Otezla Side Effects and Uses

Drugs Health News

What is Otezla?

What is Otezla

Otezla (Apremilast) is a tablet that can be consumed two times each day. It helps to reduce inflammation which occurs during the treatment of particular forms of psoriatic arthritis, Behçet’s disease, and plaque psoriasis. Otezla (apremilast) treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by regulating inflammation within the cell.

Otezla got FDA approval in 2014, for psoriatic arthritis and has also been approved by the FDA approved for treating forms of plaque psoriasis and Behcet’s disease. In this article, Otezla Side Effects are highlighted.

Otezla Mechanism Of Action:

Otezla Mechanism Of Action
Otezla Mechanism Of Action

One common question that comes in everyone’s minds is how does Otezla work? Otezla acts by blocking an enzyme present within the immune system that may influence certain cells and add to inflammation in the body. Otezla belongs to a class of medications named PDE4 inhibitors (Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors).

These drugs reduce inflammation by enhancing the level of cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). It is a messenger system present in the body. Next query can be, Is Otezla a biologic? Otezla is not a biologic agent.

What is Otezla used for?

Behcet's Disease
Behcet’s Disease

The FDA approves prescription medications including Otezla for treating various medical problems. FDA approved Otezla uses are listed below:

  • plaque psoriasis
  • mouth ulcers due to Behçet’s disease
  • psoriatic arthritis

For psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis, Otezla can be used along with other drugs including:

  • Methotrexate (Otrexup, Rasuvo, Trexall, others)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) or others.

Otezla For Plaque Psoriasis:

Otezla For Plaque Psoriasis
Otezla For Plaque Psoriasis

The Otezla is approved for treating plaque psoriasis in adults. Precisely, it may be used in adults who receive phototherapy (light therapy) or systemic therapy (affecting whole body).

Otezla has been proven to improve moderate to severe plaque psoriasis symptoms in commonly affected areas like the elbows, knees, lower back, and scalp.

The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis. It’s marked by thick red skin patches that often have a silver or white scaly layer.

Otezla For Psoriatic Arthritis:

Otezla For Psoriatic Arthritis
Otezla For Psoriatic Arthritis

The Otezla is approved for treating active psoriatic arthritis in adults. This is a health problem that has both the inflamed, sore joints of arthritis and the skin abrasions of psoriasis.

Otezla treats psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis by regulating inflammation within the cell. It inhibits an enzyme known as phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). This enzyme controls much of the inflammatory action within cells, which can affect the level of inflammation associated with psoriatic disease.

Skin abrasions resulting due to psoriasis are generally scaly, irritable red patches. In a few cases, the lesions may have an effect on the scalp.

Otezla is found to help a few individuals with psoriatic arthritis have less joint swelling, tenderness, and pain. Also, the drug is found to improve the ability to carry out physical activities of daily living.

Otezla for mouth ulcers due to Behçet’s disease:

Otezla for Behcet’s disease
Otezla for Behcet’s disease

The Otezla is approved for treating mouth ulcers that take place with Behçet’s disease. This condition is an autoimmune problem.

It results in damage to various blood vessels that may cause sores in the mouth, rashes, and other signs.

How to take Otezla?

How to take Otezla
How to take Otezla

Take this medication exactly as recommended by a doctor. Follow all guidelines mentioned on the prescription label and read all medication guides. The concerned doctor may infrequently alter the dose. Patients must swallow the tablet as a whole, do not crush, chew, or break the tablet. This medication may be consumed with or without food.

Dosing Information:

Normal Adult Dose for Plaque Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Behcet’s disease. Otezla medication generally starts at a low dose that is enhanced over 5 days to the maintenance dose.

This step lowers the incidence of gastrointestinal signs that might occur when the patient first begins taking this drug. The patient might be given the medication in a starter pack comprising tablets that are of diverse strengths, it is significant to follow the doctor’s guidelines carefully.

