Tremfya (guselkumab)

Medically Reviewed By Patricia Weiser, PharmD

About Tremfya

Tremfya is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions in adults:

Tremfya is typically used long-term if you and your doctor agree the drug is safe and working well for you.

For details about these conditions and how the drug treats them, see the “Tremfya: Use for psoriasis” and “Tremfya: Use for psoriatic arthritis” sections below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Tremfya.

Active drug guselkumab
Drug class interleukin-23 (IL-23) blocker
Forms solution inside single-dose prefilled syringes and single-dose One-Press injectors, both given by subcutaneous injection

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Tremfya: Generic or biosimilar

Tremfya contains the active drug guselkumab. It isn’t available as a biosimilar medication.

Tremfya is a biologic medication, which are also called biologics. A biosimilar medication refers to a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug. This brand-name biologic is also called the parent drug.

Biologics are made from living cells. It’s not possible to make an exact copy of these drugs. A generic, on the other hand, refers to drugs made from chemicals. A generic is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. 

Biosimilars are considered to be just as effective and safe as their parent drug. As with generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.

Tremfya: Cost

As with other medications, prices for Tremfya may vary. The drug’s price, including its cost per month, will depend on factors such as:

Cost considerations for Tremfya

Here are some things to consider when looking into the cost of Tremfya.

Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Tremfya is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Tremfya. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Tremfya, contact your insurance company.

Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Tremfya is available. The Tremfya withMe program may help reduce the drug’s cost. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, call 833-WITHME1 (833-948-4631) or visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.

Use of a specialty pharmacy. Tremfya is only dispensed from specialty pharmacies. These pharmacies are authorized to handle certain drugs considered specialty medications. These medications may be expensive or require help from healthcare professionals to be used safely and effectively. Some specialty pharmacies are also able to mail your medication directly to you. Ask your doctor which specialty pharmacy they’ll prescribe Tremfya through.

Availability of a biosimilar form. Tremfya isn’t available as a biosimilar medication. It’s a type of biologic medication, which are also called biologics. A biosimilar medication refers to a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug. This brand-name biologic is also called the parent drug.

Biologics are made from living cells. It’s not possible to make an exact copy of these drugs. A generic, on the other hand, refers to drugs made from chemicals. A generic is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. 

Biosimilars are considered to be just as effective and safe as their parent drug. As with generics, biosimilars tend to cost less than brand-name medications.

Tremfya: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Tremfya. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosing schedule that’s best for your needs.

Tremfya’s forms and strengths

Tremfya is available as follows.

  • Form: solution inside single-dose prefilled syringes and single-dose One-Press injectors that’s given by subcutaneous injection
  • Strength: 100 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL)

Tremfya’s recommended dosage

Recommended dosages for Tremfya in adults are described below.

Adult dosage for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

The recommended dosage for Tremfya in adults is as follows. Whether the drug is prescribed for plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, the dosage is the same.

  • Dose: 100 milligrams (mg)
  • Frequency: once every 4 weeks for the first 2 injections, then once every 8 weeks

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Tremfya’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Tremfya, administer your missed injection right away. If you get doses at your doctor’s office, call to reschedule your appointment. Try these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Tremfya as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Tremfya: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Tremfya. These can include some mild side effects but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Tremfya’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Druxg Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Tremfya, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Tremfya are listed below. This article does not include all of Tremfya’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Tremfya may include:

  • upper respiratory infection, such as the common cold
  • headache
  • injection site reactions, such as pain, discoloration, or swelling
  • joint pain
  • diarrhea
  • stomach flu
  • fungal infection of the nails or skin
  • herpes infection, which may cause cold sores
  • skin rash
  • mild allergic reaction

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

* This is not a complete list of Tremfya’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
† To learn more about allergic reaction, see below. An allergic reaction is possible after taking Tremfya. However, this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of Tremfya may include:

Serious side effects from Tremfya aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

* To learn more about allergic reaction, see below. An allergic reaction is possible after taking Tremfya. However, this side effect wasn’t reported in clinical studies.

