Cosentyx

Also called secukinumab

Cosentyx is used to treat some types of autoimmune conditions such as chronic plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Find out how to use it safely and possible side effects.

What is Cosentyx?

Cosentyx is used to treat some types of autoimmune conditions. These are conditions in which your body's defence system (immune system) attacks healthy tissues, such as chronic plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Cosentyx is usually used when other treatments have not worked well. It is a type of medicine is called an interleukin (IL) inhibitor.

Cosentyx works by neutralising the activity of a protein called IL-17A, which is present at increased levels in conditions such as psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. It will reduce the inflammation and other symptoms of the condition.

In New Zealand, Cosentyx is available as a pre-filled syringe, which is given as an injection under your skin into your thigh or abdomen (belly).  

Dose of Cosentyx

  • The dose of Cosentyx is different for different people, depending on its use.
  • Each Cosentyx pen contains a 150 mg dose of secukinumab.
    • If your prescribed dose is 150 mg, you must give 1 injection for each dose.
    • If your prescribed dose is 300 mg, you must give 2 injections for each dose
  • Inject Cosentyx exactly as your doctor or nurse has shown you. The pharmacy label will tell you how much Cosentyx to use, how often to use it and any special instructions. 
  • You may not notice the effects of Cosentyx straight away. It may take 2–4 weeks to notice a difference.

How to use Cosentyx

Cosentyx is given as an injection, just under your skin (called subcutaneous injection). Some people can give themselves the injection or it can be given by another person, eg, a family/whānau member or friend after proper training, or by your doctor or nurse. 

If you are unsure about how to inject Cosentyx, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to show you.

Preparation

Cosentyx is usually stored in the fridge. Take your Cosentyx pen out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for 15–30 minutes before injecting. Do not warm Cosentyx in any other way, eg, in the microwave or in hot water.

Injection sites

Each injection should be given at a different site. Choose an injection site, such as on the front of your thighs or your abdomen (belly) at least 5cm from your belly button. A caregiver may also give you an injection in your upper outer arm. The injection site should be different from your last injection site, and at least 3cm away. Do not inject into skin that is sore, bruised, red, hard or scarred, that has stretch marks or is affected by psoriasis.

Side effects from using Cosentyx

Like all medicines, Cosentyx can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

Increased risk of infections

Because Cosentyx weakens your body's immune system, it can make it more likely for you to get infections. These infections may be mild (such as colds or sinusitis) or more severe, such as tuberculosis (TB) and septicaemia (infection of your blood).

  • Before starting Cosentyx, you will need to:
    • have blood tests and a chest x-ray to check for infections
    • check with your doctor what vaccines you might need – you should not have a live vaccine while using Cosentyx.
  • Tell your doctor immediately if you:
    • come into contact with someone who has an infection, such as TB (tuberculosis), while you are taking Cosentyx
    • develop an ongoing cough, weight loss, fever, sore throat, bruising or bleeding.
  • You will need to be monitored for infections during treatment and for several months after you have stopped taking it.
    • Before you start taking Cosentyx, let your doctor know if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, have TB, hepatitis B, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohns’ disease), have an allergy to latex or are taking blood-thinning medicines.

Other side effects

Side effects What should I do?
  • Reaction at the injection site such as bruising, redness, tenderness
  • Change the site for each subcutaneous injection (see tips above).
  • Tell your doctor if this does not settle.
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Cold sores (herpes)
  • Runny poo (diarrhoea) 
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Signs of TB such as a cough that won’t go away, night sweats, fever or weight loss
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as muscle or joint pain, fever, rash, intense itching, swelling of your face or hands, sore throat, headache or difficulty swallowing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.

Learn more about Cosentyx

The following links have more information on Cosentyx. 

Secukinumab RheumInfo
Cosentyx
Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ

Reference

  1. Secukinumab NZ Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 03 May 2021