Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Enbrel

Ed has inverse psoriasis, a form of the skin condition that happens where skin meets skin (or in his case, with the added location of his neck). He's always had severe eczema, but it appeared to switch over to this after his first bout with MSSA two years ago.

It looks horrible and painful, but it's not. It's a little unsightly, especially when others see the neck, but there really isn't much to cure it. Or there wasn't, until the release of a drug called Enbrel. The commercials started showing up on television about a year ago and they target an audience that is embarrassed about their skin.

The first thing in the long list of disclaimers is that it reduces one's immunity to illness. So, the first time we saw this commercial, both Ed and I thought that was not a risk to take. (This was before that his particular psoriasis was the Inverse variety.) He did some research of his own about Enbrel and psoriasis and found that those who have the inverse form also have a very active immune system.

We realized in retrospect that yes, he'd had a lot less colds in the previous couple of years, but didn't really think much more about it. He lives with it and goes about his days.

Then, he spent two weeks in the hospital with MSSA, strep C and acinetobacter infections. Not fun. He's still recovering here at home. These are scary infections, but each time a health care professional saw the inverse psoriasis, they asked the same things, namely "doesn't that hurt?", "are you taking anything to treat that?" and "are you sure that's not a fungal infection?" His answers were no, no and no.

Then when the questions came about not taking medication, his response was always along the lines "I can take Enbrel. Can you imagine what kind of shape I'd be in right now if my immune system was suppressed?"

Right now, I'm glad that the Enbrel ads give the laundry list of disclaimers and they were intimidating enough that Ed wouldn't even consider asking a dermatologist for it to treat his psoriasis. And if you're considering Enbrel to treat your psoriasis, please consider those disclaimers seriously before you do.

As for me, I'm really glad that Ed's home and didn't deal with more severe ramifications from taking that medication when the nasty infections took hold in his body!

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