Dupixent (dupilumab) is a prescription medication designed to treat several conditions, including moderate to severe eczema (atopic dermatitis), asthma, prurigo nodularis, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis. It works by targeting a specific part of your immune system that contributes to the inflammation that can cause these conditions. While Dupixent can be highly effective for many people, like all medications, it comes with the potential for side effects. Here, you’ll find out about the common, less common, and serious side effects of taking Dupixent.
Common Side Effects of Dupixent
Most medications have side effects, and Dupixent is no exception. However, not everyone experiences them. Here are some of the more common side effects you might encounter:
- Injection site reactions: You might notice redness, swelling, itching, or pain at the site where you inject Dupixent. Typically, these symptoms are mild and go away on their own.
- Eye issues: Some people may develop eye problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis), dry eyes, or eyelid inflammation (blepharitis).
- Cold sores: Dupixent can trigger cold sores in the mouth or on the lips in individuals prone to them.
- Eczema flares: Oddly, while Dupixent treats eczema, it can also cause eczema flare-ups in some cases.
- Nausea and vomiting: Some individuals might experience stomach discomfort, leading to nausea or vomiting.
- Diarrhea: Changes in bowel habits, particularly diarrhea, can occur, affecting your daily activities.
Less Common Side Effects of Dupixent
In addition to the more frequent side effects, there are other, less common reactions that can occur. These might include:
- Oral herpes: Although similar to cold sores, oral herpes outbreaks can be more severe and require management.
- Inflammatory eye disease: This includes more severe conditions like keratitis, which can affect your vision if not treated.
- Mood changes: While less common, some individuals report experiencing mood swings or changes in mental health status.
- Increased susceptibility to infections: Dupixent can alter your immune response, potentially leading to an increased risk of certain infections, not limited to the skin or respiratory system.
- Headaches: Frequent or severe headaches can occur, affecting your daily life.
- Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy can pose risks, especially when operating machinery or driving.
- Throat pain: Experiencing soreness or discomfort in the throat can be a side effect, potentially complicating swallowing and eating.
- Hoarseness: Your voice might become raspy or weak, indicating irritation or an effect on the throat or vocal cords.
Serious Side Effects of Dupixent
While rare, there are serious side effects associated with Dupixent that require immediate medical attention:
- Allergic reactions: Signs of a serious allergic reaction include hives, a swollen face, and difficulty breathing. This is a medical emergency.
- Asthma-related symptoms: If you have asthma and your breathing becomes more difficult after starting Dupixent, you should seek medical help right away.
- Joint pain and inflammation: In rare cases, Dupixent can cause significant joint pain or swelling that might be debilitating.
Managing and Mitigating Side Effects of Dupixent
If you’re taking Dupixent and experience side effects, there are ways to manage or mitigate them:
- Report to your healthcare provider: Always inform your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience, especially if they are severe or do not go away.
- Follow injection instructions: Proper injection technique can reduce the risk of injection site reactions.
- Eye care: If you develop eye symptoms, consult with an eye specialist. Keeping your eyes clean and using lubricating eye drops can help.
- Monitor for infections: Given Dupixent’s impact on the immune system, watch for signs of infections and report them to your doctor.
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
It’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Persistent or severe side effects.
- Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction.
- Signs of an infection, such as fever, chills, or persistent sore throat.
- Any sudden changes in your mood, behavior, or mental health.
Your healthcare provider can suggest guidance, adjust your treatment plan, or provide interventions to manage side effects effectively.
1. Can Dupixent cure my eczema? Dupixent is not a cure for eczema but can significantly reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.
2. How long does it take for Dupixent to work? The time varies among individuals, but some may see improvements in their symptoms within a few weeks, while for others, it may take longer.
3. Is it safe to stop taking Dupixent if I experience side effects? You should not stop taking Dupixent without first discussing it with your healthcare provider, as they will guide you on the best course of action.
In a nutshell, Dupixent has been a game-changer for many people suffering from severe eczema, asthma, or nasal polyposis, offering them relief from symptoms and a better quality of life. However, being aware of potential side effects and knowing how to manage them can help you make the most of this treatment while minimizing its downsides.