Otezla (apremilast)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: September 2023 | Last updated: September 2023

Otezla® (apremilast) is a prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or light therapy. Systemic drugs are medicines that affect the whole body, not just the skin. Light therapy involves controlled exposure of your affected skin to ultraviolet light.1,2

Otezla is also approved to treat adults with active psoriatic arthritis.1

What are the ingredients in Otezla?

The active ingredient in Otezla is apremilast.1

How does Otezla work?

Otezla is a type of drug known as a PDE4 inhibitor because it blocks the action of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). PDE4 is an enzyme that plays a key role in inflammation. People with psoriasis may make too much PDE4, leading to chronic inflammation and plaques on the skin. By blocking PDE4, Otezla can help reduce the symptoms of plaque psoriasis.1

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Otezla in people treated for plaque psoriasis include:1

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

These are not all the possible side effects of Otezla. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Otezla. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Otezla.

Other things to know

Otelza is linked to an increase in depression. Before starting treatment with Otezla, tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal behavior. Tell your doctor if you have any mood changes during treatment with Otezla.1

Your doctor should monitor your weight during treatment with Otezla. Tell your doctor if you have unexplained or significant weight loss during treatment with Otezla.1

There is not enough data to know if Otezla is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. Before starting treatment with Otezla, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. They can help you decide if Otezla is right for you.1

Some medicines may make Otezla less effective and should not be taken with Otezla. Before beginning treatment for plaque psoriasis, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.1

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Otezla.

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