Side Effects of Skyrizi: What You Need to Know


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Introduction

If you have plaque psoriasis, your doctor may want to prescribe Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) to treat your condition.

Skyrizi is a prescription drug. It’s used in adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis that could benefit from phototherapy (light treatment) or systemic treatment (medication that works throughout your body). Plaque psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that causes thick, raised, scaly patches to form on the skin.

Skyrizi is a long-term treatment. The drug comes in a prefilled syringe and is given by subcutaneous injection (an injection under your skin). To learn more about Skyrizi, see this in-depth article on the drug.

Skyrizi can cause mild or serious side effects. Read on for what you need to know about these side effects and when you should call your doctor.

What are the more common side effects of Skyrizi?

Some people may have mild or serious side effects while using Skyrizi. The following list contains some of the more common side effects Skyrizi may cause. This list doesn’t include all possible side effects.

In clinical studies of Skyrizi, the most common side effects were:

  • upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
  • headache
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • injection site reaction (such as skin bruising, irritation, or itching near injection area)
  • fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot or ringworm

If you’re concerned about side effects, talk with your doctor about your specific risk for side effects while using this drug.

What are the mild side effects of Skyrizi?

Some people may experience mild side effects during their Skyrizi treatment, including:

  • upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
  • headache
  • fatigue (lack of energy)
  • injection site reaction (such as skin bruising, irritation, or itching near injection area)
  • fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot or ringworm

This list does not include all possible side effects. For more information about mild side effects that can occur with this drug, see the Skyrizi Medication Guide.

What are the serious side effects of Skyrizi?

Although serious side effects from Skyrizi aren’t common, they are possible. Serious side effects may include:

  • allergic reaction
  • serious infection

For more information about these serious side effects, see the “Side effects explained” section below.

FAQs about Skyrizi’s side effects

Below are answers to some common questions about Skyrizi. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor.

Does using Skyrizi lead to weight gain?

No. Weight gain was not a side effect seen in people using Skyrizi during clinical studies.

If you experience weight gain during your Skyrizi treatment that concerns you, talk with your doctor. They may suggest changes to your diet or lifestyle that can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Will Skyrizi cause acne?

No, it’s not likely. In clinical studies of Skyrizi, acne was not reported as a side effect.

If you’ve noticed new or worsening acne since starting Skyrizi, talk with your doctor. They may suggest tips or treatment to help clear your acne.

Are there long-term side effects of Skyrizi?

It’s not likely that Skyrizi will cause long-term side effects. Long-term side effects were not seen in studies of Skyrizi.

However, in studies, Skyrizi was linked with an increased risk of infection. Some serious infections, such as tuberculosis (TB), can have long-lasting effects or complications. If you’re concerned about long-term side effects from Skyrizi, talk with your doctor.

Side effects explained

Learn more about some of the side effects Skyrizi may cause.

Serious infection

Using Skyrizi could raise your risk of getting a serious infection. This is because Skyrizi can weaken your immune system, which lowers your body’s defenses against infection.

Serious infections from Skyrizi are rare, but they can include:

  • pneumonia (lung infection)
  • cellulitis (bacterial skin infection)
  • osteomyelitis (bone infection)
  • sepsis (body’s extreme response to an infection that leads to organ damage)
  • shingles (viral infection that often causes a painful rash)

Symptoms of an infection can include fever, tiredness, cough, or skin changes (warmth, pain, or pus).

What might help

To help prevent infection during your Skyrizi treatment, try to stay away from people who may be sick. Also, washing or sanitizing your hands often can help prevent the spread of infection.

If you notice symptoms of an infection during your treatment, call your doctor right away. They may want to do tests to find out what’s causing your infection. If needed, they may prescribe medications to treat your infection.

Fatigue

Fatigue (lack of energy) is a common side effect of Skyrizi. However, fatigue caused by this drug is usually mild and tends to go away with time.

What might help

If you have low energy while using Skyrizi, try some of these tips to boost your energy level:

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Get regular physical exercise.

If you’re still concerned about fatigue with Skyrizi, talk with your doctor. They may be able to suggest other ways to relieve this side effect.

Headache

Headache is one of the more common side effects that can occur with Skyrizi. In most people, headaches caused by Skyrizi are mild.

