Being diagnosed with psoriasis is complicated enough. You’ve just been told that you have a disease that doesn’t have a cure…yet. How about learning psoriasis has five different types it can be categorized as, and you have no idea where you fit in? Or you find out that psoriasis is genetic, yet no one in your family has it. How about hearing that there are numerous treatment options out there (biologics, steroids, light therapy, oral tablets, tar baths), and you have no idea where to begin?
I’m here to tell you that it does get easier, I promise! Now that you have that out of the way. Let’s talk about biologics as a treatment option.
Deciding whether or not you should begin biologics will be a decision that you make with your doctor. To help you on your journey, I’ve listed out the top seven things to know when beginning biologics.
Talk to your dermatologist and determine how long you will be on it. Understanding the long-term plan of your treatment will help tremendously in managing your psoriasis.
Make sure it fits your schedule. Most biologics require weekly doses or injections that should not be missed. This means either going to a doctor’s office when you need the injection or being comfortable enough to have someone else or even you do the injection. (So planning ahead is crucial!)
Understand the side effects. All medications have side effects, including biologics. Make sure you understand the side effects of your biologic. If you have questions, make sure to discuss these concerns with your doctor.
Talk to other psoriasis patients who have gone through the treatment but understand your journey will be different. Hearing from other psoriasis patients (the good, the bad and the ugly) will help ease your fears after you’ve googled “worst side effects from [insert biologics].” It also leads me to my next point.
Have a good support system within the psoriasis community. This is vital, not only while you’re starting biologics but throughout your entire psoriasis journey. You can connect with real-life psoriasis patients who know and understand your struggle. Including them in your support system with your family and friends will be the best decision you can make. The HealthCentral Psoriasis Community on Facebook, the National Psoriasis Foundation One-to-One program and Overcoming Psoriasis group on Facebook are great places to start.
Keep a journal. If you haven’t already, start journaling now. This will help you understand how your body is responding to the treatment. You can also jot down any questions or concerns you might have that your doctor can answer at your next appointment. Check out the Day One journal app to get you started.
Don’t stop the treatment just because you are all clear. Make sure you continue the treatment for as long as you and your doctor have discussed. Many want to stop just because their psoriasis has cleared, but that’s the worse thing you can do. Finishing the treatment will help with efficacy and understanding how your body is or isn’t responding to the treatment.
Beginning biologics can be scary. But that’s what we here at HealthCentral are for. To calm your fears, equip you with the right type of information and make sure you are set on the road to managing your psoriasis in a happy and healthy way.
Have you just started a biologic? Let’s us know how it’s going below, we’d love to hear from you!
Sabrina Skiles is a fashion, lifestyle, and psoriasis blogger. She started her blog, Homegrown Houston, as a platform for her love of fashion, offering a style resource for those living with psoriasis. She also shares her adventures (and mishaps!) in motherhood and marriage. In managing psoriasis for the last 15 years, Sabrina has had experience with a wide range of treatments and environments – so she understands and reflects many of the day-to-day challenges psoriasis patients face. Sabrina is also a volunteer mentor and coach for the National Psoriasis Foundation, providing guidance for those newly diagnosed.