Tremfya is Approved: What Does That Mean for Psoriatic Arthritis Patients?
Is there any reason to have hope about the future when you live with psoriatic arthritis? Is it really all doom and gloom? And the only thing we have to look forward to is joint deterioration and pain? While it is good to be realistic about the possible future outcomes, at the same time, we can’t give in and give up the fight for better patient outcomes and a brighter future. Tremfya has been approved. But what doesn’t that mean for those of us with psoriatic arthritis and our treatment options?
Tremfya is approved
I just read a news release published by Janssen (a pharmaceutical company of Johnson and Johnson) about the recent approval of a new medication called Tremfya to treat and manage psoriatic arthritis.1 While clearly good news, I think there is something deeper going on that we need to remember.
A reason to hope
Each new medication that gets (safely) approved for use with psoriatic arthritis is a new reason to have hope for the future. I’m sure you are aware as much as I am that PsA doesn’t get nearly the attention and medical trials that other more known diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis get. Each new medication that gets approved keeps us in the game (so to speak). It means we have not been forgotten by the medical community.
Every medicine won’t work for everybody
Within our psoriatic arthritis community, we often discuss what different medications members of our community are on. What are the side effects? How long does it take to help? What was your experience? Throughout these conversations, we have learned so much about how to manage our disease. But we’ve also learned that what may work for one person may not work for another.
Finding the right treatment option for psoriatic arthritis is difficult
Psoriatic arthritis isn’t a disease that presents itself the same way for all of us. A friend of mine has found great success with Humira, but me? Not so much. I’ve tried over 5 different medications (and combinations thereof) before I found something that I can say reliably that I’ve had some measure of improvement with.
Some of us plow through even more than 5 before we hit on something that “works.” And let’s face it, there aren’t really all that many available medications to try. Each new one that gets improved increases our chances of FINALLY finding the right one for us.
Better improvement odds
As we likely know, PsA isn’t a “take your medicine and just get better” disease. It is a life-long, chronic disease that requires a ridiculous amount of trial and error to find something that will (at best) give us marginal to acceptable improvement in our symptoms, often for a limited amount of time. More options for medications and research gives us a greater opportunity to find a combination of medications, supplements, and lifestyle choices to give us the best odds of symptom improvement.
Longer lasting improvements
If you are lucky enough to find a medicine, or combination of medicines, to see a noticeable improvement in your symptoms, there is no guarantee of how long it will last. But with more treatment options available to those of us with psoriatic arthritis, the likelihood that we will experience longer-lasting improvements greatly increases.
I count most of my days, not by the day of the month or the week, rather I count them by the disease activity in my body. Is it good or bad? I know that most arthritis-free people don’t understand that. But I have to plan my entire day around how my body is behaving that particular day. If I can have more good days, for a longer amount of time, then that is my reason to continue to hope. And that is what the approval of Tremfya means, yet another reason to hope. Don’t give up yet, dear friends.
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