Otezla Side Effects:

Side Effects of Otezla
Side Effects of Otezla

Common Otezla side effects:

Otezla studies included adults having moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who were going for phototherapy or systemic therapy. The most common Otezla side effects may involve nausea, diarrhea, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, etc.

These are not all the possible side effects that might occur with this drug. It is better to discuss with the doctor regarding other potential side effects. Inform the doctor about any side effect that troubles the patient or does not leave. If the patient is experiencing Otezla side effects, it is a must to speak to the concerned doctor.

More common Otezla side effects:

The more common Otezla side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Decreased appetite
  • Respiratory infection
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Weight Loss
  • Belly pain
  • Fatigue (lack of energy)
  • Back pain
  • Insomnia (difficulty in sleeping)

Most of these Otezla side effects might leave within some days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more serious or does not leave, speak to the concerned doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Otezla Side Effects:

Inform the doctor right away if the patient experiences serious Otezla side effects. Call the local emergency number if signs become risky or if the patient thinks it is a medical emergency. Severe Otezla side effects can be:

  • Severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Hypersensitive reaction
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Depression

Otezla Side Effects Details:

The patient might wonder how often certain Otezla side effects take place. Below is some detail on various side effects this medication might result.

Hypersensitive Reaction:

Hypersensitive Reaction
Hypersensitive Reaction

As with a majority of medications, a few individuals might have Otezla Side Effects such as an allergic reaction after taking Otezla. Hypersensitive reactions weren’t reported in clinical studies of Otezla, however have took place since the medicine was approved. Signs of a mild hypersensitive reaction may be:

  • Skin rash
  • Irritation
  • Flushing

A more serious hypersensitive reaction is rare however possible. Signs of a severe hypersensitive reaction may be:

  • Inflammation under the skin, characteristically in the eyelids, lips, hands, or feet.
  • Inflammation of the tongue, mouth, or throat.
  • Breathing problems.

Call the concerned healthcare provider right away if the patient experiences any severe allergic reaction to Otezla.



Headache is one of the common Otezla Side Effects that individuals who use Otezla report. It takes place in up to 14% of individuals consuming this medication, based upon the condition being treated. In a majority of cases, individuals experience a milder tension-type headache.

However, nearly 2% of people might experience a migraine headache, which is more serious. These ill effects generally go away with constant use of Otezla. If they don’t leave or become troublesome, it is better to discuss with a doctor.



Even if not common, depressed mood might crop up in a few individuals who take Otezla. Under 2% of individuals experience this ill Otezla Side Effects. And below 1% of individuals experience severe or more serious depression. Suicidal thoughts or behaviors might crop up in below 1% of individuals consuming Otezla.

Depression in individuals using Otezla may be more expected for people who have had depression previously. If the patient experiences mood alterations or depressed mood while using Otezla, make sure to speak to the concerned doctor.



Individuals who have psoriasis have a little enhanced risk for various types of cancer. There’s also a concern that a few drugs indicated in the treatment of psoriasis may increase the risk of some types of cancer, possible Otezla Side Effects.

Research on Apremilast, the medication consisted in Otezla, so far indicate that it doesn’t enhance the risk of cancer in individuals who have psoriasis.


Diarrhea commonly takes place in individuals who use Otezla. In fact, up to approximately 41% of individuals consuming this medication experience diarrhea. Majorly, diarrhea isn’t severe and generally leaves with a constant use of Otezla.


Yet, severe diarrhea might crop up in a few individuals consuming Otezla, and in a few cases, it might also cause dehydration (low fluid level) and electrolyte imbalances.

If the person has diarrhea that doesn’t leave or he or she has severe diarrhea while using Otezla, speak to the concerned doctor. Doctor might reduce the dosage or might discontinue its use to reduce this possible Otezla Side Effects.



The Most common Otezla Side Effects with the use of Otezla is Nausea. It takes place in up to 17% of individuals who take the medication. In a majority of cases, nausea isn’t serious and generally goes away with constant use of the drug.

