All About Otezla
If you have certain medical conditions, your doctor may recommend Otezla. This prescription drug is used to treat adults.
- plaque psoriasis, which is an inflammatory skin disease
- psoriatic arthritis, which is a type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis
- mouth sores in people with Behçet’s disease
If you’d like to know more about these conditions and how Otezla is used to treat them, see the “What is Otezla used for?” section below.
You will take Otezla by mouth.
Otezla contains the drug apremilast. It’s a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD). Apremilast is only available as the brand-name drug Otezla. It doesn’t come as a generic drug.
Otezla has possible side effects, costs, uses, and more.
Otezla may cause mild or serious side effects. Some of the more common side effects of Otezla are described in the lists below. All possible side effects are not included in these lists.
The doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the side effects of Otezla. They can suggest ways to reduce side effects.
Mild side effects
Here’s a short list of some of the mild side effects that Otezla can cause. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or read Otezla’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Otezla can be included.
Many drugs can have mild side effects that go away in a few days or weeks. If they become intolerable, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
There are serious side effects from Otezla, but they are not common. If you have serious side effects from Otezla, call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, you should call the emergency number.
Serious side effects can be serious.
- There is a lot of belly pain.
- Severe nausea or vomiting can happen.
- severe There is a throbbing head.
- Severe weight loss.
- severe There is a lot of diarrhea.*
- allergic reaction*
The side effect focus section gives more information about this side effect.
Side effect focus
You can read about some of the side effects of Otezla.
You may lose appetite while taking Otezla. You may lose some weight.
If you lose more than three pounds in 7 days, you should tell your doctor. Changes that may occur with weight loss include having.
- There are loose clothes or jewelry.
- Dry skin.
- fatigue (lack of energy)
- Increased thirst.
What can help?
Your doctor may monitor your weight while you take this drug. They might ask you to check your weight.
If you notice that you’re losing weight without trying, talk with your doctor. Tell your doctor if your weight loss is happening because of severe nausea, vomiting, or There is a lot of diarrhea..
“In some cases, your doctor may want you to stop taking Otezla. Don’t stop taking Otezla without talking to your doctor.”
To help manage weight loss, your doctor may recommend that you eat plenty of nutritious calories every day. To regain weight that you’ve lost, try to avoid eating empty calories. Instead, choose foods that are high in calories and nutrients. If you have trouble choosing nutritious foods to eat, talk with your doctor.
Some people may have changes in mood or depression while taking Otezla. This may be more common in people who’ve had depression in the past.
If you have had depression before, you should tell your doctor about it before you start taking Otezla.
Be sure to monitor your moods while you’re taking Otezla. Talk with your doctor right away if you have any changes in mood, feelings of depression, or suicidal thoughts.
What can help?
If you have had depression in the past, your doctor will consider the risks and benefits of Otezla for you. If the benefits of using Otezla outweigh the risks, your doctor will likely prescribe the drug. They will keep an eye on your mood.
It’s important to identify depression early. Doing so can help reduce the harmful effects of depression.
“If you have depression that is related to using Otezla, your doctor may prescribe counseling or medication. If you need to stop taking Otezla, your doctor may have the right to do so. Don’t stop taking Otezla without talking to your doctor.”
If you think someone is at risk of self-injury or hurting another person.
- You can call your local emergency number.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Guns, knives, medications, and other things should be removed.
- “Don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you should get help from a hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800-273-8255.
You may have There is a lot of diarrhea. while you’re taking Otezla. In fact, the most common side effect of Otezla is There is a lot of diarrhea.. With There is a lot of diarrhea., you may have more frequent, loose, or watery stools.
Some people may have severe There is a lot of diarrhea. while taking Otezla. With severe There is a lot of diarrhea., you can have:
- There is a high degree of fever.
- Your stool has blood in it.
- Less urine production.
Tell your doctor if you have There is a lot of diarrhea., or any of these other symptoms, during treatment.
You may have a higher risk of complications because of severe There is a lot of diarrhea. if you:
- Older are they.
- Take blood pressure medication.
- Take medications that reduce the amount of blood in your body.
What can help?
If you have There is a lot of diarrhea. while you’re taking Otezla, you’ll need to replace fluid and electrolytes that your body is losing. When you lose fluid and electrolytes through There is a lot of diarrhea., you can get dehydrated. (With dehydration, you have a low fluid level in your body.)
For There is a lot of diarrhea. that’s not severe, you can rehydrate by drinking diluted fruit juice or electrolyte drinks. Eating foods that are low in fiber may help. Some foods that may help improve There is a lot of diarrhea. include:
- There are bananas.
- white rice
- It is applesauce.
- soup or a liquid.
Certain over-the-counter medications may also help treat There is a lot of diarrhea.. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any medications with Otezla.
If you have severe There is a lot of diarrhea. with Otezla, call your doctor. They may lower your dosage of the drug. If needed, your doctor may even have you stop taking Otezla. Don’t stop taking the medication without first talking with your doctor.
Sometimes, for severe There is a lot of diarrhea., you may need intravenous (IV) fluids and electrolytes. (You’ll get IV fluids as an injection into your vein that’s given over a period of time.)
