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Side Effects of Apremilast (Otezla)


Side Effects of Apremilast (Otezla)

Apremilast, also known as the brand Otezla, is used to treat the symptoms of pain and swelling in joints in adults and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis (skin disorder of itchy red patches with dead silver skin cells on top) in people who may also receive phototherapy or other treatments for psoriasis.

Otezla and Suicide

The Otezla label listed by the FDA reports some people have depression or thoughts about suicide while taking Otezla. Inform your doctor if you have experienced this. You will need to check your progress at regular visits due to these adverse reactions.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects of Otezla are:


  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, or sore throat


(Otezla label reported by the FDA).


Some patients experience Otezla weight loss. Your healthcare provider may monitor your weight at regular interval. If unexplained or significant weight loss occurs, your doctor will decide if you should continue taking Otezla.

Drug Interactions

Medications can affect the removal of Otezla from your body, which may change how Otezla works. Some medicines are certain drugs used to treat seizures (such as: carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin), and rifampicin (rifampin, rifabutin).

About Pharmacogenetic Testing

The field of pharmacogenetics has grown significantly since the human genome was completed in 2003. We know understand far more about genetic makeup than before and have a far greater understanding of how our genes are affected by medications. This knowledge has lead us to a point were where we can know how people will react to medication before it is prescribed. This is accomplished by genetic testing.


The body’s metabolism of Otezla is primarily mediated by CYP3A4. When Otezla is co-administered with medicines, which are strong inducer of CYP3A4, it may result in low blood levels and thereby loss of efficacy.

Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

Rxight® genetic testing employs SNP genotyping to determine the patient’s genetically modulated metabolism of apremilast and over 200 other common prescription and over-the-counter medications. With pharmacogenetic testing, the provider can determine the safest and most effective dosing based on the patient’s genetics and metabolic profile, preferably before treatment is begun.


The Rxight® test examines genes that interact with the potential medication. If the interaction is positive, the prescriber can safely offer the medicine, if not, adverse reactions can be avoided and a more suitable medication can be offered.


For more information on Rxight®, contact us at 1-888-888-1932 or email us at support@Rxight.com.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® : What is Pharmacogenetics?