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Enbrel May Have Saved a Career
from Tony B.

Ed:  First of all, good site. Like everyone else, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.

I’m a 47 year old male. Have had Plaque P since `98. Mostly on my front and back torso, upper arms and scalp, and a couple spots on my upper leg and knees. I’m an entertainer (piano player/singer) and I live in Florida. I feel fortunate that it’s mostly on places that you can’t see. I can wear shorts but I don’t like to take my shirt off in public (though I will at an out of the way spot at the beach).

Anyway, a couple years ago I developed nail P and through my own research figured PA was not far behind. Unfortunately, I was right. My nails got badly disfigured to the point of compromising my piano playing. And the PA kicked in with a vengeance. I had problems with almost all my joints. Knees and shoulders were the worst. But it also affected my fingers and toes, hips, neck and upper back. I was in a lot of pain and scared that I was gonna be in a wheelchair by 50.

Now the good news. My derm told me I may be suffering needlessly and sent me to a Rheumy. This was around summer of 2002. The first drug to be discussed was MTX (methotrexate). Being in my business, I’ve done my share of drinking so this option wasn’t considered. I was glad ‘cause it sounds pretty toxic.

Next we discussed Remicade. In the workup for Remicade it was discovered that I had Hepatitis C, so for reasons I’m not sure of, Remicade was ruled out.

In the meantime (this all took awhile along with some health insurance runaround), Enbrel became readily available in the U.S.  I started on Enbrel in April ‘03. Two 25 mg injections a week. I was told to expect 2 to 6 months for good results. My knee pain went away the first day! Within 2 months the swelling was gone in all my joints and my nails were returning to normal. My skin is improving, but it’s a much slower progress. But I can see the difference.

I’m still on it and probably will be who knows how long. I still have P on my skin, although it is better. My nails are all the way back to normal. It hasn’t fixed everything, but my PA is a thing of the past. My life is drastically improved!

Will send a line from time to time to let you know how I`m doing. PA sufferers, there is hope.

Greetings from Sunny Florida, -Tony B


Ed’s Response: Indeed, Tony, you’ve got something new to sing about!  It makes me very happy to read stories like yours.  My delight over your story is compounded because it’s not just the fact that you were able to overcome P and PA using a drug that should be much safer than the alternative systemics (like MTX), but in a very real sense you also managed to save a career.  In contrast, if you haven’t already, read Worsening P Threatens Career in the archives.  This letter, submitted by a girlfriend of a classical musician who had severe P was written in 1999, nearly four years before biologics were an option.  We’ve come a long way.

I hope you will stay in touch as your Enbrel therapy continues. -Ed

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