If you have ever looked into getting a biologic medication prescribed for your auto-immune disease, you will know just how EXPENSIVE they are. I am not talking “wow, that is kind of pricey” expensive, I’m talking about “wow, that is the same amount a year as my yearly salary” expensive.
In 2014, when I met my end with any other therapy I could get my hands on to alleviate my painful Psoriasis symptoms, a doctor that I was working at the time with mentioned that he worked alongside a dermatologist at Toronto Dermatology Centre that took part in clinical trials for various skin conditions. I had not heard of anything this before, but the consultation was free, so I though “why not?”.
I went for the consultation and was told I was a candidate for the double blind clinical trial that was comparing a new biologic medication with the already approved Humira medication. I would be getting free medication for approximately 3 years, along with constant monitoring and testing. I said yes and proceeded to start with the screening for the clinical trial. Throughout the trial I had continuous blood work, chest X-Rays, ECG monitoring, and physical exams to ensure I was healthy while on the trial medication.
The results were phenomenal! I went from about 70% plaque coverage to nearly 0% in just a matter of weeks! I felt like a new woman, it was crazy. I had no symptoms of Psoriasis or PsA at all. No fatigue, itchy scaling, sore joints… nothing! The only indicator that there were once large plaques on my body were the patches of hyper-pigmentation that occurred on the newly exposed spots of skin. This pigmentation was my fault though… I had been at a baseball game and got a bad sunburn… WHOOPS. It is never good to get a sunburn under any circumstances, but it is suggested to be extra cautious that you are covered and careful in the sun while on a biologic as it makes you more susceptible to skin damage and pigmentation.
Fast forward 4 years and I am now on a new double blind clinical trial here in Halifax in a different trial comparing a new medication to Stelara with Dr. Langley. So far I have had mixed feelings with this medication. In the beginning of the trial when I started getting the injections, it seemed like my Psoriasis was going away. My patches were less red and itchy, and my joints were way less sore. At around week 10 or 12 into the trial a few of my patches started coming back. I was growing more exhausted again, and my joints weren’t performing at the optimal comfort that they had been in the week prior. I feel defeated at this point!
I have approximately 7-8 months left in this current clinical trial, and I truly hope that my symptoms start to disappear again! It is a hard go when you are 25, but your body feels that of a 80-90 year old. I want to have more energy to do the things that I enjoy, and have the body strength to do them. I need to live my life!
In the end, my opinion is that clinical trials are amazing if you are patient and strong enough to endure the ups and downs of one. I highly suggest talking to your doctor about any and all treatment options that are available to you and see what options are the best for your personally, we are all different of course!