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Patient and Expert Perspectives From the “I LUV YA for the Long Haul” Plaque Psoriasis Campaign

Feature
Article

Omar Noor, MD, and a patient with psoriasis share their unique perspectives on moderate to severe plaque psoriasis treatment with tildrakizumab.

Cast of Sun Pharma campaign | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Image credit: Sun Pharma

The “I LUV YA for the Long Haul” campaign from Sun Pharma focuses on the experiences of patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis by allowing patients to “describe their experiences of empowerment and love while achieving success with ILUMYA” through a series of videos. One of the important themes of the campaign is focusing on not just the visible or physical symptoms of plaque psoriasis, but the emotional impact as well.1

To better understand the direct emotional impact, Dermatology Times spoke with Mark, a real ILUMYA (tildrakizumab) patient and advocate of the “I LUV YA for the Long Haul” campaign. For the physician's perspective, Omar Noor, MD, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in New York and New Jersey, co-owner of Rao Dermatology, and a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisory Board member, revealed how he addresses the emotional burden of moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in his patients.

Patient Perspective

ILUMYA patient, Mark | Image credit: Sun Pharma

ILUMYA patient, Mark | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Dermatology Times: As someone who has grown up with plaque psoriasis and has had it throughout different stages of your life, what were some of the hardest mental challenges you faced? What were some of the hardest physical challenges you faced?

Mark: I was first diagnosed at the age of seven with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis when I was in the 2nd grade. By the 3rd and 4th grades, my classmates became increasingly inquisitive, asking about the patches of psoriasis they could see, especially on my arms and face. Those questions would continue throughout my school years.

I felt pressured by both friends and family to go swimming. At that point, I had become accustomed to hiding my psoriasis. Rather than wearing shorts, I would always wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts. At home, as a kid, I had my own set of bed sheets which became blood-stained from the constant itching and scratching.

To this day I still have scars on my arms where my plaques would crack open and bleed. As a high school sophomore, PE class was mandatory. Showering after PE was also a requirement, which created no small amount of anxiety on my part. There were three or four class bullies who would taunt and harass me while in the shower or on my way back to the lockers. They came up with some not-so-special nicknames for me which were especially cruel and demeaning. Having such severe psoriasis affected my confidence with girls in general. Being in situations where my psoriasis plaques could be seen or touched, affected my social life. I went on very few dates. I internalized a lot of stress and anxiety over the years.

Dermatology Times: Throughout your years with plaque psoriasis, did you regularly see a dermatologist? If yes, what did your treatment regime look like before tildrakizumab (ILUMYA)? If not, what kept you from regularly seeing a dermatologist?

Mark: As a kid in the early 60s, my first dermatologist put me on topical steroids and even suggested that I cover the affected areas of my skin in plastic wrap. This never seemed practical, as I had so much surface area to cover. In the mid-60s, I first tried UV light therapy in my dermatologist’s office. The UV lamps were small, thus making light treatments slow, tedious, and mostly ineffective. I continued trying UV light therapy and various topical treatments before switching to biologics as they became available to me. Then, my doctor put me on ILUMYA.

Behind the scenes with Mark | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Behind the scenes with Mark | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Dermatology Times: What is the benefit in your personal life of having tildrakizumab as an injection and not a topical cream or pill?

Mark: Unfortunately, the topical creams and ointments could never control my psoriasis and I found that UV therapy damaged my skin over time.

I’ve tried almost everything to get my psoriasis under control – my skin was nearly 95% covered from the top of my head to my ankles, ears, and knees – so I knew I needed something different. That’s when I got introduced to biologics and eventually switched to ILUMYA because it is covered under Medicare Part B.

Dermatology Times: What would you want dermatologists to know about your struggle with plaque psoriasis and how they can help other patients?

Mark: As someone who has lived with the condition nearly his whole life, my message to dermatologists out there is to please educate yourself about the emotional impact that psoriasis may have on your patients, especially children and young adults. It is also important to make yourselves aware of the financial options available for those patients who may have inadequate insurance, no insurance, or who otherwise lack the ability to pay for their treatment.

Expert Perspective With Omar Noor, MD

Omar Noor, MD | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Omar Noor, MD | Image credit: Sun Pharma

Dermatology Times: In your experience, what are some of the mental challenges that your patients face with plaque psoriasis?

Noor: Because moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis is a condition that is often very visible on the skin, it’s not uncommon for my patients to express feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. In addition, psoriasis can be triggered by stress, which can create a frustrating cycle. The emotional impact can even extend to patients unknowingly thinking their rash is contagious to their children or even asking to have limbs amputated due to their psoriasis. This impacts patients’ ability to grow, develop relationships, and be functional.

Dermatology Times: Do you ever recommend or involve mental health services for patients with severe plaques?

Noor: As a dermatologist, my job is to help my patients treat their skin conditions, including moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. As part of that process, I do talk with my patients about their overall health and, sometimes, I may refer them to a licensed mental health practitioner such as a psychiatrist. It is our responsibility as dermatologists and physicians to take care of our patients completely and holistically. It is more than just their skin disease; it is who they are that we are here to help.

Dermatology Times: In your opinion, what is the benefit for patients of tildrakizumab as an injection and not a topical cream or pill? What patient characteristics or disease factors make someone a good candidate for tildrakizumab?

Noor: ILUMYA is a great option for my patients because the dosing schedule means they only have to come in a few times a year, after receiving their two starter doses. ILUMYA works well for my patients. This way, they can get back to enjoying their life. For those who love to travel or have a busy schedule, an injection like ILUMYA is sometimes easier than carrying around tubes of medication or multiple pills. Plus, it’s fully covered under Medicare Part B with a supplement which is important for my patients over the age of 65.

Dermatology Times: How does tildrakizumab compare in terms of PASI 75, 90, and 100 responses compared to other IL-23 inhibitors?

Noor: Medicine is an art, and every individual is not the same. So many times, people ask “What would you do for ‘X’ condition?” I am not a vending machine, and there is no singular answer for a disease or for every person. Everyone is built differently and responds differently to every medication, hence all of our options.

ILUMYA has been an extremely effective and even safer biologic for my moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis patients who have responded very well in my practice. It would be difficult for me to parse or compare between different biologic options for my patients, but I can say confidently that my ILUMYA patients are happy and doing very well on their treatment.

Dermatology Times: As a physician, what do you see as the benefit of the “I LUV YA for The Long Haul” campaign?

Noor: I’m proud to be a part of this campaign because “I LUV YA for The Long Haul” hits on what I’ve been hearing from my patients for years. Moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis doesn’t have to be a lonely, frustrating journey, so I am excited to be part of this campaign sharing stories from patients like Mark, Todd, and Sheila who have finally found the right treatment for them. The biggest takeaway is to communicate with your physicians and work as a TEAM for your health. Moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory condition that requires safe and effective treatment, over the long haul.

What has been your experience with prescribing tildrakizumab for plaque psoriasis? Email DTEditor@mmhgroup.com for a chance to be featured

Reference

  1. Plaque psoriasis patient stories. Sun Pharma. Accessed June 17, 2024. https://www.ilumya.com/plaque-psoriasis-patient-stories
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