A lot can happen in a couple of years. I’ve changed jobs, become an empty nester, and adjusted to (more forced into) pandemic life. But all through the past twenty-four months one thing has remained the same: Skyrizi.
I started taking Skyrizi to treat my psoriasis on May 31, 2019. With two years under my belt, I wanted to update how I’m doing and my experience with Skyrizi through a Q/A format.
Skyrizi is normally dosed at every twelve weeks with two syringes making up one dose. When I began I took a dose at week 0 and then at week 4. These two doses are considered a starter, or loading, dose. My next dose, a maintenance dose, was at week 16 (or 12 weeks after the week 4 loading dose).
In the first year of Skyrizi I needed to take an extra dose. My skin started breaking out to the point where I felt quite a bit of discomfort. The extra dose was provided by my dermatologist (she received it as a sample) since my previous health insurance provider would not cover it. That extra dose allowed me to take it every ten weeks.
After my last dose in late April my dermatologist submitted a request to my insurance for me to receive Skyrizi every 8 weeks. With the (surprise) approval by my new health insurance provider I’m excited to see how I do on this more frequent dosing schedule.
Convenient to Take Skyrizi?
Skyrizi is the sixth biologic I’ve tried, and it is among the most convenient. Amevive was the first, which I took in 2003. I had to go to the infusion center at the hospital to get it. Since then I’ve tried Enbrel, Humira, Stelara, and Tremfya. These other biologics either needed to be injected more frequently or by the nurse in the clinic. Now, though, with my every 8 week dosing it has a similar dosing profile as Tremfya.
Skyrizi is the sixth biologic I’ve tried, and it is among the most convenient.
Lori and I joined a Christian conference for graduate students in the beautiful Santa Cruz mountains. We found this prayer chapel during one of our walks. The trip marked our first weekend on leave from the church.
Happy New Year! I know it is almost mid-February, but it’s my first PsoHoward entry of the year. I’ve been quite busy preparing for a personal leave that started this month. Now that I will be on four-month break I hope to come back to writing regularly.
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.
I can’t believe I finished my third week of taking Skyrizi (Risankizumab). In the coming week I take my second dose. This dose is a loading dose administered at week four. The dosing moves into every twelve weeks thereafter.
The biggest questions I have when I take a new medication are if it will work, when it will start working, and will I have side effects. See below for my updated impressions on these three questions.
Will Skyrizi Work to Clear My Psoriasis?
This is a crystal ball question to be determined in the coming weeks. But if you make me give an answer of what I predict I’ll tend to take the pessimistic view. When a drug claims that X out of 10 people who took it during clinical trials reached PASI 75 or 90, or even cleared, I’m skeptical I would be one of them.
I’m usually the X out of ten that did not reach any notable level of psoriasis clearance. I know, I know. Past results do not predict future outcomes. Too many variables must play out before making any conclusions. My body changes over time. New medications have different mechanisms of action in my body than others. But I’ve faced disappointment after weeks and months of waiting on a new drug enough times to not get my hopes up.
In clinical trials, 3 out of 4 people achieved 90% clearer skin at four months, after just two doses
Of those, nearly 9 out of 10 sustained 90% clearer skin through one year
Also, 8 out of 10 people achieved clear or almost clear skin at four months, after just two doses.
Number 1 and 3 sound like the same results told in two different ways. Number 2 says that those who did respond sustained it after a year. Okay, awesome numbers to be sure. I just hope I’m not the 1 out of 4 or 10 who doesn’t get a great response.