I am getting tired and frustrated with my health insurance provider. Really. On December 15, 2017 my dermatologist, Dr. Maverakis, prescribed a home narrowband Uphototherapy unit. This unit, costing about five-thousand dollars, would treat both my psoriasis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). But about 100 days later insurance says no. Again.
March 5th finally arrived--injection day. The time came for the fifth dose of Tremfya (guselkumab) twenty-eight weeks after starting this treatment journey with it in August. As I waited for the medication to warm up for a few minutes my thoughts began to wander. Would I take Tremfya if my insurance didn't pay for the approximately ten thousand dollars per injection? Is there any chance for even greater improvement as I go into the second half of a year taking it? Will any long-term side effects eventually pop up if I take Tremfya over a long period?
I looked forward to my first dermatology appointment at 1:30 p.m. I drove into town around 12:30 to give myself plenty of time. Then it dawned on me. My dermatology appointment was at 11:30 a.m., not 1:30 p.m. Thankfully, the clinic staff showed kindness and allowed me to still see the new dermatologist and get the treatment I sought.
24 weeks ago on Monday, August 21, 2017, I took my first injection of Tremfya (guselkumab) to treat my severe psoriasis. That day I witnessed a solar eclipse as I drove to the dermatology clinic in Sacramento. I recalled the day in grade school (February 26, 1979) when the last total solar eclipse occurred in the Northern Hemisphere. That's around the time when the first psoriasis lesions emerged on my skin. Almost forty years later, would Tremfya finally be the treatment to eclipse the nagging psoriasis all over my skin? A pattern has emerged.
I started my Tremfya (guselkumab) journey on Monday, August 21, 2017. On December 11, after three injections (week 0, 4, 12), I reached that interim endpoint of 16 weeks. Here I evaluate my experience so far with Tremfya, including efficacy, side effects, and how I'm feeling overall. The "verdicts" in this post reflect a moment in time, and certainly are not final.