This shop has been compensated by Inmar, Inc. and Ortho Dermatologics. I am working with the makers of DUOBRII in 2021. All opinions are mine alone. #ad #TryDUOBRII #DUOBRII I have been living with psoriasis going on 20 years, that’s two decades y’all. So I’d like to say I’m pretty well versed in living with and managing this chronic disease. But, what has been one of the hardest parts is finding the right psoriasis medication and how to talk to my dermatologist about it. This is my journey and how I did it in the past and the best ways to find the right psoriasis medication now.
You Must Start From The Very Beginning
Imagine a young girl in junior high school. Think of all the pressures she faces in the world daily: algebra, mean girls, awkward phases, boys, homework, and curfews. Now, add to those challenges red, flaky spots, which seem to come out of nowhere. This yields one very confused girl who was previously just trying to get through each day of junior high, but is now confronted with the difficulty of an incurable autoimmune disease. The spots first started to appear on my body and scalp in 2001. I had no idea what was happening. Sure, I was stressed—I was a girl in junior high school, starting to think about my future: to say I was stressed is an understatement. Could stress be the cause? Spoiler alert: stress is a major trigger for my psoriasis. But my mom had similar spots on her body, when she was the same age, that was later diagnosed as psoriasis. This had to be the same thing. The fact that my family and I knew that psoriasis was a genetic, autoimmune disease helped in knowing exactly who we needed to see.
After my college graduation in 2007, I experienced another major flare up. At the time we were living in Houston, TX, the medical capital of the world. It was a blessing because we were able to find the right dermatologist for me, one who actually specialized in psoriasis treatment, which is extremely important in the diagnosis journey. Within a few weeks of noticing the spots, my mom took me to the specialized dermatologist in the medical center. It didn’t take her long to confirm our initial self-diagnosis; the spots were psoriasis. My doctor talked with me about the disease and my treatment options. The most important aspect that she mentioned was that it not only affects the surface of the skin, but it affects the immune systems as well. I had a severe case of psoriasis covering my entire body so she suggested injectable biologics or tar baths. She explained that since I was young, my body would most likely respond well to the tar baths. She felt there was no need to begin biologic treatments just yet, as they had not been on the market long and their efficacy had yet to be proven. I understood all the options presented to me (having already educated myself quite a bit on the side effects of biologics) and I didn’t want to start down that road so early in my diagnosis. The decision was made that I would begin with the tar bath treatments. Though it was slightly inconvenient to get there so often, I visited the dermatologist’s office twice a week for one month, either before or after school. I sat in a tar bath for about 30 minutes, followed by a quick 10 minutes in a photo/light therapy booth and a tar treatment for my scalp. After a long and messy two months, my body was almost entirely clear from the red, flaky patches. I was happy. The doctor told me that psoriasis is an incurable disease, but I was still young and I still had that feeling of indestructibility. I was under the impression that I didn’t have psoriasis any more.
Looking back, I see now that this part of the initial diagnosis, the consultation, is perhaps the most important. It is best to see a dermatologist. Since psoriasis is incurable, being informed of the disease, how to manage it, and how to live with psoriasis is vital. I wish more emphasis had been put on the long-term effects of psoriasis, challenges, and different ways to stay up-to-date on the latest treatments, as well as a community or someone I could turn to when I was struggling. Throughout the next two decades tar baths, topicals and creams prescribed to me kept the outbreaks at bay. But, of course, my psoriasis was never cured, just in remission. I began to realize the immensity of what my body was undertaking as it tried to fight this autoimmune disease. At that point I decided to further educate myself on psoriasis. I read everything. Anything I could get my hands on relating to psoriasis — books, research studies published online, patient stories, doctors diagnosis of people at different intervals in their life and at what age they were diagnosed, connection to support groups, volunteering with the National Psoriasis Foundation and so much more. I discovered that even a few small changes could help to improve the severity and frequency of my outbreaks.
I implemented advice from medical professionals as well as tips I discovered from my own self-education. I was not (and had never been) a smoker. I eliminated processed and fatty foods. I decreased my alcohol and caffeine intake. Even with these adjustments to my lifestyle, I still saw no substantial changes in my psoriasis.
So What Now, Sabrina?
It’s now been 20 years since I was diagnosed with psoriasis. I have two young kids and have lived through a breast cancer diagnosis including chemo, radiation and currently undergoing hormone therapy. So it’s important to me to find the right psoriasis medication that will work with my life right now.
When I was asked about whether or not I knew or heard anything about DUOBRII®(halobetasol propionate and tazarotene) Lotion, 0.01%/0.045% from Ortho Dermatologics), I said no, I hadn’t heard of it. But being the empowered patient that I am, I wanted to learn more about DUOBRII Lotion for adults and how it could help me along in my psoriasis journey. (DUOBRII Lotion should not be used during pregnancy. Individual results may vary. Available by prescription only.)
