Can You Give Ustekinumab Subcutaneously After IV Reaction?

J Sunny et al. JPGN Reports: May 2022 – Volume 3 – Issue 2 – p e205 Open Access: Hypersensitivity Reaction to Ustekinumab in Pediatric and Young Adult Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A Case Series

This is a case series of six pediatric patients and young adults who developed hypersensitivity reactions during intravenous infusion with ustekinumab (UST).

Key findings:

  • Hypersensitivity reactions during intravenous (IV) induction dose of UST, ranging from mild allergic reactions to anaphylaxis, with no antibodies detected in the two who had testing
  • Reactions occurred 0-30 minutes after start of infusion
  • Management was with methylprednisolone in 5 of 6 patients, diphendyramine in 3 of 6, and epinephrine in 1. One patient was managed with IV diphenhydramine alone.
  • Four of six continued with UST subcutaneously without reactions. ***Change of formulation of UST from IV to subcutaneous was done in a controlled hospital-based setting. The other two 33% were switched to another biologic due to physician preference and were never exposed to the subcutaneous formulation
  • Although the exact pathogenesis of this infusion reaction remains unknown, it has been attributed to EDTA

My take: It appears that patients with UST hypersensitivity reactions can be changed to SC formulation. The authors recommend to trial a subcutaneous dose of UST in a controlled setting; in addition, they suggest testing with skin prick testing or specific IgE levels to EDTA done by allergy and immunology.

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