Allergic reaction

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

Allergic reactions to Tremfya have been rarely reported since the drug was approved for use.

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

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

If you have an allergic reaction to Tremfya, 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 a local emergency number.

Tremfya: Use for psoriasis

Prescription drugs, such as Tremfya, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions. A drug’s approved uses are known as its indications.

Below, we describe Tremfya’s use in treating plaque psoriasis. To learn about its other indication, see the “Tremfya: Use for psoriatic arthritis” section below.

Using Tremfya for plaque psoriasis

Tremfya is approved to treat plaque psoriasis in certain adults. Specifically, doctors can prescribe the drug to adults who are able to receive either:

  • phototherapy (treatment with light)
  • systemic treatment (treatment that affects the whole body)

Plaque psoriasis is the most common type of psoriasis. (It’s also known simply as “psoriasis.”) It’s a type of chronic (long-term) autoimmune condition. This means that its symptoms are caused by your immune system attacking your own cells.

With plaque psoriasis, your immune system mistakenly attacks your skin cells. This results in your skin cells turning over more quickly than usual. Plaque psoriasis causes raised patches of scaly, thick skin called plaques. These can be itchy or painful, and the affected skin may sting, burn, or feel tight.

These plaques can appear on different parts of the body. However, they most commonly appear on the skin of the:

  • scalp
  • hands
  • knees
  • outside of your elbow
  • face
  • back

On lighter skin, psoriasis plaques usually appear red or pink with white scales. On darker skin, the plaques are typically purple or brown with gray scales.

Using Tremfya in children

Tremfya is not approved for use in children. It’s only prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis in adults.

Finding a healthcare professional for Tremfya

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it. You can also view this appointment guide for psoriasis to help prepare for your appointment.

Tremfya: Use for psoriatic arthritis

Prescription drugs, such as Tremfya, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions. A drug’s approved uses are known as its indications.

Below, we describe Tremfya’s use in treating psoriatic arthritis. To learn about its other indication, see the “Tremfya: Use for psoriasis” section above.

Using Tremfya for psoriatic arthritis

Tremfya is approved to treat active psoriatic arthritis in adults. (“Active” means that the condition is causing symptoms.)

Psoriatic arthritis is a type of chronic (long-term) autoimmune condition. This means your immune system mistakenly attacks your own cells.

With psoriatic arthritis, your joints are mistakenly targeted by your immune system. This causes symptoms such as:

  • joint pain and stiffness
  • movement problems
  • muscle pain
  • skin discoloration near the affected joints

Left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation throughout your body over time. This is different from osteoarthritis, in which inflammation only affects your joints.

Psoriatic arthritis may occur on its own. However, it most commonly affects people who also have plaque psoriasis. (Tremfya is also approved to treat plaque psoriasis, which is also known simply as “psoriasis.”)

Taking Tremfya with other drugs

To treat psoriatic arthritis, Tremfya may be prescribed alone. It may also be used in combination with certain other drugs that treat this condition. These include methotrexate (Trexall, others).

Your doctor will let you know whether you’ll use Tremfya in combination with other drugs to treat psoriatic arthritis.

Using Tremfya in children

Tremfya is not approved for use in children. It’s only prescribed to treat psoriatic arthritis or plaque psoriasis (which is also known simply as “psoriasis”) in adults.

Finding a healthcare professional for Tremfya

If you’re interested in taking Tremfya, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it. You can also check out this appointment guide for psoriatic arthritis to help prepare for your appointment.

Tremfya: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Tremfya and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

Where can I read about before and after results with Tremfya?

You can read before and after results from people who took Tremfya by visiting this site from the drug’s manufacturer. Keep in mind that Tremfya can affect different people in different ways. You may not have the same results as someone else who took the drug to treat the same condition.

Your doctor may also be able to share before and after results based on their experience prescribing Tremfya. You can also talk with them about what kind of results you might expect with the drug.

Will I have weight loss or weight gain with Tremfya?

No, neither weight loss nor weight gain is an expected side effect with Tremfya.

