Living with chronic conditions such as psoriasis and certain forms of arthritis can be challenging. Fortunately, advancements in medical treatments bring new hope every day. One such advancement is Taltz (ixekizumab), an injectable biological medication that makes a difference for many patients.
So, let’s delve into what Taltz is, how it works, and how to handle and store it if you’ve been prescribed it.
What is Taltz?
Taltz is the brand name for ixekizumab, a prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and active non-radiographic axial spondylarthritis.
It's an injectable medication that can only be delivered with a medical prescription and should be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Like all medications, Taltz can cause side effects, including injection site reactions, upper respiratory infections, nausea, fungal infections, and others.
How does it work?
Ixekizumab, the active ingredient in Taltz, belongs to a class of drugs called interleukin inhibitors, like Kevzara (sarilumab), Actemra (tocilizumab), Cosentyx (secukinumab), Skyrizi (risankizumab), or Stelara (ustekinumab).
It works directly on the immune system, the body's defense mechanism against harmful substances. Unfortunately, in some people with chronic autoimmune diseases like psoriasis or arthritis, the immune system becomes overactive. As a result, it starts attacking the body's own healthy cells, causing inflammation and symptoms such as red, scaly patches on the skin in the case of psoriasis.
Taltz targets a specific protein in the body, called interleukin 17A, responsible for this inflammation. By blocking this protein’s action, Taltz helps reduce inflammation and ease the symptoms of psoriasis and other diseases.
How to Inject Taltz?
Taltz is administered via subcutaneous injection (under the skin, usually in the abdomen or thighs). The typical dosing schedule is once injection every two weeks for the first 12 weeks and then once every four weeks. Patients are responsible for self-administering Taltz in the comfort of their homes.
It's essential to take Taltz precisely as your doctor instructs and reach out to them if you have any questions or concerns. The following information is meant to be general and may not apply to everyone.
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Taltz autoinjectors vs. syringes
Taltz is available both in autoinjector pens and prefilled syringes. These injection devices are single-dose and disposable. Each comes with specific instructions for use you can find in the box.
Prefilled syringes are standard syringes that are filled with the correct dose of medication. Autoinjector pens are designed to make self-injection a bit easier. They are also prefilled with the exact dose of ixekizumab, but unlike the syringes, they have a spring-loaded mechanism that inserts the needle and delivers the medication automatically when you press a button. As a result, they are more convenient, especially for people who are nervous about handling needles or have dexterity issues.
The choice between Taltz autoinjectors and syringes mainly comes down to personal preferences. Your healthcare provider will help you decide which option is best for you.
Where to inject?
Ixekizumab must be injected subcutaneously, that is, into the fatty layer of tissue just under the skin. Therefore, common sites for injecting Taltz are the front of the thighs, the lower part of the belly (at least 2 inches away from the belly button, or the upper outer arms.
Always clean the injection site before injecting. Avoid injecting into areas where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard.
If you're uncomfortable or unsure about how to inject Taltz, don't hesitate to ask for help from your healthcare provider.
How long does Taltz take to work?
The time it takes for Taltz (ixekizumab) to work varies depending on the individual, and everyone may react differently to any medication. In clinical trials, some people started seeing improvements in their psoriasis symptoms as early as two weeks after taking Taltz.
Generally, you might expect significant improvement within 12 weeks of starting Taltz. But continue taking the medication as directed by your healthcare provider, even if you don't see immediate results. Some people may take longer to respond to Taltz than others.
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How to Store Taltz?
Like most injections for psoriasis and arthritis, Taltz is a biologic made from parts of living organisms. Because of their nature and complex structure, biological drugs need to be refrigerated. Refrigeration helps keep them stable and effective until their expiration date and prevents bacterial growth. Taltz is no exception.
Refrigeration and storage instructions
According to Eli Lilly and Company, Taltz’s manufacturer, the prefilled pens and syringes must be stored in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until ready for use.
Additionally, Taltz must be kept in its original carton so it's protected from light. When putting Taltz in your refrigerator, make sure it’s not too close to the freezer compartment, as freezing temperatures can destroy the medicine too. Never use a Taltz pen or syringe that has frozen, even if it has thawed afterward.
How long can Taltz stay out of the fridge?
Fortunately, there's some flexibility in Taltz' storage instructions. When refrigeration is impossible, like when traveling, Taltz can be kept at room temperature not exceeding 86°F (30°C) for up to 5 days.
However, the medicine cannot be returned to the fridge once it has reached room temperature.
As a result, make sure to always keep track of te date you first took your Taltz pen or syringe out of the fridge. If it’s not used within 5 days, throw it away, even if there’s still medicine inside.
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Traveling with Taltz Injections
Traveling with Taltz (ixekizumab) or any other refrigerated medication can present some challenges.
The primary issue is maintaining the appropriate temperature to keep the medication effective, especially during long-distance travels, hot climates, and outdoor activities where access to electricity is limited. Most people choose to use a medical-grade travel cooler.
Related article: 10 Great Tips for Traveling With Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Taltz travel coolers
4AllFamily specializes in designing performant, reliable travel coolers for people whose life or comfort depends on refrigerated drugs, like Taltz.
Our cooling cases and medical-grade travel fridges can keep Taltz pens cold from a few hours to multiples days of travel! Choose yours today and never risk losing your meds because of poor storage conditions again!
For any inquiry about our products or help to choose the best one for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact our support team! We’re here to help!