The main use of Stelara is the treatment of plaque psoriasis, a chronic skin condition. The medicine is approved only for adults who are capable of receiving phototherapy (light treatments) or systemic therapy (medication that affects the whole immune system). In theory, Stelara might be helpful for treating other types of psoriasis, but it is not approved for this use.
Stelara™ (ustekinumab) is a prescription medication licensed to treat moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are candidates for phototherapy or systemic therapy (medications that are taken by mouth or by injection).
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is thought to be caused by an overactive immune system (see Psoriasis Causes for more information). There are several different types of psoriasis, but Stelara is only approved to treat plaque psoriasis. The symptoms of psoriasis may vary, depending on the type. Plaque psoriasis is characterized by thickened, swollen, and red skin, often covered with silver scales.
Psoriasis treatment may include:
- Medicines applied to the skin (topical treatment)
- Light treatments (phototherapy)
- Psoriasis medication, whether by mouth or injection, that treats the whole immune system (called systemic therapy).
Stelara is a type of systemic therapy.
Stelara belongs to a group of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies bind to IL-12 and IL-23, two naturally occurring inflammatory proteins (technically known as cytokines). By binding to IL-12 and IL-23, Stelara prevents these two cytokines from binding to other cells in the body. This action slows down the production of skin cells and decreases inflammation.