Some people may be allergic to Otezla.
A mild allergic reaction can include some symptoms.
- There is a rash.
- It is itchy.
- flushing (temporary warmth, discoloration, or deepening of skin color)
A more severe allergic reaction is not uncommon. A severe allergic reaction can cause swelling under your skin, which can be seen in your eyes, lips, hands, and feet. They can include swelling of your mouth, throat, and tongue, which can cause trouble breathing.
If you have an allergic reaction to Otezla, call your doctor. If you think you have a medical emergency, call the emergency number.
There are many factors that affect the cost of prescription drugs. What your insurance plan covers and which pharmacy you use are some of the factors that are included.
If you have questions about how to pay for your prescription, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also visit the Otezla manufacturer’s website to learn about a copay card that may lower the cost of the drug for you.
If you have certain conditions, your doctor may prescribe Otezla. This drug is used in adults.
- Plaque psoriasis. With plaque psoriasis, you have patches on your skin that are discolored. Sometimes, they can look scaly and white. This condition is an inflammatory skin disease that’s caused by your immune system attacking your own cells. For this use, Otezla is prescribed for people who could have used systemic therapy (which affects your whole body) or light therapy.
- Psoriatic arthritis. With psoriatic arthritis, you have arthritis, which causes achy, stiff joints. And you have psoriasis, which causes the skin issues described just above. This condition is also caused by your immune system attacking certain cells in your body.
- Mouth sores in people with Behçet’s disease. With Behçet’s disease, you can have several symptoms, such as problems with your eyes and skin, and joint pain. Mouth sores are one of the earliest symptoms of the condition. Otezla can be used to treat these mouth sores. Behçet’s disease is also caused by your immune system attacking certain cells in your body.
Otezla helps to lower the activity of your immune system.
Below, you can find answers to some questions about Otezla.
Is Otezla an immunosuppressant?
Yes, Otezla is called an immunosuppressant drug. This means it suppresses (reduces) your immune system’s activity.
Otezla works to suppress the immune system to treat certain conditions. It reduces inflammation and eases symptoms of the conditions.
If you have more questions about Otezla, you can talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Is Otezla a biologic drug?
No, Otezla isn’t a biologic drug. Biologics are drugs made from living cells. They work against a specific part of your immune system.
Otezla is a nonbiologic drug that acts on your immune system. Nonbiologic drugs are made from chemicals.
If you have more questions about Otezla, you can talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How does Otezla compare to Humira?
Otezla and Humira are both used to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. They each also have other uses.
Unlike Otezla, Humira is a biologic drug. This means Humira is made from parts of living cells. Otezla, on the other hand, is made from chemicals.
Otezla comes as tablets that you’ll take by mouth, typically twice each day. But you’ll take Humira as an injection under your skin. Usually, it’s taken once every 2 weeks, after the first week of treatment.
If you have more questions about the differences between Otezla and Humira, you should talk to your doctor.
Does stopping Otezla cause withdrawal?
“If you stop taking Otezla, you won’t have withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms you were taking Otezla to treat may return.”
Talk to your doctor before you stop. If you stop taking this medication, they can tell you what to expect.
Depending on the condition you are treating, your doctor may recommend a different drug.
Alternatives for plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or mouth ulcers caused by Behçet’s disease may include biologics and nonbiologics. Biologics are drugs made from parts of living cells. Nonbiologics are drugs made from chemicals.
Some drugs are used off-label. Drug that is approved for certain conditions is used for another condition.
Alternatives for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis
Alternative drugs for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis include the following:
- other nonbiologic drugs such as:
- tofacitinib (Xeljanz)
- biologic drugs such as:
Alternatives for mouth sores form Behçet’s disease
“There are alternative treatments for mouth ulcers related to Behet’s disease.”
- other nonbiologic drugs such as:
- azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran)
- cyclosporine (Neoral)
- The cyclophosphamide is a drug.
- corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone, betamethasone, dexamethasone, and prednisone
- biologic drugs such as:
- Etnercept is a drug.
- Infliximab is used foremicade.
- Adalimumab is a drug.
- “It’s magic”
If you want to know more about other treatments, you should talk to your doctor. They can help you find the best treatment for you.
Before taking Otezla, you should have a discussion with your doctor.
If you are taking any other medications, please let your doctor know. Some medications can affect how Otezla works.
You may need to discuss whether you are.
- Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Have any other conditions?
Taking a drug can affect how it works. These effects are called interactions.
Before taking Otezla, you should tell your doctor about all your medications. You should also describe any vitamins, herbs, or supplements you use. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you about any interactions that may occur.
Interactions with drugs or supplements
Otezla can interact with drugs that affect a certain enzyme (type of protein) in your body. This certain enzyme helps your body to clear many different medications, including Otezla. Drugs that boost the activity of this enzyme may decrease levels of Otezla in your body. This can make Otezla less effective.
Drugs that may make Otezla less effective are listed.
