Infections: Ustekinumab may have the potential to increase the risk of infections and reactivate latent infections. In clinical studies, serious bacterial, fungal, and viral infections have been observed in patients receiving STELARA (see Adverse Reactions).
Caution should be exercised when considering the use of STELARA in patients with a chronic infection or a history of recurrent infection (see Contraindications).
Prior to initiating treatment with STELARA, patients should be evaluated for tuberculosis infection. STELARA must not be given to patients with active tuberculosis (see Contraindications). Treatment of latent tuberculosis infection should be initiated prior to administering STELARA. Anti-tuberculosis therapy should also be considered prior to initiation of STELARA in patients with a 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.
Patients should be instructed to seek medical advice if signs or symptoms suggestive of an infection occur. If a patient develops a serious infection, the patient should be closely monitored and STELARA should not be administered until the infection resolves.
Malignancies: Immunosuppressants like ustekinumab have the potential to increase the risk of malignancy. Some patients who received STELARA in clinical studies developed cutaneous and non-cutaneous malignancies (see Adverse Reactions).
No studies have been conducted that include patients with a history of malignancy or that continue treatment in patients who develop malignancy while receiving STELARA. Thus, caution should be exercised when considering the use of STELARA in these patients.
All patients, in particular those greater than 60 years of age, patients with a medical history of prolonged immunosuppressant therapy or those with a history of PUVA treatment, should be monitored for the appearance of nonmelanoma skin cancer (see Adverse Reactions).
Hypersensitivity reactions: Serious hypersensitivity reactions have been reported in the postmarketing setting, in some cases several days after treatment. Anaphylaxis and angioedema have occurred. If an anaphylactic or other serious hypersensitivity reaction occurs, appropriate therapy should be instituted and administration of STELARA should be discontinued (see Adverse Reactions).
Latex sensitivity: Soln for inj in pre-filled syringe: The needle cover on the syringe in the STELARA pre-filled syringe is manufactured from dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause allergic reactions in individuals sensitive to latex.
Vaccinations: It is recommended that live viral or live bacterial vaccines (such as Bacillus of Calmette and Guérin (BCG)) should not be given concurrently with STELARA. Specifi c studies have not been conducted in patients who had recently received live viral or live bacterial vaccines. No data are available on the secondary transmission of infection by live vaccines in patients receiving STELARA. Before live viral or live bacterial vaccination, treatment with STELARA should be withheld for at least 15 weeks after the last dose and can be resumed at least 2 weeks after vaccination. Prescribers should consult the Summary of Product Characteristics for the specific vaccine for additional information and guidance on concomitant use of immunosuppressive agents post-vaccination.
Patients receiving STELARA may receive concurrent inactivated or non-live vaccinations.
Long term treatment with STELARA does not suppress the humoral immune response to pneumococcal polysaccharide or tetanus vaccines (see Pharmacology: Pharmacodynamics under Actions).
Concomitant immunosuppressive therapy: In psoriasis studies, the safety and efficacy of STELARA in combination with immunosuppressants, including biologics, or phototherapy have not been evaluated. In psoriatic arthritis studies, concomitant MTX use did not appear to influence the safety or efficacy of STELARA. In Crohn's disease studies, concomitant use of immunosuppressants or corticosteroids did not appear to influence the safety or efficacy of STELARA. Caution should be exercised when considering concomitant use of other immunosuppressants and STELARA or when transitioning from other immunosuppressive biologics (see Interactions).
Immunotherapy: STELARA has not been evaluated in patients who have undergone allergy immunotherapy. It is not known whether STELARA may affect allergy immunotherapy.
Serious skin conditions: In patients with psoriasis, exfoliative dermatitis has been reported following ustekinumab treatment (see Adverse Reactions). Patients with plaque psoriasis may develop erythrodermic psoriasis, with symptoms that may be clinically indistinguishable from exfoliative dermatitis, as part of the natural course of their disease. As part of the monitoring of the patient's psoriasis, physicians should be alert for symptoms of erythrodermic psoriasis or exfoliative dermatitis. If these symptoms occur, appropriate therapy should be instituted. STELARA should be discontinued if a drug reaction is suspected.
Special populations: Elderly (≥ 65 years): No overall differences in efficacy or safety in patients age 65 and older who received STELARA were observed compared to younger patients, however the number of patients aged 65 and older is not sufficient to determine whether they respond differently from younger patients. Because there is a higher incidence of infections in the elderly population in general, caution should be used in treating the elderly.
Effects on ability to drive and use machines: Stelara has no or negligible influence on the ability to drive and use machines.