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What is Skyrizi used for and how does it work?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on May 13, 2020.

Official Answer


What is Skyrizi used for?

  • Skyrizi (risankizumab) is used to treat patients who have moderate or severe plaque psoriasis (raised, silvery flaking of the skin).
  • Plaque psoriasis (PP) is an ongoing autoimmune condition, which causes inflammation and increased immune response.

How does Skyrizi work?

  • Skyrizi is an immunosuppressant that reduces PP by blocking a small protein called interleukin 23 cytokine (IL23), which is a messenger for inflammation and immune response.
  • Once IL23 is blocked the inflammation is decreased and the plaque psoriasis improves.
  • Skyrizi is an injection given under the skin (subcutaneous injection) on week 0 and week 4, then after these first two doses it is given every 12 weeks.
  • In the clinical trial UltIMMa-12 they looked at how many patients had a 90% reduction in their psoriasis score after 16 weeks of treatment. Skyrizi had the best improvement with a reduction in psoriasis by 75%, Ustekinumab had a reduction of 42% and patients on a placebo injection had only 2% reduction.

What is Skyrizi FDA approved for?

  • Skyrizi is approved for adult patients who suffer from moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and whose psoriasis requires treatment with injections, oral medicines or ultraviolet light.

Is Skyrizi used in psoriatic arthritis?

  • Skyrizi is NOT a FDA approved medicine for psoriatic arthritis (PA).
  • Some people may use Skyrizi for psoriatic arthritis but it is an off-label use.
  • This means that psoriatic arthritis is not an FDA approved condition for Skyrizi but the doctor and patient believe it may be of benefit.
  • Currently studies are being conducted on Skyrizi and psoriatic arthritis to find out how well Skyrizi works when compared to other products available that treat PA.

Bottom line

  • Skyrizi is FDA approved medicine to treat plaque psoriasis in adults who have moderate to severe psoriasis that is at the stage that requires systemic treatment or ultraviolet light treatment.
  • Skyrizi works by blocking IL23 which reduces inflammation and improves plaque psoriasis.
  • Skyrizi is NOT a medicine approved by the FDA for treating psoriatic arthritis.

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