The Pains and Gains of Biologic Treatment for Psoriasis
Last updated: December 2022
Psoriasis is treatable! Yeah, you heard that right, it is treatable. It's just not curable.
There is a drug that fights the root of psoriasis to eradicate it. You may have heard of them, these drugs are called biologics. You see there are so many of them out now, I started on a biologic about 20 years ago. There were only a few to pick from back in the day. They were a game-changer for me. My body went from being 70-80% covered to 90% clear.
How do biologics for psoriasis work?
Biologics are different from traditional systemic drugs that impact the entire immune system. Biologics only target specific parts of the immune system. The biologics used to treat psoriatic disease block the action of a specific type of immune cell called a T-cell.
Or they block proteins in the immune system, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 17-A, or interleukins 12 and 23. These cells and proteins all play a major role in developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).1
Biologics can have multiple indications. Often, they are indicated for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis but may include other types of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Your health care provider can help determine if biologics are the appropriate treatment for you.
Let's break down potential side effects
Despite the huge benefits of biologics as a promising treatment for psoriasis, it comes with some equally big risks. If you are planning to get biologics as a treatment, you should be aware of the side effects and risks as well.
Anyone considering taking a biologic should talk with his or her health care provider about the short - and long-term side effects and risks. It is important to weigh the risks against the benefits of using the drugs.
At the surface level, biologics can increase the risk of infection. If you develop any sign of an infection, such as a fever, cough, or flu-like symptoms, you should contact your health care provider right away.
On a greater level, the side effects of any treatment may lead to multiple sclerosis. Not only this, but it can also lead to cancer because, in the absence of the immune system as it is suppressed, there is no mechanism to fight the cancerous cells that keep building in our bodies.2
Other things to consider...
If you had any medical condition in the past, for instance, tuberculosis, it can come again as a side effect of biology treatment. Some of the common side effects include upper respiratory tract infection, fatigue, headache, infection at the site of injection, and diarrhea.2
If you are considering biologics as a treatment option, I ask you to discuss the following five factors with your doctor before making the decision.
- How much percentage of your skin has been affected by psoriasis?
- How much has psoriasis affected your life? Weigh it out against other risks.
- Consider your health history and it's ability to fight infection.
- Understand all treatment options outside of biologics
- Consider financial cost and weighing all impllication of side effects
All I'm saying, do your reseach.
Trust me, I am not trying to scare you, biologics have been a lifesaver for me. I have been on them for over 20 years now and wouldn’t change a thing.
I know that you're desperate for relief, I believe it's important to have all the information before making a life-changing decision. Our bodies have already been through so much. We have to stay informed and on top of research. I send my fellow psoriasis warriors strength and encourage you all to be aware, think smart, and decide well.
Is skin management a priority in your psoriasis experience? (Select all that apply)
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