Ustekinumab: Uses, Side Effects

Ustekinumab is an immunosuppressant that reduces the effects of a chemical substance in the body that can cause inflammation.

Ustekinumab is used to treat plaque psoriasis in adults and children who are at least 12 years old. Ustekinumab is also used to treat psoriatic arthritis in adults, and is sometimes given with another medicine called methotrexate.

Ustekinumab is also used in adults to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s disease after other medicines have been tried without success.

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

Before taking this medicine

You should not use ustekinumab if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • active tuberculosis; or
  • if you have received a BCG (Bacillus Calmette and Guérin) vaccine within the past 12 months.

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.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • signs of infection (fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, painful skin sores, diarrhea, pain when you urinate, feeling very tired);
  • chronic infections;
  • new or changing skin lesions;
  • a latex allergy;
  • phototherapy (light therapy);
  • allergy shots; or
  • if you recently received or are scheduled to receive any vaccine.

Some people using ustekinumab have developed skin cancer (non-melanoma). However, these people may have had a higher risk of skin cancer. Talk to your doctor about this risk and what skin symptoms to watch for. You may need to have regular skin exams.

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

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of ustekinumab on the baby.

It may not be safe to breast-feed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; chest pain, difficult breathing; feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Serious infections may occur during treatment with ustekinumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: fever, chills, muscle pain, shortness of breath, weight loss, diarrhea or stomach pain, burning when you urinate, feeling very tired, skin warmth or redness, painful skin sores, or coughing up blood.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

  • a mole that has changed in size or color;
  • swelling, pain, warmth, or redness anywhere on your body;
  • stomach pain that is sudden and severe or comes on slowly, changes in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation);
  • new or worsening cough, sudden chest pain, feeling short of breath;
  • pain or burning when you urinate; or
  • severe headache, confusion, change in mental status, vision problems, and/or seizure (convulsions).

Common side effects may include:

  • cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat;
  • itching;
  • vomiting;
  • vaginal itching or discharge;
  • headache, tiredness; or
  • redness where ustekinumab was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

What other drugs will affect ustekinumab?

Other drugs may affect ustekinumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.


Keyword: ustekinumab.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.