"Oct. 17, 2012 -- A drug used to treat psoriasis may provide a much-needed option for people with bad cases of Crohn's disease.
In the new study, some people with moderate to severe Crohn's given Stelara (ustekinumab) began to see imp"...
STELARA® may increase the risk of infections and reactivation of latent infections. Serious bacterial, fungal, and viral infections were observed in subjects receiving STELARA® [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
STELARA® should not be given to patients with any clinically important active infection. STELARA® should not be administered until the infection resolves or is adequately treated. Instruct patients to seek medical advice if signs or symptoms suggestive of an infection occur. Exercise caution when considering the use of STELARA® in patients with a chronic infection or a history of recurrent infection.
Serious infections requiring hospitalization occurred in the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis development programs. In the psoriasis program, serious infections included diverticulitis, cellulitis, pneumonia, appendicitis, cholecystitis, sepsis, osteomyelitis, viral infections, gastroenteritis and urinary tract infections. In the psoriatic arthritis program, serious infections included cholecystitis.
Theoretical Risk For Vulnerability To Particular Infections
Individuals genetically deficient in IL-12/IL-23 are particularly vulnerable to disseminated infections from mycobacteria (including nontuberculous, environmental mycobacteria), salmonella (including nontyphi strains), and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccinations. Serious infections and fatal outcomes have been reported in such patients.
It is not known whether patients with pharmacologic blockade of IL-12/IL-23 from treatment with STELARA® will be susceptible to these types of infections. Appropriate diagnostic testing should be considered, e.g., tissue culture, stool culture, as dictated by clinical circumstances.
Pre-treatment Evaluation For Tuberculosis
Evaluate patients for tuberculosis infection prior to initiating treatment with STELARA®.
Do not administer STELARA® to patients with active tuberculosis. Initiate treatment of latent tuberculosis prior to administering STELARA®. Consider anti-tuberculosis therapy prior to initiation of STELARA® in patients with a past history of latent or active tuberculosis in whom an adequate course of treatment cannot be confirmed. Patients receiving STELARA® should be monitored closely for signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis during and after treatment.
STELARA® is an immunosuppressant and may increase the risk of malignancy. Malignancies were reported among subjects who received STELARA® in clinical studies [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. In rodent models, inhibition of IL-12/IL-23p40 increased the risk of malignancy [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
The safety of STELARA® has not been evaluated in patients who have a history of malignancy or who have a known malignancy.
There have been post marketing reports of the rapid appearance of multiple cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas in patients receiving STELARA® who had pre-existing risk factors for developing non-melanoma skin cancer. All patients receiving STELARA® should be monitored for the appearance of non-melanoma skin cancer. Patients greater than 60 years of age, those with a medical history of prolonged immunosuppressant therapy and those with a history of PUVA treatment should be followed closely [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and angioedema, have been reported post-marketing. If an anaphylactic or other clinically significant hypersensitivity reaction occurs, institute appropriate therapy and discontinue STELARA® [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome
One case of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) was observed in the clinical trial safety databases for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The subject, who had received 12 doses of STELARA® over approximately two years, presented with headache, seizures and confusion. No additional STELARA® injections were administered and the subject fully recovered with appropriate treatment.
RPLS is a neurological disorder, which is not caused by demyelination or a known infectious agent. RPLS can present with headache, seizures, confusion and visual disturbances. Conditions with which it has been associated include preeclampsia, eclampsia, acute hypertension, cytotoxic agents and immunosuppressive therapy. Fatal outcomes have been reported.
If RPLS is suspected, administer appropriate treatment and discontinue STELARA®.
Prior to initiating therapy with STELARA® , patients should receive all immunizations appropriate for age as recommended by current immunization guidelines. Patients being treated with STELARA® should not receive live vaccines. BCG vaccines should not be given during treatment with STELARA® or for one year prior to initiating treatment or one year following discontinuation of treatment. Caution is advised when administering live vaccines to household contacts of patients receiving STELARA® because of the potential risk for shedding from the household contact and transmission to patient.
Non-live vaccinations received during a course of STELARA® may not elicit an immune response sufficient to prevent disease.
In psoriasis studies the safety of STELARA® in combination with other immunosuppressive agents or phototherapy has not been evaluated. In psoriatic arthritis studies, concomitant MTX use did not appear to influence the safety or efficacy of STELARA® [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]. Ultraviolet-induced skin cancers developed earlier and more frequently in mice genetically manipulated to be deficient in both IL-12 and IL-23 or IL-12 alone [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide and Instructions for Use)
Instruct patients to read the Medication Guide before starting STELARA® therapy and to reread the Medication Guide each time the prescription is renewed.
