Skyrizi’s Side Effects: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA

Skyrizi: Introduction

Skyrizi is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s a type of drug called an interleukin-23 inhibitor. It contains the active drug risankizumab-rzaa.

Skyrizi comes as a solution inside prefilled syringes, and it’s given as a subcutaneous injection.

Skyrizi is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in certain adults. Doctors typically prescribe Skyrizi for long-term use in people whose condition could be improved with systemic therapy or phototherapy. (Systemic therapy is a type of treatment that affects the whole body. Phototherapy is also known as light therapy.)  

Similar to other drugs, Skyrizi may cause side effects. Read below for information about possible side effects, including common, mild, and serious ones.

For a general overview of Skyrizi, including details about its use, see this article.

If you’d like to take Skyrizi, search here to find a healthcare professional who might prescribe it.

Skyrizi: More common side effects

Some of Skyrizi’s side effects may be more common than others. These side effects may last only a few days to weeks. However, some side effects may last longer or become severe or bothersome. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about any side effects with Skyrizi.

In Skyrizi’s clinical studies, these were some side effects that occurred more often:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effects explained” below.

Skyrizi: Mild side effects

Skyrizi can cause mild side effects, which are listed below. However, this list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects. To learn more about Skyrizi’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Skyrizi’s mild side effects include:

The side effects listed above may last only a few days to weeks. However, some side effects may last longer or become severe or bothersome. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about side effects with Skyrizi.


Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Skyrizi and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effects explained” below.

Skyrizi: Serious side effects

It’s possible to have serious side effects with Skyrizi. Serious side effects are listed below, but this list may not include all possibilities. To learn more about Skyrizi’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects with Skyrizi. However, if you think you’re having a medical emergency or have life threatening side effects, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Skyrizi and their possible symptoms include:

* An allergic reaction is possible after taking Skyrizi. However, this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies. For more information about this side effect, see “Side effects explained” below.

Skyrizi: Common questions about side effects

Here are some common questions about the drug’s side effects and answers to them. Talk with your doctor if you have other questions about this drug.

Does Skyrizi cause weight gain or weight loss?

Weight changes weren’t reported as side effects in clinical studies of Skyrizi.

However, it’s important to remember that unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of infection. And both mild and serious infections are possible side effects of Skyrizi.

If you have weight loss while you’re taking Skyrizi, talk with your doctor. They may ask you whether you’re having any other symptoms of infection. And your doctor may order tests to check for signs of infection.

If you’re concerned about weight changes while taking Skyrizi, tell your doctor. They can recommend healthy ways to manage your body weight.

Is depression a possible side effect of Skyrizi?

No, depression wasn’t reported as a side effect in clinical studies of Skyrizi.

Keep in mind that psoriasis, which Skyrizi treats, may increase your risk of depression. So you may have depression related to your condition while taking Skyrizi. However, this isn’t likely to be a side effect of the drug itself.

Watch for the following symptoms of depression while taking Skyrizi:

  • weight loss or weight gain
  • trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
  • changes in mood, such as feeling more sad, angry, anxious, or irritable than usual
  • lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy

If you notice depression symptoms while you’re taking Skyrizi, talk with your doctor. They can advise on whether Skyrizi is the best treatment option for you. And they can suggest ways to manage your symptoms.

Will Skyrizi affect my liver?

No, Skyrizi isn’t likely to cause liver damage. This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies of the drug.

However, psoriasis, which Skyrizi treats, is known to cause liver damage. So, it’s possible you may have liver damage while taking Skyrizi. However, this is likely due to the condition Skyrizi is treating rather than the drug itself.

If you’re concerned about liver damage with psoriasis or Skyrizi treatment, talk with your doctor. They can advise on your risk of this condition.

Skyrizi: Side effects explained

Here’s detailed information about some of Skyrizi’s side effects.

Injection site side effects

Injection site side effects are possible with Skyrizi. These happen around the area where Skyrizi is injected.

Injection site side effects were common in Skyrizi’s clinical studies. Examples include:

  • pain
  • bruising
  • itching
  • swelling

What you can do

To help lower your risk of injection site side effects with Skyrizi, rotate your injection sites with each dose. Skyrizi is typically injected into your abdomen or thighs.

Additionally, avoid injecting Skyrizi into areas of skin that are bruised, sore, hard, red, or discolored.

It’s also best to avoid injecting the drug into an area of skin that’s affected by plaque psoriasis. (This is the condition Skyrizi is taken to treat.) Injecting the drug into these areas can make Skyrizi less effective in treating your condition.

