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Stelara is a prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat active psoriatic arthritis and moderately to severely active cases of plaque psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. Stelara was investigated as a potential treatment for spondylitis, but failed to demonstrate efficacy in clinical studies. Stelara is also referred to by its drug name, Ustekinumab.

Stelara is an immunomodulator, or in other words, a drug that modulates the immune system. It is considered a biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). Stelara is a genetically engineered antibody, or protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize substances. Stelara is believed to work by interfering with interleukin 12 and interleukin 23, two chemical messengers involved in autoimmune attacks.

How do I take it?
After initial loading doses, Stelara is administered every 12 weeks by subcutaneous injection. In cases of Crohn’s disease, the initial dose may be administered by intravenous infusion.

Stelara is available as a prefilled syringe and single-dose vial.

Side effects
The FDA-approved label for Stelara lists common side effects including headache, fatigue, cold symptoms, vaginal yeast infections, bronchitis, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, and injection site reactions.

Rare but serious side effects listed for Stelara include severe infections, hypersensitivity reactions, and reversible cases of posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (a disorder involving brain swelling). Stelara may increase the risk of developing some types of cancer.

For answers to frequently asked questions about exposure to Stelara during pregnancy and breastfeeding, visit the experts at

For more details about this treatment, visit:

Stelara – Janssen

Lessons learned from a failed treatment for axial spondyloarthritis - Rheumatology Network

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