However, symptoms of plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can make it difficult to stay physically active. (Keep in mind that Tremfya is prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.) This can lead to weight gain for some people. Tremfya may help relieve your symptoms and allow you to become more physically active. If this occurs, you may lose weight.

In addition, Tremfya may weaken your immune system and increase your risk of infections, including serious ones. And in some cases, having an infection may cause weight loss. This may occur along with other symptoms of an infection, such as fever or body aches. You should tell your doctor right away if you have an infection or symptoms of an infection.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about weight changes with Tremfya. They can let you know whether any of the medications you take may affect your weight.

Is depression a side effect of Tremfya?

No, depression isn’t a known side effect of Tremfya.

It’s common for people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis to experience depression. (Keep in mind that Tremfya is prescribed to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.) This can be due to symptoms of the condition or how it affects your daily life.

Talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about possible depression symptoms or your mental health. They can suggest a treatment plan that addresses both your physical and mental health needs.

Is Tremfya a biologic?

Yes, Tremfya is a type of biologic medication, which is also called a biologic. Biologics are drugs that are made from living cells.

To learn more about biologics and biosimilars, see the “Tremfya: Generic or biosimilar” section above.

Tremfya: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Tremfya for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Tremfya is used to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. (Plaque psoriasis is also known simply as “psoriasis.”) Here are summaries of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

To learn more about some alternatives of Tremfya, view the following articles:

Your doctor can tell you about other similar drugs, such as secukinumab (Cosentyx) and ixekizumab (Taltz).

For additional information about alternatives to Tremfya, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition.

Tremfya: How it works

Tremfya is prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Both conditions are caused by an overactive immune system that mistakenly attacks your own cells.

Tremfya’s mechanism of action (how it works) is to block a protein called interleukin-23 (IL-23).

IL-23 plays an important role in sending signals to activate your immune system. This can lead to symptoms of plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in people with these conditions. Blocking IL-23 stops these signals from activating your immune system. This, in turn, decreases plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

How long does Tremfya take to start working?

Tremfya begins working with your first dose. However, it may take several months to see the full effects of the drug.

In Tremfya’s clinical studies, researchers primarily looked at how well the drug worked to treat plaque psoriasis after 16 weeks of treatment. After this length of time, most people who took Tremfya had a reduction in symptoms.

In other clinical studies, researchers primarily looked at how well Tremfya worked to treat psoriatic arthritis after 24 weeks of treatment. Within this time, more than half of people who took Tremfya had an improvement in their condition.

As with most treatments, individual results may vary. To learn more about how Tremfya performed in clinical studies, see the manufacturer’s website. You can also view the drug’s prescribing information. Your doctor can also tell you how they’ll monitor whether Tremfya is working to treat your condition.

Tremfya: Consuming alcohol during treatment

There isn’t a known interaction between alcohol and Tremfya.

However, alcohol can worsen plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis symptoms in some people. (Keep in mind that Tremfya is prescribed to treat plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.) And, like alcohol, Tremfya can weaken your immune system. So, drinking alcohol during Tremfya treatment may raise your risk of infection.

Talk with your doctor if you drink alcohol and are prescribed Tremfya. They can tell you more about how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to consume with Tremfya.

Tremfya: Interactions

Tremfya may interact with certain vaccines. It’s not known to interact with other medications, supplements, or foods.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

Before you start Tremfya, be sure to tell your doctor about any medications, herbs, vitamins, or supplements you take. They can check for any possible interactions between these products and Tremfya.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

Tremfya and vaccines. It’s recommended that you do not receive live vaccines just before or during your Tremfya treatment. (Live vaccines contain live, but weakened, forms of bacteria or viruses.) Your doctor will also recommend that you receive all scheduled live vaccinations before taking Tremfya. Examples of vaccines that should be avoided with the drug include those for:

For information about drug-condition interactions, see the “Tremfya: Precautions” section below.

Tremfya: How to use

Your doctor will recommend how you should administer Tremfya. It’s important to use the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Tremfya comes as a solution that’s given by subcutaneous injection. It comes in single-dose prefilled syringes and single-dose One-Press injectors. You may receive Tremfya injections from a healthcare professional. Your doctor may also teach you how to give Tremfya injections to yourself at home.

