Stopping ixekizumab

  • If you stop or delay your ixekizumab treatment, your condition may get worse. Keep on your treatment, unless told by your rheumatologist to stop or unless side effects occur (see Side effects).

  • If you stop ixekizumab for any reason, you must contact your rheumatologist. Failure to do so may mean that your treatment may no longer be funded.

How will you be checked while on ixekizumab?

Medicines like ixekizumab are very expensive and funded by Medicare. Certain conditions must be met to receive it.

  • Ixekizumab will only be given if your disease is active and if standard treatments have not worked
  • It will only be kept going if it helps your condition. This must be checked between 12 and 16 weeks after the start of treatment.
  • Blood tests are needed during your treatment to watch for side effects and decide if the treatment is working.
  • How often you have blood tests will depend on what other medicines you are taking and what other illnesses you might have.  Your rheumatologist will advise on this.

Are there any side effects?

You might experience side effects with your treatment. Tell your doctor if you notice side effects that you think are caused by this medicine. Many side effects disappear when ixekizumab treatment is stopped.

Most common possible side effects

You may experience more frequent mild upper respiratory tract infections (common cold, sinus infections), nausea, diarrhoea, cough, and fever. Infections may need treatment and ixekizumab may need to be stopped for a while if you develop infection, so it is important to contact your doctor for advice.

Less common or rare possible side effects

Other less common side effects include oral thrush, signs of low white cells (such as fever, sore throat or mouth ulcers due to infections), athlete’s foot, ear infections, conjunctivitis or discharge from the eye with itching, redness and swelling.

There are some rare but potentially serious side effects with ixekizumab:

  • Serious allergic reaction: Signs of a serious allergic reaction may include a skin rash, swollen face, lips, mouth or throat, or wheezing, dizziness, trouble swallowing or breathing. Tell your doctor or go to the hospital immediately if you have an allergic reaction as you need urgent medical attention.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease: New cases of inflammatory bowel disease or “flare ups” after periods of remission can occur while being treated with ixekizumab. If you have inflammatory bowel disease, tell your doctor if you have worsening symptoms during treatment with ixekizumab, or if you develop new symptoms of stomach pain or diarrhoea.

Other side effects not listed in this leaflet may also occur. Tell your doctor if you notice any other side effects that you think might be caused by ixekizumab.

What precautions are necessary?


If you have an active infection of any kind, treatment with ixekizumab will not be started until the infection is treated successfully.

Serious infections such as tuberculosis (TB) are seen rarely, and screening for TB may be needed before treatment begins.

Use with other medicines

Ixekizumab can interact with other medicines. You should tell all your doctors about all medicines you are taking or plan to take. This includes over the counter or herbal/naturopathic medicines.

Use with phototherapy

Ixekizumab should not be used while receiving light therapy (PUVA) for psoriasis.


  • While being treated with ixekizumab you should not be immunised with ‘live’ vaccines such as:
    MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Varicella vaccines (Chicken pox/Shingles), OPV (oral polio virus), BCG (Bacillus Calmette Guerin), Japanese Encephalitis or Yellow Fever. Talk with your rheumatologist before receiving any vaccines.
  • Pneumococcal vaccines and the yearly seasonal flu vaccinations are encouraged.
  • For more information on vaccination including the COVID-19 vaccination go to: https://rheumatology.org.au/For-Patients/Medication-Information/Vaccinations/Vaccinations-in-Rheumatology


If you require surgery for any reason, you should discuss this with your rheumatologist as some people need to stop taking ixekizumab before surgery


You may drink alcohol while taking ixekizumab. However, if you are also taking methotrexate, you should be cautious about how much alcohol you drink.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility

  • The effects of ixekizumab during pregnancy have not been well studied, so it is not clear if it causes birth defects. Treatment of pregnant women with ixekizumab may affect the immunity of their baby.
  • Women of childbearing potential should use effective methods of contraception during treatment and for at least 10 weeks after treatment.
  • If you are pregnant or are considering having a child you should discuss this with your doctor before beginning this medication.
  • There is no information on the effect of ixekizumab on fertility.
  • If you have been treated with ixekizumab during your pregnancy, you should check with your doctor before vaccinations are given to your baby. Some vaccines cannot be given to the newborn baby if you were treated with ixekizumab while you were pregnant.
  • It is not known whether ixekizumab is excreted in the breastmilk of lactating women. Women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctor about whether or not to use ixekizumab.
  • More detailed information is available at https://rheumatology.org.au/For-Healthcare-Professionals/Clinical-Resources/Pregnancy-Prescribing-Info

For more information see the Ixekizumab – printable information sheet.

This Information Sheet has been prepared using materials obtained from various sources which have been reviewed by the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA). It contains general information only and does not contain a complete or definitive statement of all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects or interactions of the medicines referenced. This information is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions nor for making an individual assessment of the risks and benefits of taking a particular medicine. Decisions regarding the assessment and treatment of patients are the sole responsibility of the treating medical professional, exercising their own clinical judgment and taking into account all of the circumstances and the medical history of the individual patient. ARA has used all reasonable endeavours to ensure the information on which this Information Sheet is based is accurate and up to date. However, the ARA accepts no responsibility or liability for the accuracy, currency, reliability and/or completeness of the information contained in this Information Sheet.  To the maximum extent permitted by law, the ARA expressly disclaims any liability for any injury, loss, harm or damage arising from or in connection with use of and reliance on the information contained in this Information Sheet. This information sheet is copyright and may be reproduced in its entirety but may not be altered without prior written permission from the ARA.Page updated October 2023