11. Myth or Fact? TNF Blocker Side Effects Are Very Dangerous
Not always. But you should educate yourself.
As with most medicines, TNF blockers have some serious side effects. However, most of the very serious side effects are also very rare. An increased frequency of infections, including tuberculosis (TB) or fungal infections, may occur. However, prior to beginning treatment with TNF blockers, a TB test is given to rule out an active infection.
Also, a very rare side effect is the increased frequency of certain cancers, for example:
- leukemia (blood cancer)
- lymphoma (lymphatic system cancer)
- non-melanoma skin cancers (like basal cell and squamous cell).
Infliximab has also been linked with a severe allergic reaction (facial swelling, difficult breathing, low blood pressure).
Cosentyx: Expanding Treatment Options for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Cosentyx is the brand name for the drug secukinumab and is administered by subcutaneous injection, usually every four weeks.
Secukinumab inhibits interleukin-17A (IL-17A), effectively blocking the release of chemicals by the immune system responsible for inflammation.
Fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue and a stuffy or runny nose are common side effects. Cosentyx also increases your risk of infection and patients treated with Cosentyx should not receive live vaccines.
Studies have shown that 61% of patients had an improvement of at least 20% in their ankylosing spondylitis symptoms after 16 weeks of Cosentyx treatment, with 36% experiencing over 40% improvement. Many of these patients had failed to respond to or were intolerant of biologics.
Cosentyx is also FDA-approved to treat psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis.