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— His Miracle
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
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
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.
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