Concerns About Being Allergic To Skyrizi

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses concerns about a potential allergy to Skyrizi.

Question

My husband has been prescribed Skyrizi. One caution states not to take it if allergic. How can he determine if he's allergic? Also, what non-human species are used in the formulation of the medicine? Thank you!

Asked by Susan On Aug 10, 2023

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Aug 11, 2023
Last updated Jun 08, 2024

Key points

  • Allergies to Skyrizi are uncommon, but it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction so medical attention can be sought as needed.
  • The active ingredient in Skyrizi (risankizumab-rzaa) is produced using recombinant DNA technology in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

Quick Answer

Although the listed ingredients in Skyrizi aren't known to be common allergens, it's essential to remain vigilant in regard to symptoms that could signal an allergic reaction.

If you experience symptoms like fainting, swelling, or trouble breathing, seek emergency medical help immediately.

Detailed Answer

I understand your concern, and it's great that you're being proactive about your husband's health.

Allergic reactions can indeed be tricky to predict, and it's always better to err on the side of caution, especially when starting a new medication like Skyrizi.

Firstly, your husband should definitely pay close attention to any signs of an allergic reaction. The prescribing information for Skyrizi mentions some key symptoms to watch out for, such as:

  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Experiencing low blood pressure
  • Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat
  • Having trouble breathing or a feeling of throat tightness

If he notices any of the above symptoms, it's crucial to seek immediate medical help.

Now, regarding the ingredients in Skyrizi, it's good to know what's in the medication. The main active ingredient is risankizumab-rzaa, which is a monoclonal antibody designed to target interleukin-23 (IL-23), an immune system protein. This component is produced using recombinant DNA technology in Chinese hamster ovary cells.

The other components of Skyrizi, listed as inactive ingredients, include:

  • Glacial acetic acid
  • Polysorbate 20
  • Sodium acetate
  • Trehalose
  • Water for Injection

When speaking specifically about Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to them. These cells are very commonly used in biotechnology for producing therapeutic proteins, including in the manufacture of certain biologic drugs such as monoclonal antibodies. In fact, studies suggest that around 80% of monoclonal antibody drugs are produced using CHO cells.

However, it's essential to note that an allergy to CHO cells would be quite rare and specific to individuals who may have a hypersensitivity to proteins or other components derived from these cells. Again, it would be exceptionally difficult to predict who may have an allergy to these types of cells.

Additionally, it's important to note that the inactive ingredients in Skyrizi aren't common allergens either.

Nevertheless, it's still essential to be vigilant and aware of what an allergic reaction may look like. Allergic reactions can sometimes surprise us, and everyone's body reacts differently.

It's always possible to develop an allergy to something seemingly innocuous. If there's a history of severe allergies in your husband's medical background or if he's particularly sensitive, it's even more crucial to keep a close eye on how his body responds to the medication. Remember, if you have any concerns or if you notice anything unusual, don't hesitate to contact your doctor.

Final Words

I hope you found this helpful! Be sure to reach back out again if anything else comes up!

References

  • Skyrizi Prescribing Information, RxAbbive
  • Chinese hamster ovary cells can produce galactose-α-1,3-galactose antigens on proteins, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at [email protected]! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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