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How is Stelara injected or administered?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 16, 2022.

Official answer

  • Stelara is an injection that is administered under the skin (subcutaneously).
  • How frequently it is administered depends on the condition being treated.
  • For psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis it is administered at weeks 0, 4 and every 12 weeks thereafter.
  • For Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, it is administered at week 0 and then every 8 weeks thereafter.
  • After appropriate training, people can be taught how to self-administer Stelara or caregivers shown how to give it to another person.

Stelara (ustekinumab) is a targeted treatment that reduces inflammation and may be used in the treatment of:

  • Plaque psoriasis in adults and children who are at least 6 years old
  • Psoriatic arthritis in adults, sometimes in combination with methotrexate
  • Active psoriatic arthritis in children who are at least 6 years old
  • Moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease in adults after other medicines have failed
  • Moderate-to-severe ulcerative colitis in adults.

Stelara is administered by injection, under the skin (subcutaneous).

The dosage and frequency of administration depend on the condition being treated. For example:

  • For psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in adults: One injection (either 45mg or 90mg) is administered at weeks 0 and 4, and then every 12 weeks thereafter. The pediatric dose varies depending on body weight
  • For Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in adults: One injection (either 260mg, 390mg, or 520mg depending on bodyweight) at week 0, followed by a 90mg dose every 8 weeks thereafter.

Stelara is recommended to be given under the guidance and supervision of a health care provider. However, with appropriate training, caregivers can be taught how to administer it or certain people can be taught how to self-administer it.

How do you self-administer Stelara?

Do not self-administer Stelara if you have not been already shown how to do so by a doctor or other health care provider.

  1. Take Stelara out of the fridge and check the expiry date. Do not shake the carton or syringe at any time.
  2. Visually inspect Stelara for discoloration or cloudiness. It should look colorless to light yellow and it may contain a few small translucent or white particles. Do not use if discolored or cloudy.
  3. Use an antiseptic wipe to clean your chosen injection site. Stelara may be injected into the stomach area (except for a 2-inch radius around the belly button), front of the thighs, or buttocks. If a caregiver is administering Stelara, it can also be injected into the upper arm. Avoid skin that is bruised, tender, red, or hard.
  4. Hold the body of the syringe and remove the needle cover without touching the plunger.
  5. Hold the syringe in one hand like a pen and use your other hand to pinch the skin up. Insert the needle at a 45° angle with a quick dart-like motion into the pinched up area of skin.
  6. Use your thumb to push the plunger head all the way down between the needle guard wings.
  7. Once all the medicine has been injected, gently remove the needle from the skin. Take your thumb off the plunger head and you should hear a click which is the sound of the needle guard activating.
  8. Dispose of the syringe safely in a sharps container (call Janssen CarePath 877-227-3728 if you don’t have one).
  9. There may be a little bit of blood at the injection site. Apply light pressure with a cotton ball until it stops or cover with a plaster. Do not rub.

How does Stelara work?

Stelara (ustekinumab) is a monoclonal antibody.

Monoclonal antibodies are man-made proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system. They are a type of “targeted” treatment. Targeted treatments attach only to specific proteins in the body.

Stelara binds to the p40 protein subunit that is used by two cytokines, IL-12 and IL-23. Cytokines are signaling substances that help regulate immunity, inflammation, and the manufacture of blood cells.

By binding to this protein, Stelara disrupts the interaction of these two cytokines which have been identified as being important contributors to chronic inflammation that is a hallmark of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These cytokines are also present in skin lesions associated with psoriasis and in the joints of people with psoriatic arthritis.


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