The Chang family trip this summer included a trip to Crater Lake, Oregon. I especially enjoyed the trip with improved psoriasis.
This week marks the sixteenth week since I started taking Skyrizi to treat my stubborn psoriasis. I took my first dose of two 75mg injections on May 31st. My second dose came four weeks later on June 28th and anxiously awaited results. Now I’m on every twelve-week dosing with the third dose this week.
A couple weeks ago I called the Accredo specialty pharmacy to see if they could deliver Skyrizi last Friday in anticipation of taking it this week. With travel to take my daughter to college scheduled at the end of the week I wanted to take it a few days early. My dermatologist agreed. I took the third dose on Monday.
With the third dose injected, and sixteen weeks into the new Skyrizi therapy, what’s the verdict?
I’ll use the same categories to evaluate Skyrizi that I used with Tremfya. Here’s my evaluation:
How well is Skyrizi working for me?
The Verdict: Not as good as hoped, but better than others.
I did start taking Skyrizi with super high expectations. The dermatologists I talked to recommended it to me. I read about how the effectiveness of Skyrizi topped other biologic medications. No question I wanted to try Skyrizi next with the hope that my psoriasis would magically clear.
About four weeks ago, around week 11, my skin flared horribly. My forearms, thighs, and became unbearable with deep red, peeling lesions. I couldn’t understand how such a flare could happen while on such a strong medication. It lasted over three weeks until finally the skin inflammation began to calm back to baseline.
The photos above of my back and legs were taken on July 19th around week 7. Below are photos of my back and legs on September 22nd at week 16. The improvement appears to be stable, although I had a bad flare in between from weeks 11-14.
Now that I look back and realize that no matter what medication I’m taking, I need to take better care of myself. High stress, weeks of insomnia, and poor eating habits no doubt contributed to the flare. I should not expect any medication, even Skyrizi, to stop any worsening of my skin—especially when I’m activating my triggers.
Still I have a fair amount of psoriasis on my body. My amateur eye thinks I might have about 75% improvement from baseline. Based on the photos above the improvement appears stable.
I look forward to asking my dermatologist later this week. Still, at week sixteen my skin is clearer than with other biologics. It’s not as good as I hoped, but I’m satisfied with the improvement.
As Dr. Carroll said, we’ll take what we can get. If I don’t need to take cyclosporine or methotrexate, and I can otherwise live my life without too much irritation, indeed I’ll take it.
Follow my Skyrizi journey!
What side effects have I experienced with Skyrizi?
The Verdict: Some after injection, otherwise not much.
Just as with Tremfya, Enbrel, and others, I feel a bit of dizziness, fatigue, and headache after injection. This last dose, though, it didn’t last as long as the first two doses. I can’t really report of any other side effects at this time. Of course, there are potential long-term effects that remain to be seen. But I’m encouraged that Skyrizi is a medicine I can take for a while without needing to stop due to adverse effects.
How am I feeling about Skyrizi? Will I continue taking Skyrizi?
The Verdict: I want to continue.
I do feel somewhat anxious about my ability to continue receiving Skyrizi. I am entertaining a career/job change to give myself more time to write, work with students, and possibly start a non-profit ministry a few years later. If I leave my post at church I would naturally give up my salary and health insurance,
Some charts show marginal continued improvement with Skyrizi past sixteen weeks. At least Skyrizi will maintain what improvement I have for a while. There’s no reason to stop taking Skyrizi at this point.
I think the change could be good for my health, though. The stress at church is getting to me and probably contributed to my flare. A break from constant work and responsibilities would be most welcome. With three kids in college, and an empty nest (for half a year anyhow) I would love to spend more time at home with Lori. We look forward to working on some projects together, which would also be fun and healing
Skyrizi took some weeks to start working, but once it did I received more psoriasis clearance than with other biologics. I’ve experienced minimal side effects and am not worried that I’d need stop taking it due to them.
Flares will still come and go, but I’m confident Skyrizi will help calm them down. In future posts I hope to report even more skin clearance so stay tuned!