- the antibiotic rifampin (Rifadin)
- the seizure drugs:
- carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- phenytoin (Dilantin)
Some drugs that may interact with Otezla are not on this list. Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you more about the interactions that may occur with Otezla.
In addition to the drugs mentioned above, some natural health products and foods may also make Otezla less effective. These substances include the herb St. John’s wort
Before taking any supplements with Otezla, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist. If you have concerns about consuming certain foods or drinks, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
If you have a medical condition that affects your health, Otezla may not be right for you. Before you take Otezla, talk to your doctor about your health history. Those listed below are factors to consider.
- Depression. If you’ve had depression or suicidal thoughts in the past, taking Otezla may worsen these symptoms. Ask your doctor if Otezla is safe for you to take.
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Otezla or any of its ingredients, you shouldn’t take Otezla. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
- Severe kidney failure. If you have severe kidney failure, your doctor may need to lower your dosage of Otezla. Tell your doctor about any problems with your kidneys before you start taking Otezla.
Otezla and alcohol
“Alcohol doesn’t interact with Otezla. If you drink alcohol while taking Otezla, you should check with your doctor to make sure it is safe.”
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
It’s not known if Otezla is safe for use in people who Are you pregnant or breastfeeding?.
Before taking Otezla, you should check with your doctor. Your doctor can help you understand the risks and benefits of treatment.
If you’re pregnant or become pregnant while taking Otezla, a pregnancy registry is available through Otezla’s manufacturer. This registry collects health information about how the drug affects pregnancy. If you’re interested in enrolling in this registry, you can talk with your doctor, visit this website, or call 877-311-8972.
Your doctor will explain how you should take Otezla. They will also explain how much to take and how often. Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Below are commonly used dosages, but always take the dosage your doctor prescribes.
You will take Otezla by mouth.
Otezla is usually taken twice a day. You will most likely take the drug once in the morning and once in the evening.
When you first start taking the drug, your doctor may recommend that you take low doses. On day 1, your doctor may prescribe you a lower strength pill.
Your doctor may increase your dose every day until you reach the recommended dose. After day 1, your dose will increase to one pill twice a day. The strength of your doses may increase.
Taking Otezla with other drugs
Doctors sometimes prescribe Otezla with other drugs. If you have, you can use it.
- plaque psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe Otezla with infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), or ustekinumab (Stelara)
- psoriatic arthritis, your doctor may prescribe Otezla with methotrexate or cyclosporine
- Behçet’s disease, your doctor may prescribe Otezla with prednisone or “It’s magic”
Questions about taking Otezla
Here you will find answers to common questions.
- What if I miss a dose of Otezla? If you miss a dose of Otezla, take the missed dose right away. If you don’t remember to take the missed dose until it’s time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Take your next dose as usual. But don’t take two doses at once to catch up for a missed dose.
- Will I need to use Otezla long term? Otezla is used to treat certain long-lasting conditions. If the drug is working well for you, your doctor may recommend that you take Otezla long term.
- Can Otezla be chewed, crushed, or split? No, you shouldn’t chew, crush, or split Otezla tablets. If you have trouble swallowing Otezla pills, let your doctor or pharmacist know.
- Should I take Otezla with food? You can take Otezla with or without food.
- How long does Otezla take to work? How long it takes for Otezla to work is different for each condition it’s used to treat. In studies, some people with plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis had improvements after just 16 weeks. Some people with Behçet’s disease had improvements after 12 weeks. Talk with your doctor to learn how soon Otezla may work for your condition.
“Don’t take more Otezla than your doctor prescribes. Side effects can be serious if you use more than this.”
What to do in case you take too much Otezla
Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much Otezla. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers, or use their online resource. However, if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number), or go to the nearest emergency room.
Before taking Otezla, you should talk to your doctor about the treatment option. Your doctor can help you make a decision.
You can also talk with your doctor about other treatment options for plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Ask them about plaque psoriasis remedies and natural options for psoriatic arthritis to help lessen your symptoms. You can also ask about ways to help manage and prevent mouth sores with Behçet’s disease.
Some questions about Otezla may be asked by your doctor.
- Do I have a high risk of side effects?
- How long will it take me to get Otezla?
- How long does Otezla take to start working?
- If my symptoms improve, can I stop taking Otezla?
- Will Otezla interact with my drugs?
To get information on different conditions and tips for improving your health, subscribe to any of Healthline’s newsletters. Or to connect with others who have your condition, join a Bezzy community.
Can turmeric help relieve my psoriatic arthritis?
Turmeric is commonly used in cooking, but it’s also available as a nutritional supplement. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. This ingredient has been shown to help reduce inflammation.
Studies have shown that turmeric may be able to help relieve symptoms of pain in some conditions. These symptoms may include joint pain that’s associated with inflammation from certain kinds of arthritis. But, the studies were small, and their results weren’t always consistent. So, more studies are needed to fully understand how turmeric works to relieve joint pain.
“Before using any natural or alternative therapies, talk to your doctor. If you are taking any medications, this is important. If a natural remedy helps you, don’t stop taking your prescribed medication without your doctor’s recommendation.”
The Healthline Pharmacist TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.