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The past year has been challenging for nearly everyone. Many are suffering from stressors related to health care, the economy and the political climate. Not to mention, a global health crisis is changing the way most of us live, work and interact with others. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), stress is a common trigger for many people living with chronic, immune conditions including psoriasis. Psoriasis affects the skin and nearly 125 million people are impacted worldwide. The most common form of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, which appears as raised, red patches covered with a silvery white buildup of dead skin cells.
Perry, a husband, father and professional woodworker, is one of the millions of people who lives with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. As an active family man who is passionate about his work, he has dealt with discomfort and day-to-day challenges due to his skin plaques. With compounding stressors bringing unprecedented challenges to those living with any chronic health condition, Perry shares four things to consider when managing psoriasis during uncertain times:
1. Understand the signs and symptoms of psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic, immune disease that occurs when the immune system is overactive. This causes new skin cells to grow too quickly. The most common result is red, scaly patches that form on your body which may begin in childhood or adulthood.
For Perry, these symptoms began on his scalp during childhood. “My plaque psoriasis started out on my scalp, but by high school, many areas of my body were covered.”
Perry’s job is labor intensive and requires him to work with his hands. His plaques cause discomfort in his profession and in his everyday movements.
“I was frustrated by my plaques,” he said. “Even activities like tying my shoes seemed too hard at times because my skin was constantly cracking and bleeding, and that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.”
Understanding the signs and symptoms of your psoriasis can help you have a productive conversation with your healthcare provider so you can find appropriate care and treatment.
2. Lean on loved ones for support
Because stress can often make psoriasis symptoms worse, the NPF suggests coping mechanisms such as meditation, exercise at the direction of your healthcare provider and seeking help from external sources or loved ones. With stay-at-home orders making it difficult to see friends and family in person, finding ways to speak with a loved one about how your chronic illness is affecting you and leaning on them for support can make you feel heard and understood.
Perry describes the uncomfortable feeling during the early days before his diagnosis. “Nobody wants to be treated like they are an outcast because plaque psoriasis symptoms look contagious.”
“For me, my wife is my person – she’s my biggest advocate and supporter. As a retired nurse, she has been so helpful in navigating doctor’s appointments and my insurance. Now that I’ve found relief from my bothersome symptoms, I’m more comfortable going out and doing activities like fishing and spending more time with my wife outdoors.”
3. Stay in touch with your doctor
Whether you’re visiting your doctor or healthcare provider in person or virtually, be sure to talk to them about your symptoms and options to continue your treatment during this difficult time.
“Taking the time for extra follow-ups with my doctor has ensured that I am sticking to my treatment plan and receiving the care that I need,” said Perry. “Even during the pandemic, I haven’t had any issues accessing my doctor and getting the answers I need.”
It is important for patients to discuss continuing treatment with their doctor as appropriate.
4. Learn about available treatment options like Taltz® (ixekizumab) injection 80 mg/mL
There are approved treatment options for psoriasis, including Taltz, and it is important to talk with your doctor to find one that is right for you.
“I wish that more patients felt comfortable asking their doctors about options, because they could be missing out on something that could work really well for them, potentially helping them achieve complete skin clearance,” said Perry.
After starting treatment with Taltz, Perry has seen clearance in the areas of his skin that were bothering him the most. He’s finally been able to get relief from the cracking and bleeding plaques on his skin.
“I was looking for complete skin clearance and my physician recommended Taltz. With completely clear skin, I am even wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts again, something I haven’t felt comfortable doing in years. I’ve rediscovered the hobbies I used to love in a new way now that I can do them without the discomfort I was experiencing when my psoriasis plaques covered my hands.”
If you have moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, talk to your doctor about Taltz to see if it is the right treatment for you.
This article represents Perry’s personal experiences. While Perry saw complete clearance with Taltz, individual results may vary. In clinical trials, up to 90 percent of people saw significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques and four out of 10 people achieved completely clear skin at 12 weeks.
Perry was compensated for his time.
PURPOSE AND SAFETY SUMMARY
Important Facts About Taltz® (tol-ts). It is a prescription medicine also known as ixekizumab.
Taltz is an injectable medicine used to treat:
- People six years of age and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or treatment using ultraviolet or UV light (phototherapy).
- Adults with active psoriatic arthritis.
- Adults with active ankylosing spondylitis.
- Adults with active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with objective signs of inflammation.
It is not known if Taltz is safe and effective in children for conditions other than plaque psoriasis or in children under 6 years of age.
- Taltz affects the immune system. It may increase your risk of infections, which can be serious. Do not use Taltz if you have any symptoms of infection, unless your doctor tells you to. If you have a symptom after starting Taltz, call your doctor right away.
- Your doctor should check you for tuberculosis (TB) before you start Taltz, and watch you closely for signs of TB during and after treatment with Taltz.
- If you have TB, or had it in the past, your doctor may treat you for it before you start Taltz.
- Do not use Taltz if you have had a serious allergic reaction to ixekizumab or any other ingredient in Taltz, such as: swelling of your eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue or throat, trouble breathing, feeling faint, throat or chest tightness, or skin rash. Get emergency help right away if you have any of these reactions. See the Medication Guide that comes with Taltz for a list of ingredients.
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) can start or get worse with Taltz use. Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or if they get worse: stomach pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
- You should not get live vaccines while taking Taltz. You should get the vaccines you need before you start Taltz.
Common side effects
The most common side effects of Taltz include:
Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. You can report side effects at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Before you use Taltz, review these questions with your doctor:
- Are you being treated for an infection?
- Do you have an infection that does not go away or keeps coming back?
- Do you have TB or have you been in close contact with someone with TB?
- Do you have possible symptoms of an infection such as fever, cough, sores, diarrhea, or other symptoms? Ask your doctor about other possible symptoms.
- Do you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis?
Tell your doctor if:
- You need any vaccines or have had one recently.
- You take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Taltz can harm an unborn baby.
- You are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It is not known if Taltz passes into breastmilk.
How to take
See the instructions for use that come with Taltz. There you will find information about how to store, prepare, and inject Taltz. Adults may self-inject after receiving training from a healthcare provider.
For people under 18 years of age:
- Weighing less than 50 kg (i.e., 110 lb): Taltz must be given by a healthcare provider.
- Weighing more than 50 kg (i.e., 110 lb): If your healthcare provider decides that your caregiver may give your injections of Taltz at home, your caregiver should ask and receive training from a healthcare provider on the right way to prepare and inject Taltz.
For more information, call 1-800-545-5979 or go to taltz.com.
This summary provides basic information about Taltz and is not comprehensive. Read the information that comes with your prescription each time your prescription is filled. This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about Taltz and how to take it. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide if Taltz is right for you.
Taltz® is a registered trademark owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries, or affiliates.
IX CON BS 29MAY2020
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