Why is this medication prescribed?
Dupilumab injection is used to treat the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis; a skin disease that causes the skin to be dry and itchy and to sometimes develop red, scaly rashes) in adults and children 12 years and older who cannot use other medications for their condition or whose eczema has not responded to other medications. It is also used along with other medications to prevent wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness due to certain types of asthma in adults and children 12 years and older whose symptoms are not controlled with other medications. Dupilumab injection is in a class of medications called monoclonal antibodies. It works by stopping the action of certain substances in the body that cause the symptoms of eczema.
How should this medicine be used?
Dupilumab injection comes as a prefilled syringe to inject subcutaneously (under the skin). It is usually given as two injections for the first dose, followed by one injection every 2 weeks. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use dupilumab injection exactly as directed. Do not inject more or less of it or inject it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Dupilumab injection helps to prevent asthma attacks but will not stop an asthma attack that has already started. Do not use dupilumab injection during an asthma attack. Your doctor will prescribe an inhaler to use during asthma attacks.
You may receive your first dose of dupilumab injection in your doctor's office. After that, your doctor may allow you or a caregiver to perform the injections at home. Before you use dupilumab injection yourself the first time, read the manufacturer's information for the patient that comes with the medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you or the person who will be giving the medication how to inject it.
Use each syringe only once and inject all the solution in the syringe. Dispose of used syringes in a puncture-resistant container. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to dispose of the puncture-resistant container.
If you are using a prefilled syringe that has been refrigerated, place the syringe on a flat surface without removing the needle cap and allow it warm to room temperature (30 minutes for the 200 mg prefilled syringe and 45 minutes for the 300 mg syringe) before you are ready to inject the medication. Do not try to warm the medication by heating it in a microwave, placing it in hot water, or through any other method.
Do not shake a syringe that contains dupilumab.
Always look at dupilumab solution before injecting it. Check that the expiration date has not passed and that the liquid is clear and colorless or slightly yellow. The liquid should not contain visible particles. Do not use a syringe if it is cracked or broken, if it is expired or frozen, or if the liquid is cloudy or contains small particles.
You can inject dupilumab injection anywhere on the front of your thighs (upper leg) or abdomen (stomach) except your navel and the area 2 inches (5 centimeters) around it. If a caregiver injects the medication, the back of the upper arm may also be used. To reduce the chances of soreness or redness, use a different site for each injection. Do not inject into an area where the skin is tender, bruised, red, or hard or where you have scars or stretch marks.
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using dupilumab injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dupilumab, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in dupilumab injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: oral or inhaled corticosteroid medications such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had eye problems, or if you have a hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, or threadworm infection (infection with worms that live inside the body). If you are receiving dupilumab for the treatment of atropic dermatitis, tell your doctor if you also have asthma.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using dupilumab injection, call your doctor.
- check with your doctor to see if you need to receive any vaccinations. Do not have any vaccinations during your treatment without talking to your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss dose of dupilumab injection, inject your missed dose as soon as you remember it and resume your original schedule. However, if it is more than 7 days after your missed dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one. Call your doctor if you miss a dose and have questions about what to do.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Dupilumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- redness or pain at the injection site
- throat pain
- mouth or lip sores
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- new or worsening eye problems, including eye pain, blurred vision, red or swollen eyelids, or changes in vision
- rash, shortness of breath, fever, chest pain, feeling of pins and needles, or numbness in arms or legs
If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using dupilumab injection and call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- swelling of the face, eyelids, tongue, or throat
- swollen lymph nodes
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- tightness in the chest or throat
- fainting, dizziness, or feeling lightheaded
- joint pain
- flat, firm, hot, red and painful skin lumps
Dupilumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the original container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store dupilumab injection in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 14 days, Do not freeze. Keep the syringes in their original cartons to protect them from light.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.