Stelara’s Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Amber R. Watson, PharmD

Stelara: Introduction

Stelara is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug ustekinumab. It belongs to a class of biologic drugs (drugs made from parts of living organisms) called monoclonal antibodies. Specifically, Stelara is known as an interleukin inhibitor. Stelara is not available in a biosimilar form.*

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain active† forms of the following inflammatory conditions:

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Stelara’s dosage and details on how to administer the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Stelara, view this article.

* A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name biologic drug (the parent drug).
† The term “active” means there is ongoing inflammation and mild to severe symptoms. A period of low or no inflammation is called remission. If the condition is in remission, you may experience fewer or less severe symptoms.

Finding a healthcare professional

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

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Stelara. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Stelara that’s best for you.

Stelara: Dosage

This section describes the commonly recommended dosages for Stelara. However, your doctor will prescribe the Stelara dosage that’s right for you.

Stelara’s forms and strengths

The following table shows Stelara’s forms, its strengths, and how each is given. The form you’ll use depends on the condition Stelara is being prescribed to treat and your dosage.

Form Administration Strength
solution in a prefilled syringe subcutaneous injection 45 milligrams per 0.5 milliliters (mg/mL)
solution in a prefilled syringe subcutaneous injection 90 mg/mL
solution in prefilled vial subcutaneous injection 45 mg/0.5 mL
solution in prefilled vial IV infusion 130 mg/26 mL

Typical recommended adult dosages

Usually, doctors prescribe a high dose of Stelara at the start of treatment. This is called the loading dose. It helps to quickly reach a therapeutic level of the drug in your body. The therapeutic level is the concentration of the drug that treats your condition and manages your symptoms.

Your doctor will lower your dosage after you’ve received your loading dose. This lower dosage is called the maintenance dose. It keeps a consistent amount of the drug in your body.

The sections below describe the recommended dosages for Stelara in adults. Note that some dosages are based on your body weight in kilograms (kg). (For reference, 1 kg equals approximately 2.2 pounds [lb].) In this case, your doctor will determine what dosage is best for you based on how much you weigh.

Stelara dosage for plaque psoriasis

The dosage for plaque psoriasis is based on your body weight. For this use, Stelara is given as a subcutaneous injection. (For details, see the “Stelara: How it’s administered” section below.)

The following table shows the typical recommended dosages for adults.

Body weight in kg Body weight in lb Loading dosage Maintenance dosage
100 kg or less 220 lb or less 45 mg, followed by another 45 mg dose 4 weeks later 45 mg every 12 weeks
more than 100 kg more than 220 lb 90 mg, followed by another 90 mg dose 4 weeks later 90 mg every 12 weeks

Stelara dosage for psoriatic arthritis

The typical recommended dosage for psoriatic arthritis in adults is shown in the table below. If you also have plaque psoriasis, your doctor will determine your dosage based on your body weight. The drug is administered by subcutaneous injection.

Condition Body weight in kg Body weight in lb Loading dosage Maintenance dosage
psoriatic arthritis any body weight any body weight 45 mg, followed by another 45 mg dose 4 weeks later 45 mg every 12 weeks
psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis 100 kg or less 220 lb or less 45 mg, followed by another 45 mg dose 4 weeks later 45 mg every 12 weeks
psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis more than 100 kg more than 220 lb 90 mg, followed by another 90 mg dose 4 weeks later 90 mg every 12 weeks

Stelara dosage for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

The dosages for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the same. They’re based on your body weight. A healthcare professional will administer your first loading dose by an IV infusion. You or a caregiver will administer your remaining doses by subcutaneous injection.

The following table shows the typical recommended dosages for adults.

Body weight in kg Body weight in lb Loading dosage Maintenance dosage
55 kg or less 121 lb or less 260 mg, followed by a 90 mg dose 8 weeks later 90 mg every 8 weeks
more than 55 kg, up to 85 kg more than 121 lb, up to 187 lb 390 mg, followed by a 90 mg dose 8 weeks later 90 mg every 8 weeks
more than 85 kg more than 187 lb 520 mg, followed by a 90 mg dose 8 weeks later 90 mg every 8 weeks

Typical recommended children’s dosage

The sections below show the recommended children’s dosages for Stelara. Note that the dosage depends on a child’s body weight in kilograms (kg). (For reference, 1 kg equals approximately 2.2 pounds [lb].) A child’s doctor will determine the child’s dosage based on how much they weigh.

As with adult dosages, children’s dosages include a loading dose and maintenance doses. (To learn more, see the “Typical recommended adult dosages” section above.)

Stelara dosage for plaque psoriasis

Stelara is used for plaque psoriasis in children ages 6 years and older. For this use, Stelara is given by subcutaneous injection.