So here’s what I’m learning:
•DUOBRII Lotion is made of two well-known ingredients that work together to treat plaque psoriasis, while each ingredient reduces the side effects of the other.
•The strong anti-inflammatory agent (halobetasol propionate) works to clear plaques, while the retinoid tazarotene (a Vitamin A derivative) helps extend the clearing process even after stopping treatment.
•DUOBRII Lotion is formulated with ingredients that allow it to keep the skin feeling moisturized for up to 24 hours, not leave a greasy residue and go on easily while feeling light on the skin.
•Most eligible commercially insured patients pay as little as a $25 co-pay. For eligible patients whose commercial insurance does not cover DUOBRII Lotion, patients will pay as little as a $65 co-pay. More on this and how I’ll approach my insurance carrier about approval for this.
•How long can the drug be used? Use once a day, only until your psoriasis is under control or as long as well tolerated. Stop treatment once skin is clear, and call your doctor about side effects.
When living with a chronic disease like plaque psoriasis, it’s so important, as the patient, to understand the disease itself, how it affects your immune system, how your triggers might be different from someone else, how your presentation of the disease may look different compared to someone else and why having an open and honest conversation with your dermatologist is vital.
And that includes talking to them about whether DUOBRII Lotion is the right fit for you. What really hit home for me when researching DUOBRII Lotion was going to their website and seeing the Understanding how psoriasis affects the skin section of their website (see below). First understanding this will help you in how to describe your presentation of the disease to your dermatologist, and really to your family and friends as well.
Also, watching the full video on how the strong antiinflammatory agent halobetasol works to clear plaques, while the retinoid tazarotene (a Vitamin A derivative) helps extend the clearing process.
Stay tuned to my journey in finding the right psoriasis medication, how I will talk to my dermatologist and oncologist about DUOBRII Lotion and how to navigate insurance approval as well. Make sure to check out DUOBRII Lotion and talk to your dermatologist to see if it’s the right fit for you.
What is DUOBRII® Lotion?
DUOBRII (halobetasol propionate and tazarotene) Lotion, 0.01%/0.045%, is a prescription medicine used on the skin (topical) to treat adults with plaque psoriasis. It is not known if DUOBRII Lotion is safe and effective in children.
Important Safety Information
● DUOBRII Lotion is for use on the skin only; do not use it in your mouth, eyes, or vagina. What is the most important Information I should know about DUOBRII Lotion?
DUOBRII Lotion may cause birth defects if used during pregnancy.
A negative pregnancy test must be obtained before females of child-bearing age start using DUOBRII Lotion and they must use effective birth control during treatment. Begin treatment during a normal menstrual period.
Stop using DUOBRII Lotion and tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while using DUOBRII Lotion.
Before you use DUOBRII Lotion, tell your healthcare provider if you:
● have eczema or any other skin problems, including skin infections, which may need to be treated before using DUOBRII.
● have diabetes, adrenal gland problems or liver problems.
● are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. If you use DUOBRII and breastfeed, do not apply DUOBRII to your nipple area.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
● Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take corticosteroids by mouth or injection or use other skin products that contain corticosteroids.
● Ask your healthcare provider for a list of medicines that may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
What should I avoid during treatment with DUOBRII?
● To avoid a severe sunburn, avoid sunlight, including sunlamps and tanning beds, as much as possible, and use sunscreen, protective clothing and a hat while in sunlight. Talk to your healthcare provider if you get sunburn, and do not use DUOBRII Lotion until your sunburn is healed.
● Avoid using DUOBRII on skin with eczema because it may cause severe irritation.
DUOBRII may cause side effects, including:
● If too much DUOBRII passes through your skin it can cause adrenal glands to stop working ● Cushing’s syndrome, a condition from too much exposure to the hormone cortisol
● High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
● Effects of growth and weight in children
● Skin irritation. If you get too much skin irritation at the site of application, your healthcare provider may tell you to interrupt or stop using DUOBRII or to use it less often.
● Vision problems, including an increased chance of developing cataracts and glaucoma. Tell your healthcare provider about any vision problems during treatment.
The most common side effects of DUOBRII Lotion include: redness, itching, swelling, burning, stinging, application site pain, inflamed hair follicles (folliculitis), thinning of the skin (atrophy), peeling and rash.
To report SUSPECTED ADVERSE REACTIONS, contact Ortho Dermatologics at 1-800-321-4576 or FDA at 1-800-FDA- 1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.
Please click here for full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.