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Precautions and Warnings With Ustekinumab

If you have a disease that affects the immune system (such as HIV, AIDS, or diabetes) or have ever had tuberculosis, let your healthcare provider know before taking ustekinumab. This drug suppresses the immune system, so it may not be suitable for everyone. To reduce your risk of problems while taking ustekinumab, discuss the warnings and precautions with your healthcare provider prior to starting treatment.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Ustekinumab?

Prior to taking ustekinumab (Stelara®), talk to your healthcare provider if you have:
 
  • A history of tuberculosis
  • Any current infection
  • Infections that come and go, such as cold sores
  • Any disease that affects the immune system, such as diabetes, cancer, HIV, or AIDS
  • A history of any type of cancer
  • Plans to receive vaccinations
  • Any allergies, including to food, dyes, or preservatives.
     
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
 
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
     
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
 

Specific Ustekinumab Warnings and Precautions

Some precautions and warnings to be aware of prior to taking ustekinumab include the following:
 
  • This medicine can increase your chance of infections, including serious infections. You should not start taking ustekinumab if you have an infection (even a skin infection). While taking it, be sure to tell your healthcare provider right away if you think you may have any infection. This drug may not be the best choice for people who get frequent infections.
     
  • Ustekinumab can cause certain infections that have become inactive in the body to become active again (such as tuberculosis). Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had tuberculosis before starting this medication. Your healthcare provider should give you a tuberculosis skin test to make sure you have never had it.
     
  • Medications like ustekinumab may increase the risk of cancer because they suppress the immune system. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have a history of cancer, or even just a family history of it.
     
  • You should not receive live vaccines while taking ustekinumab. Talk to your healthcare provider before receiving any vaccines while on this medicine.
     
  • In rare cases, ustekinumab has caused a reversible but potentially dangerous condition known as reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS). Let your healthcare provider know if you develop any symptoms of RPLS, such as:
     
 
  • Ustekinumab can potentially interact with a few other medications (see Drug Interactions With Ustekinumab).
     
  • Ustekinumab is considered a pregnancy Category B medication. This means that it is probably safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Stelara and Pregnancy).
     
  • It is unknown if ustekinumab passes through breast milk in humans. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Stelara and Breastfeeding).
     

Ustekinumab Drug Information

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