Cosentyx (secukinumab) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat:

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that typically causes skin to develop raised areas that are itchy and scaly. (An autoimmune condition occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body.) With psoriatic arthritis, you have psoriasis as well as arthritis.

Here are the basics on Cosentyx:

  • Its active ingredient is secukinumab, which is a biologic.
  • It belongs to the monoclonal antibody drug class.
  • Cosentyx comes in three forms. Each is given as a subcutaneous injection:
    • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
    • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
    • powder in a single-use vial†
  • The drug isn’t available as a generic.

Read on for more information on Cosentyx and its use in treating psoriasis. You can also refer to this article for a comprehensive look at Cosentyx and its other use.

* The term “active” means that you currently have symptoms.
† This form of Cosentyx is mixed with a solution and given as an injection by a healthcare provider.

The use of Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis* and psoriatic arthritis* may cause side effects that are mild or serious. The lists below include some of the main side effects that have been reported with Cosentyx use. For information on other potential side effects of the drug, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also see our article on Cosentyx or refer to the Cosentyx medication guide.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medication, it tracks and reviews side effects of the drug. If you develop a side effect while taking Cosentyx and would like to inform the FDA, visit MedWatch.

* Cosentyx is also approved to treat ankylosing spondylitis. It’s important to note that some side effects from Cosentyx may differ depending on which condition the drug is being used to treat.

Mild side effects

When used to treat plaque psoriasis, common mild side effects of Cosentyx can include:

When used to treat psoriatic arthritis, common mild side effects of Cosentyx can include:

  • headache
  • mild elevations in blood cholesterol
  • minor respiratory infections, such as the common cold
  • nausea

These side effects of Cosentyx may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if they last for a longer time, or if they bother you or become severe, it’s important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Cosentyx aren’t common, but they can occur. These can include:

Call your doctor right away if you develop serious side effects while using Cosentyx. If the side effects seem life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Cosentyx is approved to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in some situations. How often you receive Cosentyx injections differs depending on which condition you’re using the drug to treat.

Cosentyx comes in three forms. Each contains 150 milligrams/milliliter (mg/mL) of Cosentyx:

  • liquid solution in a single-use prefilled syringe
  • liquid solution in a single-use Sensoready pen
  • powder in a single-use vial*

* This form of Cosentyx is mixed with a solution and given as an injection by a healthcare provider.

Dosage

Here’s the Cosentyx dosage information for whether you have plaque psoriasis, plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis alone.

Cosentyx is approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. You must be able to have phototherapy or systemic therapy. With phototherapy, light treats psoriasis plaques. Systemic therapy works in your whole body to stop the formation of plaques.

Cosentyx is also approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis. When the condition is “active,” you currently have symptoms.

Note: In addition to treating plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, Cosentyx is used for ankylosing spondylitis. Keep in mind that the drug’s dosage may differ with this other use. To learn more, talk with your doctor.

Plaque psoriasis dosage

Cosentyx is used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults.

For treating moderate to severeplaque psoriasis, the recommended dosage of Cosentyx is 300 mg (two 150-mg injections) every week for 5 weeks.

After week 5, you’ll likely need two 150-mg injections of Cosentyx once every 4 weeks. But in some cases, you may need only one 150-mg injection once every 4 weeks.

Plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis dosage

If you have both plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, the recommended dosage of Cosentyx is the same as for plaque psoriasis. See “Plaque psoriasis dosage” above.

Psoriatic arthritis dosage

If you have only active psoriatic arthritis, there are two ways to receive Cosentyx:

  • With a loading dose. You may receive a loading dose, depending on the severity of your condition. A loading dose is a higher dose given when you begin taking a medication to help it start working more quickly. If your doctor prescribes a loading dose, you’ll have a 150-mg Cosentyx injection once a week for five weeks. Then, you’ll receive one 150-mg injection every 4 weeks.
  • Without a loading dose. If a loading dose isn’t the right option for you, you’ll receive a 150-mg Cosentyx injection once every 4 weeks.

How to use

You should use Cosentyx according to your doctor or healthcare provider’s instructions.

A healthcare provider will give you your first injection at your doctor’s office. They may teach you how to give yourself Cosentyx injections with the prefilled syringe or Sensoready pen at home. Talk with your doctor about whether one form may be simpler for you to use.

The Cosentyx website features helpful videos showing the correct way to give injections with the syringe or pen. You can also speak with a Cosentyx support specialist and receive live virtual injection training. To do so, call Cosentyx Connect at 844-COSENTYX (844-267-3689).

How often to use

The dosing schedule of Cosentyx varies depending on which condition you’re using Cosentyx to treat. You’ll use Cosentyx either once a week or once every 4 weeks. It’s best if you take Cosentyx on the same day every week or month.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try putting your treatment schedule in your calendar. You can also try setting a reminder on your phone.

Cosentyx is approved to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in some situations.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that typically causes skin to develop raised areas that are itchy and scaly. An autoimmune condition occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body.

Plaque psoriasis is one type of psoriasis. The raised patches are called plaques, and they form when your skin cells build up too quickly. The buildup leads to inflammation (swelling and damage), which can make plaques worse.

