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What does it do?

Ustekinumab is an immunosuppressant medicine used to treat inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, some types of arthritis, and psoriasis. It reduces inflammation by blocking certain proteins in your body.

Before you start

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Ustekinumab weakens your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight infections. You may need tests before you start to make sure you don't have any infections like tuberculosis (TB), HIV, or hepatitis B and C.
  • Ask your doctor what vaccines you might need before you start and while you are taking ustekinumab. You should not have a live vaccine while taking ustekinumab.

How should you use it?

Inject ustekinumab under the skin regularly as directed, usually in the stomach or thigh. You, or the person giving the injections, will be given training on how to use them.
If you have inflammatory bowel disease your first dose will be given as an intravenous infusion by a health professional.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and inject your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, inject the missed dose as soon as possible. Do not inject two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Irritation or pain at injection site


Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • It is important to tell anyone who gives you medical or dental treatment that you are taking ustekinumab.
  • Protect yourself from too much sunlight while taking immunosuppressant medicines (they may increase your risk of skin cancer). Always cover up and apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen (at least SPF30) when outside. Do not use sunbeds.
  • Women using ustekinumab for a long time may need cervical screening more often. Discuss with your doctor.
  • Ustekinumab should normally be kept in the fridge, but can be stored at room temperature for up to 30 days if needed, such as if you are travelling. Keep it in the box to protect from light.
  • Dispose of used syringes and needles safely. Discuss how to do this with your health professional.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the MyMedicines Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha, New Zealand. July 2024

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed