Apremilast is indicated for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, a condition characterized by joint pain, swelling, and cutaneous scaling. This medication is also used for the management of oral ulcers in individuals diagnosed with Behcet’s syndrome, a systemic disorder characterized by blood vessel inflammation.
As a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, apremilast exerts its therapeutic effects by inhibiting the action of specific endogenous substances that contribute to the inflammatory response within the body.
Uses and Dosage
Apremilast is administered orally in the form of tablets and should be taken as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Typically, it is taken twice daily, at approximately the same time each day. Apremilast should be taken exactly as directed, and should not be taken in higher or lower doses or more frequently than prescribed by your doctor.
The tablets should be swallowed whole, without splitting, chewing, or crushing them.
To initiate treatment, your doctor may start you on a low dose of apremilast and gradually increase the dosage over the course of the first 5 days.
Apremilast helps to manage symptoms of psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, or oral ulcers, but it does not cure these conditions. Continue taking apremilast as prescribed, even if you start feeling better. Do not discontinue apremilast without consulting your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- abdominal discomfort
- back pain
- decreased appetite
- flu-like symptoms (e.g., body aches, fever, fatigue)
- trouble sleeping
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- rapid or pounding heartbeat
- signs of depression
- symptoms of a lung infection (e.g., shortness of breath, cough, chest pain)
- weight loss
- severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- signs of bleeding in the stomach (e.g., bloody, black, or tarry stools; vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds)
Prior to initiating apremilast, inform your doctor or pharmacist of any known allergies you may have, including allergies to apremilast or any other substances. This product may contain inactive ingredients that could potentially trigger allergic reactions or other adverse effects.
Before using apremilast, disclose your medical history, particularly if you have a history of kidney disease or mental/mood disorders such as depression, to your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are pregnant, apremilast should only be used if clearly indicated and as directed by your healthcare provider. Discuss the potential risks and benefits of apremilast with your doctor during pregnancy.
It is currently unknown if apremilast passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Otezla is available in the following forms and strengths:
How quickly does Otezla start working?
Otezla can start working in the first few weeks of treatment and patients usually see therapeutic results within 12 to 16 weeks.
Does Otezla stop joint damage?
Medications like Otezla can slow or prevent inflammation that damages joints and skin.