Psoriasis & Biologic Treatments
I have been on seven different biologics in the last 20 years. Before this miracle drug, I was in a lot of pain every day. I would scratch until I bled and mostly cried. There was no relief in sight for me.
I would have done anything just to be normal for one day. It’s hard to explain to people that you’re not contagious and no you can’t catch it by touching me. I had no self-esteem; I just wanted to go somewhere and die.
These new drugs change the whole game for me. My joints were feeling better and most of the stiffness was gone. I had less pain and the swelling was minimal, but all this came with a price.
The risks that come with biologics
Some of us were getting pneumonia and tuberculosis. We have all heard the stories over the years, but despite the concerns, we wanted more, and people are still wanting more to this day.
I don’t think we have turned a blind eye to this. We are all aware of the adverse effects of these drugs firsthand. I know I heard of cancer scares, and neurological signs years ago, but I just wanted to be alive for once.
I wanted to be like everyone else. I wasn’t thinking down the road to 20 years later; not only would I have my original condition back, but also some new conditions to add to that list because of my treatment.
The frustrating side effects of biologics
Biologics gave me my life back and a good quality of life at that. These drugs help with my PsA, but more so took me from being 80% covered in scales to 10%. I have had the best 20 years of my life despite what I am going through now.
I don’t want to “bad mouth” these drugs. They help so many people lived a good life, but there are a few of us that didn’t miss the bullet. Biologics work by blocking an inflammatory component of your immune system called TNF inhibitors.
The downside to this is that the drugs are messing with our immune system, so this makes us more vulnerable to infections, colds, and respiratory diseases. Each biologic is different with different risks, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about any dangers.
Protecting yourself while on biologics
The biologic I was on worsened my liver. In the 20 years, I have been on this medication, this is the first time I have had any issues. I am presently seeing a specialist to determine what my next step should be.
In the meantime, I am off-limits to biologics; not to mention that my insurance won’t pay now anyway. Here are a few ways to additional protect yourself while on biologics.
- Get a pneumonia vaccine
- Get a yearly flu shot
- Stay away from sick people
- Used soap and water to wash hands
- If you are around sick people, wear a mask
- Let all your doctors know that you take a biologic
You can still do these things and still get an infection. If anything feels different, contact your doctor right away. I had been tested 3 times for a symptom I was having and each time my doctor told me I was okay. There are times we have to question our doctors and ask questions.
Be your own best advocate
My takeaway on this is that you must be your own best advocate. Ask for what you need while being respectful and with a firm belief in yourself and your treatment.
No one can advocate for me as well as I can. Even if I’m sick, I’m my own cheerleader, coach, and biggest fan. It's worth the extra effort. I will never give up the fight.
How often do you experience brain fog?