What is SKYRIZI (risankizumab-rzaa)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last updated: July 2022

Skyrizi is an engineered biologic medication aimed at adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy.1

Systemic therapy involves taking pills or injections that affect your whole body. Phototherapy involves controlled exposure of your affected skin to ultraviolet light.2

The research behind Skyrizi

Patients taking Skyrizi in clinical studies had clearer skin than people taking a placebo medication. After 16 weeks, 75% of the people studied had psoriasis-free skin on 90% of their body, compared to only about 2-5% of people taking the placebo.

This response lasted at least a full year for the vast majority of people taking the drug.3

What are the ingredients and how does it work?

The active ingredient in Skyrizi is risankizumab-rzaa.

Skyrizi is a specially engineered molecule called a monoclonal antibody. It is referred to as an IL-23 inhibitor since it blocks the action of interleukin-23 (IL-23), an important substance in regulating the immune system.4

Our bodies naturally produce antibodies, which are immune factors that act against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign organisms that invade and pose a threat to our health. Drugmakers have engineered a variety of antibodies to target the mechanisms that cause certain diseases, including plaque psoriasis.

IL-23 is a naturally occurring immune system signaling factor (called a cytokine) that plays a key role in inflammation and other immune responses.4 Blocking IL-23 helps tamp down the overactive immune response that researchers think is behind the symptoms of plaque psoriasis and other auto-immune conditions.

A breakdown of common side effects

In some patients, Skyrizi can cause more harmful side effects. Patients who take Skyrizi are at increased risk for serious infections, including tuberculosis, invasive fungal infections, viral infections, bacterial infections, and other opportunistic infections (infection caused by a microorganism that does not normally cause infection in humans, typically due to an abnormally functioning immune system).4

Common side effects of Skyrizi include:4

  • Colds, sinusitis, and upper respiratory infections
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site reactions, like swelling, bruising and soreness
  • Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and jock itch

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Skyrizi. For more information, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you notice any new or worsening side effects, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Important things to note

Skyrizi can lower your body’s ability to fight infections, since it affects your immune response. It is important to tell your doctor or healthcare provider if you have been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) or if you experience signs of infection when taking the medication. Before prescribing this medicine, your doctor will test you for TB and other infections. You should avoid getting a live vaccine while you are taking Skyrizi.

This medicine has not been studied to assess whether it is safe for pregnant or nursing women. Researchers do know, however, that this class of medicine can cross the placenta and theoretically affect a fetus.

Dosing information

Skyrizi comes in prefilled syringes with 75mg or 150mg of medications and prefilled pens with 150mg of medication. It is given by an injection placed under the skin. The recommended dose is 150 mg per treatment. The drug is given at weeks 0 and 4 and then every 12 weeks after, for maintenance therapy.4

You will get an initial dose in a doctor’s office. Once you are trained in giving injections, you may be able to administer them yourself at home.5

Before injecting Skyrizi, remove the syringe from the refrigerator and place it on a flat surface without removing the cap. Allow it to come to room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before you inject it.

You can inject Skyrizi anywhere on the front of your thighs or stomach except within 2 inches of your navel. Use a different site for each injection, to reduce soreness at the injection site.4

If you have any questions about how to prepare and administer Skyrizi, call your doctor.4

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