Yet, in a few cases, it might turn severe and may involve vomiting. Severe nausea and vomiting might result in dehydration (low fluid level) and electrolyte imbalances.

If the person has nausea that doesn’t leave or he or she has severe diarrhea while using Otezla, speak to the concerned doctor. Doctor might reduce the dosage or might discontinue its use.

Otezla Cost:

Otezla Cost
Otezla Cost

Most people who take Otezla have private insurance and pay $0 a month through the $0 Co-Pay Program. The list price for a 30-day supply of Otezla is $4,344.18.

This price is based on the wholesale acquisition cost of Otezla. List price is also referred to as wholesale acquisition cost, or WAC. WAC is the price at which Amgen sells its products to wholesalers. MedsEngage provides the best Otezla cost online.

Otezla For Weight Loss:

Otezla For Weight Loss
Otezla For Weight Loss

No, Otezla does not result in weight gain, in fact, it is more expected to result in weight loss. In a pooled analysis of 2 large studies, the average alteration in weight from the beginning of the study to week 16 was -1.51 kg, or -3.33 lb for patients getting Otezla 30mg two times daily. By week 52, around 19% of patients had lost over 5% of their initial weight.

Otezla action on weight loss is not given exactly. However, no link has been found between weight loss and diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea. However, it can be associated with the phosphodiesterase (PDE4) blocking action of Otezla. People receiving treatment of Otezla must have their weight monitored on a regular basis.

Also, stopping of Otezla may require to be considered if unexplained or clinically significant weight loss takes place. Otezla is a PDE4 inhibitor that can be used for treating psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, and oral ulcers related to Behçet’s Disease.

Weight loss and loss of appetite are common Otezla side effects. Weight loss might take place in 10% to 12% of individuals who take it. The loss of 5% to 10% of body weight is very common, but a few individuals have had weight loss of more than 10% of their body weight.

If the patient experiences serious weight loss while consuming Otezla, it is better to speak to the doctor. They might suggest him or her to stop taking this medication.

Otezla and Alcohol:

Otezla and Alcohol
Otezla and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while using Otezla might contribute to or deteriorate some side effects from Otezla, particularly if the patient drinks in excess.

Deteriorated Otezla side effects may be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, and fatigue.


Why is Otezla so expensive?

Otezla is expensive as it is a brand medication. There is no generic drug of Otezla available in the market.

How much does Otezla cost?

The cost of Otezla if you are paying cash is approximately $3600 for a supply of 60 tablets. Yet, a majority of people do not pay this cost. Your cost would differ depending upon the pharmacy you use, any offers or coupons you might have, or if you have insurance. MedsEngage offers discounts on this medication, so avail the offer now instantly.

What are the top Otezla alternatives?

Some of the Otelza alternatives include: Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor (TNFi) Biologics (etanercept, infliximab, adalimumab); CTLA4 Immunoglobulin (abatacept); Interleukin 12/23 Inhibitor Biologic (ustekinumab); Oral Small Molecule Drugs (methotrexate, sulfasalazine, cyclosporine); Interleukin-17 (IL17) Inhibitor Biologics (secukinumab, ixekizumab, brodalumab).

How long does it take for Otezla to work?

Otezla may begin working in the initial few weeks of treatment and patients generally observe therapeutic outcomes within 12 to 16 weeks.

Why does Otezla cause weight loss?

A lot of individuals lose weight while consuming Otezla. This may take place partly due to how the drug works, and partly due to a few of its more common side effects.

Is Otezla an immunosuppressant?

Otezla is a selective immunosuppressant drug. It is found to exert a greater effect on innate immunity than adaptive immunity, with no effect on T-cell or B-cell expansion.

What happens if I miss a dose of Otezla?

If you miss a dose of Otezla tablet, consume it the moment it is possible. Yet, if it is nearly the time for your next dose, you can leave out your missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule. Avoid taking double doses of this drug to prevent risk of any Otezla Side Effects.