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What is Skyrizi used for and how does it work?

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 11, 2022.

Official answer


What is Skyrizi used for?

Skyrizi (risankizumab) is a FDA approved medicine used to treat adult patients who have:

  • moderate or severe plaque psoriasis (raised, silvery flaking of the skin) which is an ongoing autoimmune condition, which causes inflammation and increased immune response
  • active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) which is a systemic inflammatory disease which affects the skin and joints
  • moderately to severely active Crohn's disease which is a chronic, systemic disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract with symptoms of persistent diarrhea and abdominal pain.

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.
  • Psoriasis trials: 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.
  • Psoriatic arthritis trials: In the studies KEEPsAKE-1 and KEEPsAKE-2 looked at how well Skyrizi worked for PsA after 24 weeks. It meets the endpoint of ACR20 which is a combined measure showing there was a 20% improvement in the number of tender and swollen joints, this also includes a 20% improvement in pain, functional ability measure, and doctor and patient assessment of PsA.
  • Crohn’s disease trials: In the clinical trials ADVANCE, MOTIVATE and FORTIFY1 in as early as week 4 in the induction studies, clinical response and clinical remission were achieved by significantly more subjects treated with Skyrizi versus placebo, as were co-primary endpoints of endoscopic response and clinical remission at week 12 and week 52.

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 is FDA approved medicine to treat active psoriatic arthritis in adults.
  • Skyrizi is FDA approved medicine to treat moderate to severely active Crohn's disease.
  • Skyrizi works by blocking IL23 which reduces inflammation and improves plaque psoriasis.

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