Types of headaches that Skyrizi may cause include:

  • tension headache
  • sinus headache
  • cervicogenic headache (pain that travels from the neck up to the head)

What might help

If you get headaches with Skyrizi that bother you, there are many natural headache remedies you can try. Some examples include:

  • drinking plenty of water each day
  • using a cold or warm compress
  • massaging painful areas of the scalp and neck

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are another option to help headaches go away. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you’re not sure if you can safely take OTC pain relievers, talk with your doctor.

Injection-site reactions

A common side effect of Skyrizi is a reaction where the drug is injected. In most cases, injection-site reactions are mild.

Examples of injection-site reactions include:

  • bruising
  • bleeding
  • inflammation (swelling)
  • irritation
  • pain
  • itching
  • warmth

What might help

Injection-site reactions from Skyrizi usually go away on their own. But if you have a reaction that’s bothering you, try applying a cool compress to soothe the area. Or ask your doctor for suggestions on how to ease injection-site reactions.

Allergic reaction

Like most drugs, Skyrizi can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth, swelling, or redness in your skin)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What might help

If you have mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or a topical product, like hydrocortisone cream, to manage your symptoms.

If your doctor confirms you had a mild allergic reaction to Skyrizi, they’ll decide if you should continue using it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as swelling or trouble breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

Keeping track of side effects

During your Skyrizi treatment, consider keeping notes on any side effects you’re having. You can share this information with your doctor. This is especially helpful to do when you first start taking new drugs or using a combination of treatments.

Your side effect notes can include things like:

  • what dose of drug you were taking when you had the side effect
  • how soon after starting that dose you had the side effect
  • what your symptoms were from the side effect
  • how it affected your daily activities
  • what other medications you were also taking
  • any other information you feel is important

Keeping notes and sharing them with your doctor will help your doctor learn more about how Skyrizi affects you. Your doctor can use this information to adjust your treatment plan if needed.

Warnings for Skyrizi

Skyrizi may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. Talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Skyrizi. Factors to consider include those in the list below.

Infection. If you have any kind of infection before starting Skyrizi, tell your doctor about it. This includes minor infections, such as a small cut or wound that hasn’t healed yet. Your doctor will likely treat you for the infection or wait until it goes away before you start using Skyrizi. Also, tell your doctor if you’ve had infections in the past that kept coming back.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Skyrizi or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Skyrizi. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.

Tuberculosis (TB). Tell your doctor if you currently have TB or have had it in the past. Let them know if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has TB. If you get TB while taking Skyrizi, your risk for serious side effects may be higher. Your doctor will order a TB test before you start treatment. You shouldn’t take Skyrizi if you have TB.

Vaccines (recent or upcoming). Talk with your doctor about getting caught up on any vaccines before you start your Skyrizi treatment. Skyrizi can weaken your immune system, so you shouldn’t get live vaccines while using this drug. Live vaccines contain a weakened form of a virus or bacteria, and they could cause infection in someone with a weakened immune system. Examples of live vaccines include chickenpox and measles, mumps, rubella (MMR). Check with your doctor or pharmacist before getting any vaccines while using Skyrizi.

Alcohol use and Skyrizi

It should be safe to drink alcohol during your Skyrizi treatment. However, alcohol may be a trigger that causes your psoriasis to flare up. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much is safe for you to drink with your condition and treatment plan.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Skyrizi

It’s not known if Skyrizi is safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor before starting Skyrizi. And if you become pregnant while using this drug, call your doctor right away.

It’s also not known if Skyrizi is safe to use while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed during your treatment, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Skyrizi.

What to ask your doctor

Skyrizi can be an effective treatment option for plaque psoriasis. The most common side effects of Skyrizi are usually mild, but serious side effects are possible. If you have questions or concerns about side effects from Skyrizi, talk with your doctor.

Questions that you may want to ask your doctor include:

  • Do I have a high risk for side effects from Skyrizi?
  • What else can I do to help prevent infection while using Skyrizi?
  • Does this drug interact with any other medications I’m taking?
  • What can I do to reduce my chances of having an injection-site reaction?

If you have psoriasis, subscribe to our online newsletter for tips on managing symptoms, dealing with flare-ups, and more.

Ask a pharmacist

Q:

I’ve had plaque psoriasis for years, and I’ve recently developed psoriatic arthritis. Will Skyrizi help with both?

Anonymous patient

A:

Right now, Skyrizi is only prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis. However, ongoing studies are looking into whether this drug can help treat psoriatic arthritis as well.

If you have plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, talk with your doctor about your treatment options.

Dana Kim, PharmDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Healthline

Disclaimer: Healthline 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.


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