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Is Cosentyx a biologic / immunosuppressant?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 19, 2022.

Official answer

by Drugs.com

Yes, Cosentyx is a biologic and immunosuppressant medicine used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other types of arthritis. Cosentyx may improve these medical conditions but can also lower your ability to fight infections because it is an immunosuppressant.

A biological medicine is a medicine made from a living substance like blood, proteins, viruses or other organisms. Biologics target proteins and other molecules in the immune system that cause inflammation, pain and joint destruction.

While an immunosuppressant drug can help relieve your pain and swelling, it can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk of infections. Because Cosentyx is an immunosuppressant, you should not take this medicine if you have any signs of infection unless you are instructed to do so by your healthcare provider.

If you have signs of any infection while taking Cosentyx (secukinumab), call your doctor right away.

Signs may include:

  • fever, sweating, chills
  • a sore that won’t heal
  • sore throat
  • red, warm or painful skin or sores
  • muscle aches
  • changes in phlegm (mucous) color, blood in phlegm
  • pain or burning when you urinate, urinating more often
  • a cough
  • shortness of breath
  • sores in your mouth
  • diarrhea or stomach pain
  • weight loss

Why is Cosentyx an immunosuppressant?

Immunosuppressants decrease the activity of the immune system, the disease and infection-fighting network in your body. Cytokines are small proteins that act as chemical signals between your white blood cells, used to fight infections.

Cosentyx works by blocking the action of interleukin-17A (IL-17A), which is a cytokine. Blocking the action of cytokines may help with your disease symptoms like inflammation and pain, but can also increase your risk of infection.

Cosentyx is an immunosuppressant prescription medicine approved by the FDA to treat:

  • moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in patients 6 years of age and older
  • psoriatic arthritis in adults and children 2 years and older
  • ankylosing spondylitis in adults
  • non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with inflammation in adults
  • enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) in patients 4 years of age and older.

Because Cosentyx can increase your risk for infections, your doctor will monitor you and test you for tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial lung infection, before treatment. You should not use Cosentyx if you have an active TB infection or any signs of infection, unless instructed by your doctor.

Also tell your doctor if you have had many infections in the past, have tuberculosis (TB), have ever had TB, or have been in close contact with some with TB.

Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking any drugs used to suppress your immune system or if you are being treated for an infection. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.

This is not all the information you need to know about Cosentyx for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your healthcare provider's instructions. Review the full Cosentyx information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

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