An adult male feeling anxiety and constricted breathing stands in front of a shadow monster with a biologic injector.

Two Sides of Taking Psoriasis Medications

I sat at the table with my biologic injection in front of me. I allowed it to warm up to room temperature according to the directions inserted in the box.

A couple of minutes passed as I contemplated the effects of pushing that fluid through a needle under my skin and into my body. I looked forward to that moment and, at the same time, dreaded it.

Psoriasis symptoms versus medication side effects

I’ve grappled with the two sides of taking psoriasis medications for as long as I can remember. On one hand, I want to take a treatment engineered to stop the daily irritation and inflammation on my skin.

On the other hand, the anxiety of what adverse effects I might experience leaves me wondering if I should go ahead or not. Of course, I’d rather be on the side of not taking any medication or needing any treatment. Unfortunately, I don’t see that as an option in my current condition.

Working through past psoriasis treatment

In the past, when I experimented with stopping all psoriasis treatments, I ended up 95% covered in psoriatic plaques. I don’t feel I could go back to that level of physical discomfort and emotional turmoil.

I could tell people I’ve tried just about every psoriasis medication. With the recent innovations in psoriasis treatments, I can’t make this claim any longer. But I have tried countless topical applications, different phototherapy treatments, systemic pills, and six biologic injectables.

The great hope of a new psoriasis treatment

I desperately wanted each treatment to be a major contributor to managing my psoriasis over a long period of time. My hope would rise to a crescendo as I daydreamed of what I might do with clear skin. I reasoned that if a treatment passed the rigor of research and pharmaceutical trials, and if it helped others with psoriasis, then it could help me too.

As new treatments came to market, I pounced on the opportunity to try them. I eagerly scheduled my dermatology appointments just after a new medication became approved by the FDA. Doctors often told me I would be the first one in the clinic to receive a prescription pill or syringe.

The inevitable concerns of taking psoriasis medications

Invariably, though, that excitement of trying the latest or new treatment wore off. As much as medication might promise, I needed to really consider its potential downside. One downside is that it simply doesn’t work as well as I hoped.

It’s pretty amazing how some medications now report effectiveness in terms of how many who experience ninety percent or more improvement. I wonder, though, if I might not be one of those who respond as remarkably as others. The chance I’ll find myself back at square one after all it takes to get a specialty medication can feel unbearable.

What works for others might not work for me

A doctor might prescribe it, the insurance provider might authorize it, a pharmacy might fill it, but it still might not be as effective as I expect. I face this reality knowing that what works for others might not work for me. My other concern relates to a treatment’s potential adverse effects. When I first consider taking a new medication, I urgently look for the list detailing them.

The other day the pharmacist from the specialty pharmacy quizzed me about the potential side effects of my current biologic. I impressed her by quickly rattling off the top four most common ones.

Shaking off the medication anxieties

Since I’ve taken my current biologic for almost a year, I know how I normally feel after taking it. My notes remind me I might get a headache, feel tired or ill, or be susceptible to an infection of some sort. I record any reactions so I can identify whatever may need my doctor’s attention.

Until there’s a cure, I expect to be pressed between the two sides of wanting to treat my psoriasis and feeling concerned about a medication’s ineffectiveness or adverse effects. The scenarios run through my mind as I pause my phone’s stopwatch to grab the syringe.

The moment of injection

The moment I inject, the medication passes quickly as I methodically go through my routine. All that is left to do is clean up my table and wait to see what happens until the next scheduled treatment.

Please note that I do see and consult with my healthcare provider team regularly and work closely with them for my care. I encourage you to see your doctor if you are considering taking any medications/treatments or have concerns about current ones.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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