Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stelara For The Win

Last March, I wrote about switching to Stelara shots for my psoriasis.  I was worried about Stelara.  It is a pretty heavy immuno-suppressant, but as a pole dancer unable to use heavy creams or ointments to treat my skin condition, I was willing to give it a chance.

Well, eight months in, I have to say I like it!  I had my first shot in early April of 2012.  In the beginning, I got a shot every month.  Now I only go in every three months.  With Enbrel and Humira, I was able to give myself the shot at home with an epi-pen type device.  With Humira, I do have to go into the doctor's office, which is a little less convenient.  It also forces me to pay an office visit co-pay.  However, I have been able to qualify for assistance from the manufacturer of Stelara, so I haven't had to pay a co-pay for the drug at all. 

About two shots ago, my insurance changed how it handled the billing of the drug, so I was a month late in getting that shot.  I noticed a huge difference.  Even when I finally got the shot, my skin never fully cleared that round.  However, with the next shot, my skin went back to being clear. 

I haven't noticed being sick more often.  I do notice staying sick longer, though, if I happen to catch a cold.  So I try to be very careful around other sick people and I take echinacea to hopefully boost my immune system (although, one would wonder if taking something that supposedly boosts your immune system when you're taking something to purposely suppress it is counter-productive). 

I did find out the hard way how expensive a Stelara shot is if you lose your insurance.  I was told in September to look for a new job.  My former boss had offered to pay my medical insurance for the month of October.  He then "forgot" and canceled it without telling me.  The pharmacy mailed the shot to my doctor's office (waaaay earlier than it needed to be....Curascript mail pharmacy is really a shitty pharmacy; if anyone is looking for a mail pharmacy, I do not suggest them).  The claim was denied by my insurance company and I saw online that I was being charged almost $12,000 for that shot.  I opted for COBRA (with an over $700 premium) to avoid that bill. 

Anyway, these days my skin is pretty clear, and I don't have the lung problems like I did with past medications.  I am overly aware of people who are sick around me.  I also have to be super careful because I am more apt to catch tuberculosis.  But for the most part, I just live my life and am happy to have "regular" skin again. 

March 25, 2012
April 5, 2012
April 13, 2012 (after first shot)
May 3, 2012 (day of 2nd shot)

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