Lately I have been wondering about my biological treatment for psoriasis and when (if ever) to stop treatment. I have written about my negative experiences as a result of biological treatment, including increased infections — but also about enjoying the full body clearance it has given me.
In the back of my mind, I am also concerned about a lack of data surrounding open-ended treatment with immunosuppressants — it is unclear what the consequences will be if I stay on this drug long-term, given the relative newness of the treatment. At this point, I have a strong curiosity about just stopping the drug. Alongside biological treatment, I have been doing work surrounding stress management and healing my gut, which I am hoping will contribute to the healing of my psoriasis.
Until I stop biological treatment, I will never know the impact these things are having. In a dream scenario, I could stop biological treatment and something within my body would have shifted enough that I stay clear. There is not a lot of information out there on anyone who has tried this and succeeded.
Of course, there are risks associated with simply stopping my biologic now that my psoriasis has gone into remission. There is the chance that the sudden elimination of this drug could bring on a flare-up. The bottom line is, it’s impossible to predict how my body will respond if I discontinue my treatment. Still, the benefits are alluring. If I am able to safely eliminate my biologic, I could expect monetary savings, increased comfort due to fewer infections, and the stress relief of not being on a drug that, frankly, scares me.
I am interested in experimenting with stopping my biologic, but the timing will be paramount. If it is going to cause a flare, I want to be in a place where I can handle it (i.e., less stressed and with more time to devote to staying comfortable through the flare).
As a teacher, I am considering summer break as a time when I might try to wean myself off the biologic. Promisingly, there is some evidence that although biologics leave your system in a matter of weeks, they can have a lasting impact on the inflammatory response that characterizes psoriasis. Moving forward, my plan is to talk to my doctor about how my body might be affected with a change in treatment and to go from there.