If you have bothersome injection site side effects with Skyrizi, tell your doctor. They can suggest other ways to help ease your symptoms.

Fungal infection of the nails and skin

Fungal infections may occur with Skyrizi. These typically affect the skin or nails, and they were common in clinical studies of the drug.

Examples of fungal infections that may happen with Skyrizi include athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm.

Watch for the following symptoms of fungal infection while you’re taking Skyrizi:

  • blistered, flaky, or cracked skin on your feet
  • brittle or thick nails that have an odor
  • a ring-shaped, itchy rash on your legs, arms, or trunk
  • a rash in your groin area that gets worse after physical activity

What you can do

If you have symptoms of a fungal infection while you’re taking Skyrizi, tell your doctor. They may give you a prescription for an antifungal drug to treat your infection. Examples include terbinafine (Lamisil) and fluconazole (Diflucan).

Your doctor may also suggest an over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal product. These include terbinafine cream (Lamisil AT) or clotrimazole cream (Lotrimin AF). Be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before trying any new medications with Skyrizi. Your healthcare professional will make sure these medications are safe to use with Skyrizi.

Headache

Headache is a possible side effect of Skyrizi. And it was common in clinical studies of the drug.

Below are a few different headache types that have been reported with Skyrizi:

  • cervicogenic headache, which is a headache similar to those caused by migraine and causes pain in your neck or the bottom of your skull
  • sinus headache, which causes a feeling of pressure around your eyes, nose, cheeks, or forehead
  • tension headache, which causes a feeling of pressure around your forehead

What you can do

If you have bothersome headaches while taking Skyrizi, talk with your doctor. They may suggest that you take an OTC pain reliever. Examples include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

It’s important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any OTC drugs with Skyrizi. Your healthcare professional can advise on whether the medications are safe to take together.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Skyrizi. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

This side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies of Skyrizi. However, an allergic reaction can still happen with the drug.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
• itching trouble breathing
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids

If you have an allergic reaction to Skyrizi, call your doctor right away. This is important because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Skyrizi: Precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Skyrizi. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include those listed below.

Infections, including tuberculosis (TB). Before starting Skyrizi, tell your doctor if you have any infections. This includes TB, which your doctor will likely test for before you start taking this drug. Skyrizi can cause serious infections, and it may also increase your risk of having an active TB infection. (An active infection is one that causes symptoms. If you have TB in your body, it may become active and flare up with Skyrizi.) It’s important that any infections you have are treated before you start taking Skyrizi.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Skyrizi or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Skyrizi. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

Recent live vaccinations. Before taking Skyrizi, tell your doctor if you’ve recently had a live vaccine. (Live vaccines are made with a weakened form of the bacteria or virus they protect against.) Skyrizi can lessen the activity of your immune system, which can affect how your body responds to live vaccines. Your doctor will likely suggest that you wait a period of time before starting Skyrizi after getting a live vaccine. Examples of live vaccines include the nasal spray flu vaccine (FluMist) and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Consuming alcohol during Skyrizi treatment

It’s generally considered safe to drink alcohol while taking Skyrizi.

However, drinking alcohol can trigger a psoriasis flare for some people. (And Skyrizi is taken to treat plaque psoriasis.) If you know alcohol triggers your psoriasis, it may be best to avoid drinking while you’re taking this drug.

If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor about the amount of alcohol that’s safe for you to consume while taking Skyrizi.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding during Skyrizi treatment

It isn’t known if Skyrizi is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Animal studies have shown harm to offspring born to animals who were given the drug during pregnancy. However, animal studies may not predict what happens in humans.

If you take Skyrizi while you’re pregnant, your doctor may ask you to enroll in a pregnancy registry. Pregnancy registries help doctors and researchers learn more about a drug’s effects when used during pregnancy. To learn more about Skyrizi’s pregnancy registry, talk with your doctor. You can also call 877-302-2161.

Before taking Skyrizi, talk with your doctor about any current or planned pregnancies. Also, talk with them if you’re breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. Your doctor can discuss whether Skyrizi is the right treatment option for you. 

Skyrizi: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out more about Skyrizi. If you have questions about the drug’s side effects, your pharmacist or healthcare professional can help answer them for you.

In addition to discussing Skyrizi with your doctor, you may find these articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Skyrizi. To read an overview of Skyrizi, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Skyrizi compares with Humira, read this article. And to see a side-by-side comparison with Tremfya, check out this article.
  • Details about plaque psoriasis. To learn more about plaque psoriasis, which Skyrizi treats, see this article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

Medical Reviewer: Victor Nguyen, PharmD, MBA
Last Review Date: 2022 Jan 18
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.