Medically reviewed on September 3, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
- Powder for Solution
Therapeutic Class: Immune Modulator
Pharmacologic Class: Monoclonal Antibody
Uses For canakinumab
Canakinumab injection is used to treat cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). This also includes familial cold auto-inflammatory syndrome (FCAS) and Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS). CAPS is a rare, inherited disease of the immune system. It occurs when the body produces too much of a chemical called interleukin-1 beta. This chemical causes inflammation, and patients with CAPS may have a fever, headache, skin rash, joint or muscle pain, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Canakinumab helps prevent inflammation by keeping the interleukin-1 beta from working properly. Canakinumab also treats adults and children with other autoinflammatory periodic fever syndromes, such as tumor necrosis factor receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS), hyperimmunoglobulin D syndrome (HIDS)/mevalonate kinase deficiency (MKD), and familial Mediterranean fever (FMF).
Canakinumab is also used to treat active systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) in children 2 years of age and older.
Canakinumab is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of a doctor.
Before Using canakinumab
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For canakinumab, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to canakinumab or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of canakinumab injection in children with TRAPS, HIDS/MKD, and FMF. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children with CAPS, FCAS, or MWS younger than 4 years of age and in children with SJIA younger than 2 years of age.
Appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of canakinumab injection have not been performed in the geriatric population. However, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of canakinumab. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Hepatitis B, history of or
- Hepatitis C, history of or
- Immune system problem (eg, HIV or AIDS) or
- Infection, active or
- Tuberculosis, active or history of—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper Use of canakinumab
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child canakinumab in a hospital or clinic setting. Canakinumab is given as a shot under your skin.
Canakinumab is given every 8 weeks for CAPS and every 4 weeks for TRAPS, HIDS/MKD, FMF, and SJIA.
Canakinumab comes with a Medication Guide. It is very important that you read and understand this information. Be sure to ask your doctor about anything you do not understand.
Precautions While Using canakinumab
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress at regular visits to make sure that canakinumab is working properly.
You will need to have a skin test for tuberculosis before you or your child start using canakinumab. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis test.
Your body's ability to fight an infection may be reduced while you are being treated with canakinumab. It is very important that you call your doctor right away if you or your child have a fever, chills, cough, hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
Using canakinumab may increase your risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about this risk.
Canakinumab may cause allergic reactions. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, lightheadedness or dizziness, swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, or chest pain after you or your child receive the medicine.
Do not get any immunizations (vaccines), especially the live vaccines (eg, nasal flu virus vaccine) without your doctor's approval while you are being treated with canakinumab.
Canakinumab may cause a life-threatening condition called macrophage activation syndrome (MAS). This usually occurs in patients with rheumatic conditions, including SJIA, and must be treated immediately. Tell your doctor right away if you have a fever that lasts longer than 3 days, a cough that does not go away, redness in one part of your body, or warm feeling or swelling of your skin.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Canakinumab Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Body aches or pain
- dryness or soreness of the throat
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
- muscle aches and pains
- shortness of breath
- stuffy or runny nose
- tender, swollen glands in the neck
- tightness in the chest
- trouble sleeping
- trouble swallowing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- voice changes
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- increased weight
- muscle or bone pain
- sensation of spinning
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about canakinumab
- Canakinumab Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 1 Review
- Drug class: interleukin inhibitors
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