Some people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. It’s a type of arthritis that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. This causes inflammation, which can become very painful.

The way Cosentyx works

Cosentyx is classified as a monoclonal antibody. (A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.) Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that work through your immune system, which is your body’s defense against infection.

Your immune system makes special types of proteins that can cause inflammation. Interleukin 17A (IL-17A) is one of these proteins. It’s been found to contribute to both plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. IL-17A can make symptoms of psoriasis worse. Researchers have found that people with plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis have higher blood levels of IL-17A than people without these conditions.

The way Cosentyx works is to bind to IL-17A and prevent it from working. By preventing IL-17A from acting, Cosentyx helps decrease inflammation in your body. Inflammation leads to swelling and damage, which worsens plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Because Cosentyx can prevent swelling and damage from occurring, the drug should help ease your symptoms.

How long does Cosentyx take to work for psoriasis?

How long Cosentyx takes to work for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis depends on which condition the drug is treating. Clinical trials showed that:

  • For treating plaque psoriasis, people taking Cosentyx reported that their symptoms eased in 12 weeks of treatment.
  • For treating psoriatic arthritis, people taking Cosentyx reported that their symptoms eased after 16 weeks. Some people taking Cosentyx reported symptom relief in as few as 3 weeks.

It’s important to remember that each person’s body will react differently to Cosentyx. You may see results more quickly or more slowly. If you have questions about how well Cosentyx is working for you, talk with your doctor. They can help answer questions you may have about whether Cosentyx is effective for your condition.

How much Cosentyx costs is based on several factors. These can include your prescribed treatment regimen, the insurance plan you have, the pharmacy you use, and your location.

The price may also be based on the cost of the appointment to receive doses of Cosentyx from your healthcare provider. (In some cases, giving yourself Cosentyx injections may not be an option, so you would have to receive them from a healthcare provider.) For estimates of how much Cosentyx costs, see GoodRx.com.

Cosentyx is a brand-name biologic medication. It’s not available as a generic or biosimilar. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication that’s made from chemicals. A biosimilar drug, on the other hand, is a medication that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug. (Because biologic drugs are made from living cells, it’s not possible to copy these drugs exactly.)

Psoriasis is a type of autoimmune condition that typically causes skin to develop thick, raised patches. (An autoimmune condition occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body.) The patches may be itchy and covered with white or silver scales. Here’s some information on plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Plaque psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is one kind of psoriasis. The raised patches are called plaques, and they form when your skin cells build up too quickly. The buildup leads to inflammation (swelling and damage), which can make plaques worse. Cosentyx helps treat plaque psoriasis by decreasing inflammation. This also helps reduce the pain caused by plaque psoriasis.

Symptoms of plaque psoriasis

The hallmark symptom of plaque psoriasis is the plaques. They may be purple or violet on black skin. On lighter skin, plaques may be red or pink. The plaques are most likely to form on the elbows, knees, scalp, or lower back, but can occur anywhere on the skin.

Psoriatic arthritis

Some people with psoriasis will develop psoriatic arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, you have psoriasis as well as a kind of arthritis in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. This causes inflammation, which can become very painful. Cosentyx helps treat psoriatic arthritis by decreasing inflammation. This also helps reduce pain.

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can include:

  • pain, redness or darkening, and swelling in your joints and tendons
  • pain in the heel or lower back
  • stiffness, especially after resting (such as first thing in the morning)
  • psoriasis plaques (see “Symptoms of plaque psoriasis” above)

Who Cosentyx is prescribed for

Cosentyx is approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The condition is considered moderate to severe if it covers 3% or more of your body. For reference, 1% of your body is about the size of your hand (five fingers and palm).

You must be able to have phototherapy or systemic therapy. With phototherapy, light treats psoriasis plaques. Systemic therapy works in your whole body to stop the formation of plaques.

Cosentyx is also approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis. When the condition is “active,” you currently have symptoms.

Clinical trials have shown Cosentyx to be effective for treating psoriasis, including plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

For treating plaque psoriasis, researchers looked at adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. The researchers gave them either Cosentyx or a placebo (treatment with no active drug). In 12 weeks, more adults who received Cosentyx reported that their symptoms eased than adults who received a placebo.

Researchers also compared Cosentyx with a placebo for treating adults with psoriatic arthritis. After 16 weeks, more adults who received Cosentyx reported that their symptoms eased than people who received a placebo.

Guidelines

Guidelines published by the American Academy of Dermatology recommend secukinumab, the active drug in Cosentyx, as a treatment option for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Guidelines published by the American College of Rheumatology recommend an IL-17 blocker, such as Cosentyx, as a treatment option for psoriatic arthritis. The drug is recommended especially when other treatment options for this condition haven’t worked.

Before you use Cosentyx, there’s some important information to keep in mind. The drug may not be a safe option for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Some of these are mentioned below.

If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before using Cosentyx:

Now that you’ve learned about Cosentyx for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, you may still have some questions. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist, who can advise you on whether Cosentyx might be right for you.

Here are some other helpful references:

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.