(BPT) - Six years ago, 65-year-old grandmother and storyteller Nancy reached her breaking point. A full-time caregiver to her mother who was in hospice care, she began noticing an uncomfortable rash on her chest. After her mother passed away, her symptoms became severe and painful. Rashes and flakes covered the majority of her body – everywhere except her face.
An active and outgoing member of her community, Nancy noticed these symptoms were negatively impacting her lifestyle. She felt she looked contagious, was self-conscious about her skin and was in pain. Eventually, her sister took her to a clinic, where she was incorrectly diagnosed with a yeast infection and given ointment. She then visited a PA at the doctor’s office. By this time, all she could wear comfortably on her feet were men’s slippers. Once again, more ointment and no improvement.
“The symptoms had grown unbearable over the months, and I felt exhausted. I stopped doing my volunteer storytelling, swimming and going for walks,” said Nancy. “There was one week where I was entirely bedridden because of how inflamed my skin was. I was miserable and starting to lose hope.”
In tears, she drove herself to the emergency room and was immediately diagnosed with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. The doctor prescribed a steroid to help with the unbearable symptoms and told her to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
“When my sister and brother-in-law arrived at the hospital, they saw my chair covered in white flakes and that’s when it clicked for everyone just how serious this was,” said Nancy. “I knew I had to start advocating for myself.”
After meeting with a dermatologist, who started her on an oral medication and ointments, Nancy experienced an improvement in symptoms and was able to participate in some of the activities that she missed. However, Nancy continued to experience difficult flare-ups when she felt stressed; so she began researching biologic options for treating moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis and found ILUMYA® (tildrakizumab-asmn). ILUMYA® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections, pills (systemic therapy), or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet or UV light). She researched the most common side effects, which include upper respiratory infections, injection site redness and diarrhea.
She consulted with her dermatologist, who felt ILUMYA® was a promising treatment for her. Nancy was excited to learn that ILUMYA® would be covered for her under Medicare Part B. Soon after, she began treatment. While some patients might experience side effects such as upper respiratory infections, injection site reactions and diarrhea, she did not.
When Nancy’s skin started to clear, she returned to her favorite activities and became the Nancy that everyone around her remembered. She stopped missing important events and spent time with her family again.
“The first test was making it through the stressful holiday season without a flare-up,” said Nancy. “I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t have to worry as much about having flare-ups anymore.”
Nancy said she especially likes no longer having a constant reminder of her psoriasis by taking pills and using lotions daily. After the first two doses of ILUMYA®, she only receives an injection four times a year.
“If you are living with flare-ups, advocate for yourself. Find a dermatologist and speak to them about biologic treatments for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. It could be moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis, or it could be something else, but you will get an answer either way,” said Nancy.
For patients who are 65 years or older and covered under Medicare Part B, there are treatment options for you. To learn more about Nancy’s story and other ILUMYA® patients, visit www.ilumya.com/patient-stories.
What is ILUMYA?
ILUMYA® (tildrakizumab-asmn) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections, pills (systemic therapy), or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet or UV light).
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about ILUMYA?
Do not use ILUMYA if you have had a severe allergic reaction to ILUMYA or any of its ingredients.
Get emergency medical help right away if you get any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
- feel faint
- trouble breathing or throat tightness
- swelling of your face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue or throat
- chest tightness
- skin rash
ILUMYA is a medicine that may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. Your healthcare provider should check you for infections and tuberculosis (TB) before starting treatment with ILUMYA and may treat you for TB before you begin treatment with ILUMYA if you have a history of TB or have active TB. Your healthcare provider should watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during and after treatment with ILUMYA.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection, including:
- fever, sweats, or chills
- muscle aches
- weight loss
- warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body different from your psoriasis
- diarrhea or stomach pain
- shortness of breath
- burning when you urinate or urinating more often than normal
- blood in your phlegm (mucus)
Before receiving ILUMYA, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- have any of the conditions or symptoms listed in the section “What is the most important information I should know about ILUMYA?”
- have an infection that does not go away or that keeps coming back
- have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB
- recently received or are scheduled to receive a vaccine (immunization). You should avoid receiving live vaccines during treatment with ILUMYA.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if ILUMYA can harm your unborn baby.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if ILUMYA passes into your breast milk.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
It is not known if ILUMYA is safe and effective in children under 18 years of age.
What are the possible side effects of ILUMYA?
ILUMYA may cause serious side effects. See “What is the most important information I should know about ILUMYA?”
The most common side effects of ILUMYA include upper respiratory infections, injection site reactions and diarrhea. These are not all of the possible side effects of ILUMYA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You are encouraged to report any negative side effects of ILUMYA to FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088. You are also encouraged to report side effects or ADEs (adverse drug events) to our Drug Safety Department at 1-800-406-7984 or drug.safetyUSA@sunpharma.com (preferred) with as much information as available.