Inform patients that STELARA® may lower the ability of their immune system to fight infections. Instruct patients of the importance of communicating any history of infections to the doctor, and contacting their doctor if they develop any symptoms of infection.
Patients should be counseled about the risk of malignancies while receiving STELARA®.
Advise patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience any symptoms of serious allergic reactions.
Instruction On Injection Technique
The first self-injection should be performed under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. If a patient or caregiver is to administer STELARA® , he/she should be instructed in injection techniques and their ability to inject subcutaneously should be assessed to ensure the proper administration of STELARA® [see Medication Guide and Instructions for Use].
Patients should be instructed to inject the full amount of STELARA® according to the directions provided in the Medication Guide and Instructions for Use. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to latex.
Needles and syringes should be disposed of in a puncture-resistant container. Patients or caregivers should be instructed in the technique of proper syringe and needle disposal, and be advised not to reuse these items.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Animal studies have not been conducted to evaluate the carcinogenic or mutagenic potential of STELARA®. Published literature showed that administration of murine IL-12 caused an antitumor effect in mice that contained transplanted tumors and IL-12/IL-23p40 knockout mice or mice treated with anti-IL-12/IL-23p40 antibody had decreased host defense to tumors. Mice genetically manipulated to be deficient in both IL-12 and IL-23 or IL-12 alone developed UV-induced skin cancers earlier and more frequently compared to wild-type mice. The relevance of these experimental findings in mouse models for malignancy risk in humans is unknown.
No effects on fertility were observed in male cynomolgus monkeys that were administered ustekinumab at subcutaneous doses up to 45 mg/kg twice weekly (45 times the MRHD on a mg/kg basis) prior to and during the mating period. However, fertility and pregnancy outcomes were not evaluated in mated females.
No effects on fertility were observed in female mice that were administered an analogous IL12/IL-23p40 antibody by subcutaneous administration at doses up to 50 mg/kg, twice weekly, prior to and during early pregnancy.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category B - Pregnancy Registry
There is a pregnancy registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to STELARA® during pregnancy. Patients should be encouraged to enroll by calling 1-877-3118972.
There are no adequate and well controlled studies of STELARA® in pregnant women. Developmental toxicity studies conducted with monkeys found no evidence of harm to the fetus due to ustekinumab. STELARA® should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Ustekinumab was tested in two embryo-fetal development toxicity studies with cynomolgus monkeys. No teratogenic effects or other adverse developmental effects were observed in fetuses from pregnant monkeys that were administered ustekinumab during the period of organogenesis either twice weekly via subcutaneous injections or weekly by intravenous injections at doses up to 45 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) (on a mg/kg basis at a maternal dose of 45 mg/kg).
In a combined embryo-fetal development and pre- and post-natal development toxicity study, pregnant cynomolgus monkeys were administered subcutaneous doses of ustekinumab twice weekly up to 45 times the MRHD (on a mg/kg basis at a maternal dose of 45 mg/kg) from the beginning of organogenesis to Day 33 after delivery. Neonatal deaths occurred in the offspring of one monkey administered ustekinumab at 22.5 mg/kg and one monkey dosed at 45 mg/kg. No ustekinumab-related effects on functional, morphological, or immunological development were observed in the neonates from birth through six months of age.
Caution should be exercised when STELARA® is administered to a nursing woman. The unknown risks to the infant from gastrointestinal or systemic exposure to ustekinumab should be weighed against the known benefits of breast-feeding. Ustekinumab is excreted in the milk of lactating monkeys administered ustekinumab. IgG is excreted in human milk, so it is expected that STELARA® will be present in human milk. It is not known if ustekinumab is absorbed systemically after ingestion; however, published data suggest that antibodies in breast milk do not enter the neonatal and infant circulation in substantial amounts.
Safety and effectiveness of STELARA® in pediatric patients have not been evaluated.
Of the 4031 subjects exposed to STELARA® , a total of 248 were 65 years or older (183 patients with psoriasis and 65 patients with psoriatic arthritis), and 29 subjects were 75 years or older. Although no differences in safety or efficacy were observed between older and younger subjects, the number of subjects aged 65 and over is not sufficient to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 3/18/2014
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