Being your own best advocate while living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis
Posted: June 22, 2022 | Word Count: 2,283
Sponsored by Pfizer
Living with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) – also known as eczema – can be challenging. In addition to having the physical burden that includes flare-ups of red, itchy, painful skin, there is also the emotional and social impact.,,, Those living with eczema aren’t alone – in fact AD is one of the most common chronic inflammatory skin diseases, impacting people of all genders, races, ethnicities and ages.2,,, If you’re living with eczema, a proactive approach and self-advocacy can make a big difference in feeling empowered versus overpowered by your moderate-to-severe AD. Here are six ways to help you feel more confident and in control:
1. Take charge of living with eczema
You know your body best – if you think you have eczema or it may be worsening, speak up and consult with your doctor. Talk with your health care team about steps you can take to try to identify or eliminate triggers and irritants for your moderate-to-severe AD.2, Consider keeping a log of your symptoms and bringing this with you to doctor’s appointments to help understand what might be aggravating your skin. Openly sharing your concerns with your doctor may also help you to identify a treatment plan and options that might be helpful for you. A few simple steps now may make a big difference in how you look and feel in the future.
2. Establish a health care support team
Having a health care team you trust and feel comfortable with is critical. You should be able to speak candidly with your doctor and feel like you are being heard. If this is lacking, consider finding a different doctor, or getting a second opinion – many medical professionals even encourage this. Don’t hold back when it comes to finding the right fit for you.
3. Make the most of appointments
Whether in person or virtually, each appointment you have is an opportunity to see your physician and share the status of your eczema symptoms. But it's also an opportunity for you to ask questions about your eczema. Consider writing your concerns and questions down ahead of time and bringing the list to the appointment to ensure you don’t forget anything and nothing is overlooked. You may also want to capture pictures of the eczema on your skin to share with them. This preparation can help ensure you make the most of the time you may have with your doctor during the visit.
4. Understand your insurance process
Health insurance policies vary greatly. It's important to understand deductibles, copays and coverage before proceeding with any appointments or treatments, so you can plan accordingly. Call your health insurance provider to review the process and what you can expect, including prescription coverage.
5. Know you are not alone
Having moderate-to-severe AD can feel isolating but understand that you are not alone. Try to connect with others who are living with or caring for someone with the disease through support networks, advocacy groups or on social media. It may help to share your own experience with others.
6. Research and explore treatment options
Although there is no cure for eczema, there are different treatment options available depending on various factors, such as age and eczema severity., Current therapeutic approaches include applying over-the-counter moisturizers and emollients, or prescription topical, oral and injectable medications, and phototherapy.12 One option may be CIBINQO (abrocitinib) – a prescription medicine to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema (atopic dermatitis) that did not respond to other treatment and is not well controlled with prescription medicines, including biologics, or when they cannot be tolerated. Learn more at www.CIBINQO.com.
If you've had success with CIBINQO, consider sharing your story to help inspire others at www.CIBINQO.com/share-your-experience. It can feel great to make a positive impact for others, especially those who may be struggling.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION AND INDICATION FOR CIBINQO
CIBINQO may cause serious side effects, including:
Serious infections. CIBINQO can lower your immune system’s ability to fight infections. Do not start CIBINQO if you have any kind of infection unless your healthcare provider tells you it is okay. Serious infections, including tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses that can spread throughout the body, have occurred in people taking CIBINQO or other similar medicines. Some people have died from these infections. Your risk of developing shingles may increase while taking CIBINQO.
Your healthcare provider should test you for TB before treatment with CIBINQO and monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of TB infection during treatment.
Before and after starting CIBINQO, tell your doctor right away if you have an infection, are being treated for one, or have symptoms of an infection, including:
- fever, sweating, or chills
- muscle aches
- cough or shortness of breath
- blood in your phlegm
- weight loss
- warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body
- diarrhea or stomach pain
- burning when you urinate or urinating more often than usual
- feeling very tired
CIBINQO can make you more likely to get infections or worsen infections you have.
There is an increased risk of death in people 50 years and older who have at least one heart disease (cardiovascular) risk factor and are taking a Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor (such as CIBINQO).
