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Remicade — His Miracle
from Jason P.

Ed, I have known about and enjoyed your web site for quite some time but have never written.  I am 27 and have had psoriasis since I was 19.  Like most of your readers I have undergone every possible treatment to help control psoriasis.  Steroids didn't really help (although Skin-cap worked very well).  Tegison didn't work.  Methotrexate helped but caused elevated liver function tests.  Soriatane helped when taken while undergoing PUVA, but neither treatment worked on its own (I couldn't stand PUVA anyway — made me feel very sick).  Neoral (cyclosporine) was amazing and cleared me completely.  However, as you probably already know, Neoral isn't approved for long-term use so I had to get off of it. 

So my P came back full bore and continued as such for about a year.  I was allowed to go back on Neoral and experienced maybe a 70% improvement.  My arms, legs, and scalp cleared for the most part but the big patch on my stomach remained (although the itching wasn't nearly as bad).  After about 6 months the Neoral just seemed to quit working and my P started to come back. 

Well, in February of this year my doctor wrote a letter to my insurance company and was able to convince them to incur the cost of Remicade infusions.  Let me just say that Remicade is an absolute miracle drug. 

One week after my first infusion I already began to notice my skin clearing up.  One week after my second infusion I was probably fifty percent clear.  The third infusion put me over the top and I am now completely clear except for some skin discoloration where the plaques used to be. 

I couldn't be happier. 

I started the Remicade infusions exactly 6 weeks before my wife and I and some friends of ours were to leave for vacation in Jamaica.  I was covered from head to toe at that point and was completely clear by the time we left for Montego Bay.  Talk about perfect timing! 

It has been eight weeks since that 3rd and final infusion and I have experienced no side effects and my P shows no signs of returning.  My derm is a personal friend of Alice Gottlieb, the doctor who led the Remicade/psoriasis studies.  He told me that based on her studies it is possible that I could be clear without any follow-up infusions for up to 8 months.  He is also keeping in contact with her to find out more information about setting up a treatment schedule for follow-up infusions in order to maximize sustained benefit.  I hope for all other psoriasis sufferers out there that Remicade is approved for treatment of psoriasis.  Once it is approved that should help make Remicade an outstanding option for psoriasis patients both medically and financially.  As a side note:  Total cost for the 3 infusions was just over $13,000.  Thank God my insurance company was willing to pay it. –Jason P.

*****

Ed’s Response:  The evidence keeps mounting.  Thanks for taking the time to share this with us, Jason. 

$13,000 is a lot to spend for 8-months of lesion-free living.  I anticipate the National Psoriasis Foundation will have its hands full building compelling arguments for the insurance companies.  I’m not sure many derms would take the time or be as persuasive as yours obviously did and was. 

It will also be interesting to see what the range of conditions of coverage will end up being.  One thing you had going for you was that long litany of things tried.  You weren’t over-stating the case when you said you’d tried ‘everything.’  (The Pagano Diet? — Just kidding.)  Will the insurance companies establish a policy requiring flakers to have exhausted some number (or exact list) of less expensive alternative therapies before they authorize Remicade? 

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, please keep us apprized of your condition, Jason.  We’ll be eager to learn how long your remission lasts.  It would be great to beat the anticipated 8 months, wouldn’t it!  -Ed

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