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As is the case with any other medication, there may be some instances where Stelara (ustekinumab) use is not recommended or usage will have to be adjusted in order to prevent or reduce the risk of interactions occurring from other drugs, medical conditions, or even food and drink.

Drug Interactions

According to the FDA, drugs that may interact with Stelara include the following.

  • Live vaccines
  • Concomitant therapies (two or more medications given at the same time)
  • CYP450 substrates 
  • Allergen immunotherapy

Please note that this list may not be complete, and other interactions with drugs not listed here may occur.

Ustekinumab and Infliximab

Ustekinumab can potentially interact with infliximab (Remicade). Both drugs are approved for the treatment of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, and psoriatic arthritis. Infliximab is also available for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (Bechterew’s disease), and Behçet’s disease (silk road disease). 

Food Interactions

Sometimes the foods we eat and the beverages we drink can also interact with our medications. Fortunately, there are no known food interactions with Stelara. Those taking it should talk to their doctors before drinking alcohol to make sure it is safe. 

(Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other foods and beverages that interact with this drug.)

Stelara and Alcohol

For more information, please visit our page on Stelara and alcohol interactions.

Disease & Conditions Interactions

Sometimes certain medications can increase the risk of negative side effects for patients with certain diseases or other medical conditions.

According to the FDA, diseases, and medical conditions that are known to negatively interact with Stelara include:

  • Those with a clinically significant active infection
  • Those with active TB (tuberculosis); TB evaluations are recommended prior to prescribing this medication
  • A history of malignancy (cancerous tumors)
  • A history of hypersensitivity to ustekinumab or any its components

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other diseases and medical conditions where patients should not take Stelara.

Stelara and COVID Risk

Guidance from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) recommends patients taking Sterlara for irritable bowel syndrome stop the medication if they develop a COVID 19 infection. In addition, taking Stelara may lower a person’s ability to fight infections, possibly increasing their risk for a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Anyone on this drug should check with their doctor before stopping, though. 

Stelara and Pregnancy

For more information, please visit our page on Stelara and pregnancy risks.

Stelara and Coronavirus

Stelara is an immune-suppression medication, meaning it may increase a person’s risk of acquiring a COVID 19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It may also increase the risk of complications for those who become infected. There are many factors involved, though, such as dosage, other medications, and overall general health. 

Those taking ustekinumab should alert medical personnel to this fact if they are being treated for COVID 19. They should also take precautions to avoid contracting the disease, such as staying at home. Anyone on this medication who develops symptoms of COVID, such as a high fever or continuous cough, should consult their physician as soon as possible. 

Stelara and Mood Swings

There is no indication that taking this drug can cause mood swings. 

Stelara and Weight Gain

There is no indication that taking ustekinumab leads to weight gain or loss.

Stelara and Hair Loss

There is no apparent connection between Stelara’s use and hair loss. 

Stelara and Breastfeeding

It’s not clear whether or not Stelara is safe for a nursing mother and child. There is some evidence that it passes into the breastmilk in animal studies, though. For more information, please visit our page on Stelara and pregnancy risks.

Stelara and Ulcerative Colitis

Ustekinumab is one possible treatment for ulcerative colitis. Although, it is only an option if other interventions fail to provide relief of the symptoms. 

Ustekinumab and Lupus

Stelara manufacturer Jenssen discontinued a phase three study of ustekinumab for the treatment of systemic lupus. The phase two study showed promise; however, Jenssen has not yet released its finding or indicated why they decided to end their study. 

Ustekinumab and Psoriatic Arthritis

Ustekinumab, under the brand name Stelara, is a common treatment for psoriatic arthritis. It works to block proteins that trigger inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs in individuals with psoriasis. Therefore, this medication can sometimes alleviate symptoms of this condition.

Ustekinumab and Cancer Risk

Taking ustekinumab can reduce immune system activity. Therefore, it increases the risk of certain cancers, especially of the skin. Some participants in ustekinumab clinical trials did develop malignancies. There have furthermore been reports of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (a type of cancer) in patients taking ustekinumab. These individuals had pre-existing risk factors for non-melanoma skin cancer, though.

People who are concerned about cancer risk while taking this medication should talk to their doctors.

Ustekinumab and Anti-ustekinumab Antibody

Clinicians use anti-ustekinumab antibodies to measure the effectiveness of the medication and to optimize its efficacy. The level of anti-ustekinumab provides information on the concentration of the drug in the body.  

Ustekinumab and Crohn’s Disease

Ustekinumab, under the brand name Stelara, is a prescription treatment for the inflammatory bowel condition Crohn’s disease. Ustekinumab works by inhibiting certain proteins that can trigger inflammation, the primary cause of the disease’s uncomfortable symptoms. Doctors only recommend this medication other treatments fail to control the symptoms of the disease. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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