psoriasis, Psoriasis Treatments

Skyrizi Week 6: Anxiously Awaiting Results

I’ve experienced a steady anxiety about Skyrizi the last few weeks. My expectations changed after I injected the second dose at week 4. With the next injection at 16 weeks, I figured the medication already in me must do the work.

A graph from the Skyrizi website show the percentage of those taking the medication reaching ninety percent improvement tapering off by week 16. For once I want to be part of that three out of four who get fantastic results from a psoriasis medication.

I Want It Gone Now

In my head I know I need to practice patience when it comes to psoriasis. Few medications work as quickly and effectively as I want. I want something like a Tylenol or Benadryl that starts working within the hour. What I typically get with these drugs is more waiting with less than stellar results at the end of months of waiting.

I don’t easily admit my impatience. I see myself as a veteran of these psoriasis wars—I’ve seen it all, and nothing surprises me. Expect little. Set the bar low to the ground. Manage expectations. All these platitudes mean well, but do little to curb the appetite that’s grown for something, anything, to truly knock down my psoriasis. The fact remains I’m no different than anybody with a severe chronic condition—I want it gone now.

Alas, it just doesn’t work that way (if it works at all). I want the rabbit, but many treatments act more like the turtle. Slow and steady wins the race, Aesop’s fable declares. But what if the turtle never makes it to the finish line?

Here are some photos comparing when I started Skyrizi and about six weeks later:

Photos of my right arm showing improvement after about six weeks. Left photo taken on July 19, 2019; Right photo on June 5, 2019 (first injection taken on May 31, 2019). Bottom: photos of my back on the same dates showing some improvement.

June 5, 2019
July 19, 2019

The Skyrizi Pattern (so far)

My anxiety ramped up when, at week four, my skin seemed worse than before. I couldn’t believe my eyes: brand new lesions popping up in places where I began to see the beginning of skin clearance. I’m not into signs, but I know enough that more psoriasis is not a good sign.

Then, seemingly overnight, everything calmed way down. My skin felt better, even if I could still see many spots. The lesions looked pinker, not red, and thinner. I figured here’s where Skyrizi takes over and leads me to full clearance.

Then the psoriasis broke out again on my arms and back not too long after. Of course I’m back to thinking that it’s not going to work at all. Catastrophic thoughts next lead to feeling like I need to stop Skyrizi and try something else. But then, about a week later, it improves again.

I began to wonder if this is the Skyrizi pattern for me. Like the stock market that doesn’t go up in a straight line, my condition improves, then worsens, then improves–with an overall upward trend line (hopefully).

I’m going to see my dermatologist soon. I’ll ask her about this pattern to get another perspective. For now I’ll avoid the catastrophic worries and let it run its course. If, at sixteen weeks, I’m still where I am today, then we’ll need to figure out what to do next.

Follow My Skyrizi Journey!

Starting Skyrizi for Psoriasis Week 0

Skyrizi Week 3: Questions Waiting to Be Answered

Adverse Effects Update

A big concern for me in taking any medication, no less a biologic, is adverse effects. So far so good on this front. The first week or so after injection I felt some headaches, light headed dizziness, slight mood changes, and fatigue. The first injection my asthma flared with something going on in my lungs. The second injection some asthma issues, but much less so.

I also worry about my eczema flaring as it has on other psoriasis medications. I still take my low dose narrowband ultraviolet light every other day, which keeps the eczema mostly under control. I can’t say with any certaintly that Skyrizi is impacting my eczema.

Certainly there are potentially long-term side effects to watch out for as well. But for now I am satisfied that adverse effects won’t stop me from taking Skyrizi for time being.

Watching and Waiting

For now I’m still watching and waiting on just how effective Skyrizi could be. I have low moments when my skin feels worse and I begin to despair. I have better moments when I feel good about the course I’m on despite not quite seeing the results I’d like to see. And more rarely so I’m excited about what life will be like when Skyrizi clears my skin one hundred percent–at least for a few years.

Time will certainly tell. Off to the dermatologist’s soon!