use ustekinumab as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

Injection (subcutaneous):

  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin in the upper arm, thigh, buttocks, or stomach area.
  • If you will be giving yourself the shot, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give the shot.
  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Move the site where you give the shot with each shot.
  • This product may contain small white particles. Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has large lumps, flakes, or other particles.
  • This medicine is colorless to a faint yellow. Do not use if the solution changes color.
  • Do not give into skin that is irritated, bruised, red, infected, or scarred.
  • Do not shake.
  • Each prefilled syringe or vial is for one use only. Throw away any part left over after the dose is given.
  • Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Infusion:

  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) like blood in the urine, burning or pain when passing urine, feeling the need to pass urine often or right away, fever, lower stomach pain, or pelvic pain.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Flushing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • A skin lump or growth.
  • Vaginal itching or discharge.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly brain problem called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has happened with ustekinumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs like feeling confused, lowered alertness, change in eyesight, loss of eyesight, seizures, or very bad headache.

What are some other side effects of Ustekinumab?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Throwing up.
  • Nose and throat irritation.
  • Signs of a common cold.
  • Irritation where the shot is given.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Ustekinumab?

Injection (subcutaneous):

  • Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Store in original container.
  • Protect from light.

Infusion:

  • If you need to store ustekinumab at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time ustekinumab is refilled. If you have any questions about ustekinumab, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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