The manufacturer of Tremfya offers step-by-step instructions for giving the injections at home. You may view the directions here.

Questions about using Tremfya

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Tremfya.

  • When should I administer Tremfya? Administer Tremfya doses as instructed by your doctor. Try these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses of Tremfya. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to administer Tremfya with food? You can administer Tremfya with or without having eaten any food.
  • Is there a best time of day to administer Tremfya? There’s no best time of day to administer Tremfya. Administer your doses according to your doctor’s instructions.

Tremfya: Using while pregnant

It’s not known whether it’s safe to use Tremfya during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor. They can tell you more about the risks and benefits of taking different treatments, including Tremfya, during pregnancy.

If you and your doctor decide that you’ll use Tremfya while pregnant, consider joining the Tremfya pregnancy registry. Registries collect data on the safety of medications such as Tremfya when they are used in pregnancy. They help patients and doctors make informed decisions about treatment options during pregnancy. You can learn more or join the registry by calling 877-311-8972.

Tremfya and birth control needs

Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Tremfya during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Tremfya if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Tremfya: Using while breastfeeding

It isn’t known whether it’s safe to take Tremfya while breastfeeding. There isn’t data on whether the drug passes into breast milk. There also isn’t data on whether it causes side effects in a child who’s breastfed.

To learn more about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding while using Tremfya, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about treatment options for your condition and feeding options for your child.

Tremfya: Precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Tremfya. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions. These situations are considered drug-condition interactions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Active infection. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have an infection before you start taking Tremfya. Your doctor will likely want to treat the infection before you receive your first Tremfya dose. Because Tremfya works by weakening your immune system, the drug can make it difficult to treat an infection.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) or exposure to TB. It’s important to let your doctor know if you have active TB. (When TB is active, it causes symptoms.) If your TB is active, your doctor likely won’t prescribe Tremfya until after the TB is treated. It’s also important to let them know if you’ve been exposed to TB in the past. If you have, your doctor may prescribe medications to help prevent active TB in combination with Tremfya. They will also monitor you closely during Tremfya treatment for signs of active TB.
  • Recent vaccination. Before starting Tremfya, let your doctor know if you’ve recently received a vaccine. Also let your doctor know if you’re scheduled to receive a vaccine. Live vaccines may interact with Tremfya. (Live vaccines contain live, but weakened, forms of bacteria or viruses.) For more information, see the “Tremfya: Interactions” section above. Your doctor may wait to prescribe Tremfya to you until after you’ve received all your scheduled vaccines.
  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Tremfya if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy. If you’d like additional information about taking Tremfya while pregnant, view the “Tremfya: Using while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. If you’d like additional information about taking Tremfya while breastfeeding, view the “Tremfya: Using while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Tremfya that could be harmful, see the “Tremfya: Side effects” section above. To learn about possible interactions with Tremfya, such as with certain vaccines, see the “Tremfya: Interactions” section above.

Tremfya: Overdose

For some drugs, taking more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not use more Tremfya than your doctor advises.

What to do if you take too much Tremfya

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Tremfya: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Tremfya’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Tremfya’s packaging. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that you avoid taking expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.

Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Tremfya should be stored in the refrigerator from 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Avoid storing it in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms. The medication should be kept away from light and in the original container.

Disposal. Dispose of any used syringes, needles, or autoinjectors right after using them. You can safely dispose of these items in an FDA-approved sharps container. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps them avoid harm from needles.

If you’d like to buy a sharps container, you can find options online. Or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where you can purchase one. Your pharmacist can give you more information about disposing of Tremfya. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Tremfya: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Tremfya, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Tremfya could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What are my options if my insurance coverage changes after I begin treatment with Tremfya?
  • Will Tremfya interact with any medications or supplements that I take?
  • If I’m diagnosed with a new condition that affects Tremfya, what are my treatment options?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find these articles helpful in learning about alternative drugs for:

And view our selection of videos on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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: Patricia Weiser, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Oct 25
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.