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Canakinumab

Generic Name: canakinumab (KAN a KIN ue mab)
Brand Name: Ilaris

Medically reviewed on April 4, 2017

What is canakinumab?

Canakinumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks certain proteins in the body that can affect inflammation and other immune responses. Canakinumab is used to treat certain types of periodic fever syndromes, sometimes called auto-inflammatory syndromes.

Periodic fever syndromes are rare and often inherited conditions caused by mutations in certain genes; usually genes that are involved in producing a certain protein or enzyme in the body. People with a periodic fever syndrome have episodes of fever and inflammation without other causes such as infection or virus.

Canakinumab is used to treat the following periodic fever syndromes in adults and children who are at least 4 years old:

Canakinumab is also used to treat Sudden Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA) in children who are at least 2 years old.

Canakinumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with canakinumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: ongoing cough, fever lasting longer than 3 days, redness in one part of your body, or warmth or swelling under your skin.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use canakinumab if you are allergic to canakinumab.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had tuberculosis, if anyone in your household has tuberculosis, or if you have recently traveled to an area where tuberculosis is common.

Make sure you are current on all vaccines before you begin treatment with canakinumab.

To make sure canakinumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • an active infection;

  • a history of low white blood cell counts;

  • a weak immune system;

  • a history of HIV, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C;

  • a history of recurrent infections; or

  • if you are scheduled to receive any vaccine.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether canakinumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

Treatment with canakinumab may increase your risk of developing cancer. Talk to your doctor about your individual risk.

How should I use canakinumab?

Before you start treatment with canakinumab, your doctor may perform tests to make sure you do not have tuberculosis or other infections.

Canakinumab is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Canakinumab is usually given once every 4 to 8 weeks depending on the condition being treated. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Tell your doctor if you have any changes in weight. Canakinumab doses are based on weight (especially in children and teenagers), and any changes may affect the dose.

Canakinumab can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your canakinumab injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while using canakinumab?

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using canakinumab. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Canakinumab side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; nausea, trouble swallowing; dizziness, fast or pounding heartbeats, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Canakinumab can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections. Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with canakinumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as:

  • fever lasting longer than 3 days, chills, sweating;

  • sores, warmth, or pain anywhere on your body;

  • stomach pain, diarrhea, weight loss;

  • ongoing cough, shortness of breath;

  • coughing up blood;

  • redness in one part of your body;

  • warmth, redness, or swelling under your skin; or

  • flu symptoms, feeling very tired.

Call your doctor at once if you have a side effect such as:

  • swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing;

  • skin sores; or

  • pain, swelling, redness, warmth, blistering, or bleeding where an injection was given.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect canakinumab?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with canakinumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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