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Monoclonal antibody
TypeWhole antibody
TargetIL-12 and IL-23
Clinical data
Trade namesStelara
Other namesCNTO 1275
License data
  • US: B (No risk in non-human studies)
Routes of
subcutaneous injection, Infusion
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Elimination 15-32 days (average 3 weeks)[1]
CAS Number
  • none
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass g·mol-1
 ?N?Y (what is this?)  (verify)

Ustekinumab,[2] sold under the brand name Stelara, is a human monoclonal antibody used to treat psoriasis.[3] It is also approved to treat Crohn's disease in the United States, Israel and Australia, and ulcerative colitis in the U.S., and in the European Union (EU) among people who have not responded to more traditional treatments.[4][5][6] It was found not effective for multiple sclerosis.[7]

It is manufactured in the Netherlands. It is a subcutaneous human interleukin 12 and interleukin 23 antagonist. These are naturally occurring proteins that regulate the immune system and immune-mediated inflammatory disorders.[8]

Medical uses

Ustekinumab is used to treat psoriasis. This includes psoriatic arthritis when it affects the skin.[3] It is indicated for the treatment of adult patients (18 years and older) with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis (Ps) who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy, and adult patients with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA) alone or in combination with methotrexate.[9] It was also approved to treat Crohn's disease in September 2016.

Adverse effects

According to information provided by Centocor, maker of one medication based on ustekinumab, their version of the drug is associated with several types of serious adverse effects. These include an increased risk of infection, such as by tuberculosis and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. As with some other immunosuppressant drugs like ciclosporin, the brain swelling of posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome is a risk. The pharmaceutical company also reports serious allergic reaction as a possible side effect. More common side effects are upper respiratory infection, headache, and tiredness.[10]

Clinical trials have shown that subcutaneous ustekinumab was generally well tolerated. Most treatment-emergent adverse events were of mild severity.[11]


It is unknown if the medication is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Mechanism of action

Ustekinumab (CNTO 1275) is designed to interfere with the triggering of the body's inflammatory response through the suppression of certain cytokines. Specifically, it blocks interleukin IL-12 and IL-23 which help activate certain T-cells. It binds to the p-40 subunit of both IL-12 and IL-23 so that they subsequently cannot bind to their receptors.[12]


As of January 2007, there were 5 NIH-listed research studies involving CNTO 1275 on a multinational basis, including 3 Phase II and 2 Phase III trials. Three studies were focused on patients with psoriasis, one on psoriatic arthritis, and one on multiple sclerosis.

On December 4, 2007, a Biologic License Application (BLA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was filed by Centocor and Janssen-Cilag International (collaborator) has submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

On November 21, 2008, the European Medicines Agency's (EMEA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) adopted a positive opinion for ustekinumab for the treatment of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients who failed to respond to other systemic therapies.[13]


Since 2009, Ustekinumab is approved in Canada, Europe and the United States to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.[14] On September 24, 2013, the FDA approved the use of ustekinumab for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis.

On December 12, 2008 the Canadian Health Authority approved the use of ustekinumab for the treatment of chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adult patients who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy.[15]

The FDA approved the drug on September 25, 2009 for the treatment of adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.[16]

The FDA approved the drug in September 2016 for the treatment of Crohn's disease.

From September 2017, ustekinumab (Stelara) is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for the treatment of severe Crohn's disease in adults.[17]

In 2019, the European Commission approved the use of Stelara for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.[18]

In October 2019, the FDA approved the use of Stelara for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis.[19]


  1. ^ a b Summary of production characteristics Stelara,
  2. ^ Cingoz, Oya (2009). "Ustekinumab". mAbs. 1 (3): 216-221. doi:10.4161/mabs.1.3.8593. PMC 2726595. PMID 20069753.
  3. ^ a b "Ustekinumab". The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Retrieved 2017.
  4. ^ "Prescribing information ustekinumab" (PDF). FDA. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "EC approves expanded use of Stelara for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis". Retrieved 2019.
  6. ^ "Ustekinumab (Stelara) PBS listed for severe Crohn's disease". Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Segal BM, Constantinescu CS, Raychaudhuri A, Kim L, Fidelus-Gort R, Kasper LH (September 2008). "Repeated subcutaneous injections of IL12/23 p40 neutralising antibody, ustekinumab, in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, dose-ranging study". Lancet Neurol. 7 (9): 796-804. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70173-X. PMID 18703004.
  8. ^ Reddy M, Davis C, Wong J, Marsters P, Pendley C, Prabhakar U (May 2007). "Modulation of CLA, IL-12R, CD40L, and IL-2Ralpha expression and inhibition of IL-12- and IL-23-induced cytokine secretion by CNTO 1275". Cell. Immunol. 247 (1): 1-11. doi:10.1016/j.cellimm.2007.06.006. PMID 17761156.
  9. ^ Inflamm Allegy Drug Targets. 2012 Apr;11(2):159-68
  10. ^ "Important Safety Information". STELARA® (ustekinumab). Janssen Biotech.
  11. ^ Weber J, Keam SJ (2009). "Ustekinumab". BioDrugs. 23 (1): 53-61. doi:10.2165/00063030-200923010-00006. PMID 19344192.
  12. ^ Koutruba, N; Emer, J; Lebwohl, M (15 April 2010). "Review of ustekinumab, an interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 inhibitor used for the treatment of plaque psoriasis". Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 6: 123-41. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s5599. PMC 2857612. PMID 20421912.
  13. ^ Centocor 12/19/08 Press Release,
  14. ^ Medarex to Receive Milestone Payment for Approval of STELARA(TM) (Ustekinumab) for the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Plaque Psoriasis
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 2019.
  16. ^ Stelara approved for moderate to severe psoriasis. Sept 2009
  17. ^ [ 12 Sept 2017
  18. ^ "EC approves expanded use of Stelara for moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis". Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ "Janssen's Stelara Gets FDA Approval for Ulcerative Colitis". FDA News. WCG. Retrieved 2019.

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