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Generic Name: canakinumab (KAN a KIN ue mab)
Brand Names: Ilaris

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 3, 2019.

What is Ilaris?

Ilaris (canakinumab) is a monoclonal antibody that blocks certain proteins in the body that can affect inflammation and other immune responses. Ilaris is used to treat certain types of periodic fever syndromes, sometimes called auto-inflammatory syndromes.

Periodic fever syndromes are rare and often inherited conditions caused by mutations in certain genes; usually genes that are involved in producing a certain protein or enzyme in the body. People with a periodic fever syndrome have episodes of fever and inflammation without other causes such as infection or virus.

Ilaris is used to treat the following periodic fever syndromes in adults and children who are at least 4 years old:

  • Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndromes (CAPS), including Familial Cold Autoinflammatory Syndrome and Muckle-Wells Syndrome

  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Associated Periodic Syndrome (TRAPS)

  • Hyperimmunoglobulin D Syndrome (HIDS), also called Mevalonate Kinase Deficiency (MKD)

  • Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF)

Ilaris is also used to treat Sudden Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA) in children who are at least 2 years old.

Important information

Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with Ilaris. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: ongoing cough, fever lasting longer than 3 days, redness in one part of your body, or warmth or swelling under your skin.

Before receiving this medicine

You should not use Ilaris if you are allergic to canakinumab.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where tuberculosis is common.

Make sure you are current on all vaccines before you begin treatment with Ilaris.

To make sure Ilaris is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • an active infection;

  • a history of low white blood cell counts;

  • a weak immune system;

  • a history of HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C;

  • a history of recurrent infections; or

  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccine.

It is not known whether Ilaris will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether canakinumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Treatment with Ilaris may increase your risk of developing cancer. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

How should I use Ilaris?

Before you start treatment with Ilaris, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.

Ilaris is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Ilaris is usually given once every 4 to 8 weeks depending on the condition being treated. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Tell your doctor if you have any changes in weight. Canakinumab doses are based on weight (especially in children and teenagers), and any changes may affect the dose.

Ilaris can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Ilaris injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while using Ilaris?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Ilaris. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Ilaris side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Ilaris: hives; nausea, trouble swallowing; dizziness, fast or pounding heartbeats, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Canakinumab can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with Ilaris. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever lasting longer than 3 days, chills, sweating;

  • sores, warmth, or pain anywhere on your body;

  • stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss;

  • ongoing cough, shortness of breath;

  • coughing up blood;

  • redness in one part of your body;

  • warmth, redness, or swelling under your skin; or

  • flu symptoms, feeling very tired.

Call your doctor at once if you have a side effect such as:

  • swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing;

  • skin sores; or

  • pain, swelling, redness, warmth, blistering, or bleeding where an injection was given.

Common Ilaris side effects may include:

  • flu symptoms;

  • cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough, sore throat;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;

  • headache, body aches;

  • dizziness, spinning sensation; or

  • itching, redness, swelling, or warmth where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Ilaris?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • anakinra;

  • certolizumab;

  • etanercept;

  • golimumab;

  • rilonacept; or

  • other drugs that weaken immune system such as cancer medicine, steroids, and medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with canakinumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Ilaris only for the indication prescribed.

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