The table below shows the typical recommended dosages for children.

Body weight in kg Body weight in lb Loading dosage Maintenance dosage
less than 60 kg less than 132 lb 0.75 mg/kg, followed by another 0.75 mg/kg dose 4 weeks later 0.75 mg/kg every 12 weeks
more than 60 kg, up to 100 kg more than 132 lb, up to 220 lb 45 mg, followed by another 45 mg dose 4 weeks later 45 mg every 12 weeks
more than 100 kg more than 220 lb 90 mg, followed by another 90 mg dose 4 weeks later 90 mg every 12 weeks

Stelara dosage for psoriatic arthritis

Stelara is used to treat psoriatic arthritis alone or in combination with plaque psoriasis in children ages 6 years and older. The drug is given by subcutaneous injection.

The table below shows the typical recommended dosages for children.

Condition Body weight in kg Body weight in lb Loading dosage Maintenance dosage
psoriatic arthritis less than 60 kg less than 132 lb 0.75 mg/kg, followed by another 0.75 mg/kg dose 4 weeks later 0.75 mg/kg every 12 weeks
psoriatic arthritis 60 kg or more 132 lb or more 45 mg, followed by another 45 mg dose 4 weeks later 45 mg every 12 weeks
psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis more than 100 kg more than 220 lb 90 mg, followed by another 90 mg dose 4 weeks later 90 mg every 12 weeks

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Stelara 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.

Stelara: Common questions about dosage

The following common questions relate to Stelara’s dosage.

Is Stelara dosage calculated by weight?

Yes, Stelara’s dosage is calculated based on body weight for most conditions it treats. In these situations, your doctor will determine the right dosage for you based on how much you weigh. To learn about other factors that determine Stelara’s dosage, see the “Stelara: Dosage considerations” section below.

If you have additional questions about Stelara’s dosage, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Will I receive my Stelara dose every 4 weeks?

It depends. If you’re taking Stelara to treat plaque psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you’ll receive the first two doses of Stelara 4 weeks apart. Then, you’ll receive a dose every 12 weeks. If you’re taking Stelara for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you’ll receive a dose every 8 weeks.

For details about Stelara’s dosing frequency, view the tables in the “Stelara Dosage” section above.

For more information about the timing of your Stelara doses, ask your doctor to explain your dosage schedule.

Stelara: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Stelara. These factors include:

  • the form of Stelara you’ll take
  • the condition you’re taking Stelara to treat
  • your age
  • your weight

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Doctors typically adjust the dosage of Stelara if it’s used to treat psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis together. For details, refer to the “Stelara: Dosage” section above.

Stelara: How it’s administered

Stelara comes as a solution for IV infusion* or subcutaneous injection.

A healthcare professional will administer your IV infusion at a doctor’s office, hospital, or infusion center. It takes at least an hour.

You or a caregiver will administer the subcutaneous injections after a healthcare professional shows you how to do it.

Additionally, Stelara’s manufacturer provides step-by-step instructions on how to give self-injections. You can view the instructions and watch a video about it here.

Note that the injection goes under the skin in any of the following body areas:

  • buttocks
  • abdomen
  • thighs
  • upper arms if a caregiver injects it

You’ll need to pick a new area of skin for each injection. Take care to avoid areas that are bruised, tender, discolored, or hard.

* An IV infusion of Stelara is necessary only for its use in treating Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If you’re taking Stelara for one of these conditions, your first dose is given by IV infusion. All other doses are given by subcutaneous injection.

ACCESSIBLE DRUG LABELS AND CONTAINERS

If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They may also offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

Stelara: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Stelara, you should call your doctor. They can tell you whether to take the missed dose or skip it. If you miss your infusion* appointment, call as soon as possible to reschedule it.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

* An IV infusion of Stelara is necessary only for its use in treating Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If you’re taking Stelara for one of these conditions, your first dose is given by IV infusion. All other doses are given by subcutaneous injection.

Stelara: Overdose

For some drugs, administering more than the recommended dosage may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose. Do not administer more Stelara than your doctor prescribes.

For information about Stelara’s side effects, read this article.

What to do if you take too much Stelara

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

Stelara: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you want additional information about Stelara’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Stelara that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Stelara dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Stelara with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Stelara. For comprehensive details on Stelara, see this article.
  • Drug comparisons. To learn how Stelara compares with Cosentyx, read this article.
  • Information on side effects. If you’d like to know about possible side effects of Stelara, view this article.
  • Cost and savings options. For information about Stelara’s cost and ways to save on your prescription, read this article.
  • Details about Stelara’s uses. To learn more about the conditions Stelara’s used to treat, refer to the following articles:

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: Amber R. Watson, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2023 Feb 2
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