psoriasis, Psoriasis Treatments

9 Weeks Done with Otezla. Keep Going?

Note: below includes a picture of the current condition of my psoriasis on my back and arms. 

I’m entering the time when I expect to see more results from Otezla at two months. I started this new-to-me medication on May 15th for my psoriasis, and hopefully eczema. Unfortunately, instead of improving, I feel more and more inflammation on my skin than I have in a long time.

I had a great exchange with my dermatologist about Otezla. His response when I mentioned Otezla in the conversation?


I’ve known all along it’s not his favorite medication. Still, I’m hoping that it kicks in soon so I don’t have to switch medications again.


My lower back and upper arms are particularly broken out as I taper off from cyclosporine and enter my 3rd month on Otezla.

Tapering Cyclosporine

I’m not sure how much to temper my expectations since I also started tapering from Neoral (cyclosporine).

Neoral is a strong immunosuppressor. So, I’m not surprised it works so well for both conditions. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to it, although I do like how much it keeps both psoriasis and eczema under control with relatively few noticable side effects. It’s hard to stop taking it for that reason.

This drug scares a lot of people, rightly so, as it comes with a long list of advserse effects, including kidney damage and hypertension. My body, though. tolerates it well. I’ve taken cyclosporine off and on for some years. The dermatologists allow me to go back on it after breaks partly because my labs come back mostly normal each time and it works for me. I’m sad to see it go.

Red Light, Green Light?

Stopping Otezla is also a difficult decision, but for another reason. What if it’s just days or a couple weeks away from reducing all this inflammation? I suffered the side effects for weeks and only recently do I feel they are not so severe. What if I persevered through all that insomnia, diarrhea, headache, and lost productivity for nothing?

If I don’t start something else soon, though, I could be covered in redness in a matter of weeks. If I do start another new medication, such as guselkumab that was FDA approved days ago, will that one work? How long might it take?

I’m not sure if I should give Otezla the red light or green light–even if only for a few more weeks.

It’s time to message my dermatologist again to see what he thinks I should do next if my condition doesn’t improve soon–although I already know what he thinks of Otezla. 🙄