4 Ways to Make Your PsA Treatment More Effective
It took me years to find an effective treatment, but that didn't come without a significant amount of trial and error before finding a medication that works for me. I also realized that there may not be one sole remedy to help relieve my symptoms. Throughout this 20 year journey, I realized that managing PsA takes a combination of therapies, and there is no one size fits all. Oftentimes, I've found that in order to maximize my relief I have to incorporate multiple methods. Check out these tips I've learned along the way to enhance your relief and make your treatment for psoriatic disease more effective.
We live in a microwave society, meaning we want results and we want them NOW. Unfortunately finding relief from psoriatic disease oftentimes takes perseverance and patience. Twenty-two years ago, when I was initially diagnosed with psoriasis as a child, the only options available to me where topical treatments and phototherapy. I loathed topical treatments because they required consistent use 2-3 times a day. The reality is some treatments take months to work and will only do so with consistent and regular use. I've found a lot of treatments have failed me because of lack of compliance.
If you find you cannot not use a treatment as directed, make it your goal to find something that you can stick to and is suitable for your lifestyle. For me personally, topical treatments are no longer an option because I cannot commit to applying lotions 2-3 times a day every day, but a biologic that only requires my attention every month with fast results is more my speed.
Try combination therapy
You may have to combine your therapies in order to keep your psoriasis under control. Psoriatic disease has two aspects to the disease: the joints and the skin. The reality is you need something which targets and slows down the skin cell growth and something with targets the joint pain and inflammation. Although there are more drugs on the horizon designed specifically for psoriatic disease, currently it's a difficult task to find one single treatment that helps both, which is why combination therapy is important.
If you don't see a difference in 3-6 months, switch treatments
Almost 10 years ago, I used my first biologic for eight months. The treatment required me to have one shot every week. Unfortunately, I saw zero results. As you can imagine, I was extremely disappointed. Week to week I continued to give myself the shot in hopes that eventually I would see change. In the end, I wasted a lot of time, money, and put myself at risk for side effects which didn't come with any benefits. If you are using a treatment and my 3 months you don't see results it's time to speak with your doctor about other options. If the treatment isn't working by 6 months it's fair to assume that option is not the option for you, and it's time for a change.
Ensure there's effective communication between your dermatologist and rheumatologist
Living with psoriatic disease will most likely require you to see at least two different doctors. I recently learned that insurance won't approve a medicine that has only been approved for psoriasis if a rheumatologist prescribes it. A dermatologist doesn't have to really deal with that obstacle because most treatments designed for psoriatic disease were first approved solely for psoriasis without the arthritis component. The communication between your doctors is imperative for your success towards remission of your disease. I would suggest choosing a rheumatologist and dermatologist within the same hospital network or receiving a referral from one of your doctors. These two doctors are going to have to work together on your behalf to provide the best and most effective treatment.
Were you ever misdiagnosed before being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA)?