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How to stop taking Otezla?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 18, 2021.

Official answer


Otezla does not cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped, so it may be stopped suddenly, but there have been reports of people experiencing gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, after they have stopped Otezla. This may be because Otezla tends to help bowels move much better, with some people reporting diarrhea or loose motions while on Otezla, and their stools become a lot harder once they have stopped Otezla. Other symptoms of their condition may also return. For this reason it may be better to reduce the dose of Otezla slowly, over a week or two.

You should always talk with your doctor before stopping Otezla. In clinical trials, people with plaque psoriasis whose condition improved while on Otezla began to lose those improvements around 5 weeks after they stopped taking the medication.

The reason Otezla is started slowly is to reduce the occurrence of gastrointestinal side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or weight loss that are associated with initial therapy.

Otezla is a PDE4 inhibitor that may be used to treat plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s Disease.

  • Otezla (apremilast) Updated 04/2020. Amgen Inc.
  • Kavanaugh A, Gladman DD, Edwards CJ, et al. Long-term experience with apremilast in patients with psoriatic arthritis: 5-year results from a PALACE 1–3 pooled analysis. Arthritis Res Ther. 21, 118 (2019).
  • Crowley J, Thaçi D, Joly P et al. Long-term safety and tolerability of apremilast in patients with psoriasis: Pooled safety analysis for ≥156 weeks from 2 phase 3, randomized, controlled trials (ESTEEM 1 and 2). J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;77(2):310-317.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2017.01.052

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