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Managing symptoms from an autoimmune disease is difficult. One condition in particular, psoriatic arthritis, is especially challenging. A progressive form of inflammatory arthritis, it can cause swelling, stiffness and pain in and around the joints and can be difficult to diagnose, leaving individuals feeling helpless at the doctor’s office. That’s why it is important to be an advocate for yourself when talking to your physician about treatment options.
Psoriatic arthritis affects approximately 600,000 Americans and more than 12 million people worldwide, including Julie, a wife, mother of three and physical therapist. In 2015, Julie began noticing swollen joints, joint pain and “sausage digits,” also known as dactylitis, which included painful swelling of the fingers and toes. It would later be revealed to her that these symptoms are characteristic of psoriatic arthritis, and she was eventually able to find treatment with Taltz® (ixekizumab) injection 80 mg/mL. Learn more about patients like Julie and their experience with Taltz.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of psoriatic arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis can occur when an overactive immune system sends out faulty signals that cause inflammation, leading to swollen and painful joints and tendons. Psoriatic arthritis affects joints in the arms and legs, such as the elbows, wrists, hands and feet. If left untreated, it can cause permanent joint damage.
“I had tried to deal with the symptoms on my own. At a certain point, I decided that I needed to see a doctor because my joint symptoms were so severe that I hadn’t jogged a step in several months, which was a big deal for me because jogging is such a big part of my life.”
For Julie, being able to move and exercise made her feel physically better and helped her to emotionally recharge and be able to connect with her loved ones. “My daily walk or jog was my time to think, collect myself and just have some ‘me time’ so I could return home to my family recharged and refreshed.”
Aside from the fear of losing part of her identity as a jogger, Julie also began to notice daily pain and discomfort due to her psoriatic arthritis. Prior to treatment, she found herself hesitant to even attend her children’s sporting events because it was painful and uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time, and her feet and toes were so swollen and painful that walking up and down bleachers became a challenge.
Along with her joint pain and swelling, she noticed areas of plaque psoriasis on her scalp and back – another common symptom for people with psoriatic arthritis. Eventually, determined to find a treatment, she went to see her doctor about her symptoms and received a diagnosis.
Julie’s experience going to see her rheumatologist
Julie emphasized the importance of being an advocate for yourself and being open and honest with your physician about the impact your condition is having on you and letting them know if your current treatment isn’t working for you.
At a crossroads in her treatment journey, Julie went to her rheumatologist and shared that her current treatment was no longer working for her and she wanted to try something different. Julie’s rheumatologist suggested Taltz, and she was excited to learn there was another treatment option out there.
“When you realize psoriatic arthritis is a chronic condition, at first it feels like a gut punch. I will have to be managing this situation forever. It is crucial to be open in your discussions with your physician to find the best treatment that will work for you,” said Julie. “I didn’t know anybody who had been on Taltz. My doctor did, though, and that made me more comfortable treating my psoriatic arthritis with Taltz.”
Julie’s experience with Taltz
Julie connected with Taltz TogetherTM, a program that offers numerous resources, ranging from helping you get started on Taltz to giving you the tools you need throughout your treatment journey. The program helped Julie navigate the approval process with her insurance, and she recommends it to anyone who is worried about affordability of their treatment.
With Taltz, Julie soon began to feel relief. “I started taking Taltz in October 2019. I was expecting to have a positive experience with it given my rheumatologist’s recommendation, and as it turns out, my experience exceeded my expectations! Taltz has been the only medication that has taken care of both my joints and my skin. I felt significant relief from my joint pain and swelling, and for me that was remarkable.”
If you’re living with debilitating joint pain and swelling caused by psoriatic arthritis, it’s important to talk with your doctor about your symptoms and your treatment goals. As with all medications, individual results will vary and your doctor can help you find the treatment that is right for you.
Julie also shared a few tips on how those living with psoriatic arthritis or other chronic conditions can advocate for themselves at the doctor’s office:
- Feel empowered to let your doctor know about all your symptoms that might be unusual, not just the one that brought you in
- Ask for techniques on how to best manage your symptoms, including stress
- Tell your doctor what is and isn’t working for you; be open and honest with them
- Know that your feelings are validated – while it may be scary when you first receive a diagnosis, there are options that will help address your symptoms.
“I understand the feeling of being at a fork in the road with your treatment and not knowing how to proceed,” said Julie. “If the pain of psoriatic arthritis is causing you to miss out on things that are important to you, your doctor can be a great resource and partner to determine if Taltz is right for you.”
This article represents Julie’s personal experiences. Individual results may vary. In clinical trials more than half of people with active psoriatic arthritis taking Taltz experienced joint symptom improvement at 24 weeks. Some patients felt joint symptom relief as early as 1 week. And in a study of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, 90% of people saw significant improvement of their plaques at 12 weeks.
Julie was compensated for her time.
Important Facts About Taltz® (tol-ts). It is a prescription medicine also known as ixekizumab.
Taltz is an injectable medicine used to treat:
- People six years of age and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or treatment using ultraviolet or UV light (phototherapy).
- Adults with active psoriatic arthritis.
- Adults with active ankylosing spondylitis.
- Adults with active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with objective signs of inflammation.
It is not known if Taltz is safe and effective in children for conditions other than plaque psoriasis or in children under 6 years of age.
- Taltz affects the immune system. It may increase your risk of infections, which can be serious. Do not use Taltz if you have any symptoms of infection, unless your doctor tells you to. If you have a symptom after starting Taltz, call your doctor right away.
- Your doctor should check you for tuberculosis (TB) before you start Taltz, and watch you closely for signs of TB during and after treatment with Taltz.
- If you have TB, or had it in the past, your doctor may treat you for it before you start Taltz.
- Do not use Taltz if you have had a serious allergic reaction to ixekizumab or any other ingredient in Taltz, such as: swelling of your eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue or throat, trouble breathing, feeling faint, throat or chest tightness, or skin rash. Get emergency help right away if you have any of these reactions. See the Medication Guide that comes with Taltz for a list of ingredients.
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) can start or get worse with Taltz use. Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or if they get worse: stomach pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
- You should not get live vaccines while taking Taltz. You should get the vaccines you need before you start Taltz.
Common side effects
The most common side effects of Taltz include:
Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. You can report side effects at 1-800-FDA-1088 or www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Before you use Taltz, review these questions with your doctor:
- Are you being treated for an infection?
- Do you have an infection that does not go away or keeps coming back?
- Do you have TB or have you been in close contact with someone with TB?
- Do you have possible symptoms of an infection such as fever, cough, sores, diarrhea, or other
symptoms? Ask your doctor about other possible symptoms.
- Do you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis?
Tell your doctor if:
- You need any vaccines or have had one recently.
- You take prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
- You are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if Taltz can harm an unborn baby.
- You are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It is not known if Taltz passes into breastmilk.
How to take
See the instructions for use that come with Taltz. There you will find information about how to store, prepare, and inject Taltz. Adults may self-inject after receiving training from a healthcare provider.
For people under 18 years of age:
- Weighing less than 50 kg (i.e., 110 lb): Taltz must be given by a healthcare provider.
- Weighing more than 50 kg (i.e., 110 lb): If your healthcare provider decides that your caregiver may give your injections of Taltz at home, your caregiver should ask and receive training from a healthcare provider on the right way to prepare and inject Taltz.
For more information, call 1-800-545-5979 or go to taltz.com.
This summary provides basic information about Taltz and is not comprehensive. Read the information that comes with your prescription each time your prescription is filled. This information does not take the place of talking with your doctor. Be sure to talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about Taltz and how to take it. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide if Taltz is right for you.
IX CON BS 29MAY2020
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