Cancer and immune system problems. CIBINQO may increase your risk of certain cancers by changing the way your immune system works. Lymphoma and other cancers, including skin cancers, can happen. People, especially current or past smokers, have a higher risk of certain cancers, including lymphoma and lung cancers, while taking a JAK inhibitor. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice about having your skin checked for skin cancer during treatment. Limit the amount of time you spend in sunlight and avoid using tanning beds or sunlamps. When in the sun, wear protective clothing and use SPF 30+ sunscreen. This is especially important if you have very fair skin or a family history of skin cancer. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had any type of cancer.
There is an increased risk of major cardiovascular (CV) events such as heart attack, stroke or death in people 50 years and older who have at least one heart disease (CV) risk factor and are taking a JAK inhibitor, especially for current or past smokers.
Some people taking CIBINQO have had major cardiovascular events.
Get emergency help right away if you develop any symptoms of a heart attack or stroke while taking CIBINQO, including:
- discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back
- severe tightness, pain, pressure, or heaviness in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw
- pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- weakness in one part or on one side of your body
- slurred speech
- shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
- breaking out in a cold sweat
- nausea or vomiting
- feeling lightheaded
Blood clots. Blood clots in the veins of your legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT) or lungs (pulmonary embolism, PE) can happen in some people taking CIBINQO. This may be life-threatening. Blood clots in the veins of the legs and lungs have happened more often in people 50 years and older, with at least one heart disease (CV) risk factor, taking a JAK inhibitor. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had blood clots in the veins of your legs or lungs in the past.
Get medical help right away if you have any signs and symptoms of blood clots including swelling, pain, or tenderness in one or both legs; sudden, unexplained chest or upper back pain; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Changes in certain laboratory test results. Your doctor should do blood tests before and during treatment with CIBINQO to check your lymphocyte, neutrophil, red blood cell, and platelet counts. You should not take CIBINQO if these counts are too low. Your healthcare provider may stop treatment for a period of time if there are changes in these blood test results. You may also have changes in other laboratory tests, such as your blood cholesterol levels. Your doctor should do blood tests about 4 weeks after you start treatment and 4 weeks after any increase in dose to check blood cell counts and as often as needed for other laboratory tests.
During the first 3 months of treatment with CIBINQO, do not take medicines that prevent blood clots except low-dose aspirin (≤81 mg daily), if prescribed.
Before taking CIBINQO, tell your healthcare provider if you:
- have an infection, are being treated for one, or have one that won't go away or keeps returning
- have diabetes, chronic lung disease, HIV, or a weak immune system
- have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB
- have had shingles (herpes zoster)
- have had hepatitis B or hepatitis C
- live, have lived, or traveled to certain areas (such as Ohio & Mississippi River Valleys and the Southwest) where there is an increased chance for getting certain kinds of fungal infections. These infections may happen or worsen when taking CIBINQO. Ask your healthcare provider if you're unsure if you have lived in an area where these infections are common
- have had any type of cancer
- have had blood clots in the veins of your legs or lungs
- are a current or past smoker
- have had a heart attack, other heart problems, or stroke
- have kidney or liver problems
- have abnormal blood tests (low platelet count or white blood cell count)
- have any eye problems, including cataracts or retinal detachment
- have recently received or are scheduled to receive any vaccinations. People who take CIBINQO should not receive live vaccines
- are or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if CIBINQO will harm your unborn baby. Pfizer has a Pregnancy Exposure Registry for pregnant women who take CIBINQO to check your health and the health of your baby. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking CIBINQO, ask your healthcare provider how you can join this pregnancy registry or call 1-877-311-3770 to enroll
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if CIBINQO passes into your breast milk. You should not take CIBINQO while breastfeeding
- are taking other medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. CIBINQO and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take aspirin or any antiplatelet therapies. Ask your healthcare provider if you are unsure
The most common side effects of CIBINQO include common cold, nausea, headache, herpes simplex including cold sores, increased blood level of creatinine phosphokinase, dizziness, urinary tract infection, tiredness, acne, vomiting, mouth and throat pain, flu, stomach flu, bacterial skin infection, high blood pressure, allergic skin rash to something you contacted, stomach pain, shingles, and low platelet count.
CIBINQO may cause fertility problems in females, which may affect the ability of females to get pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about fertility.
Separation or tear to the lining of the back part of the eye (retinal detachment) has happened in people treated with CIBINQO. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any sudden changes in your vision.
These are not all of the possible side effects of CIBINQO.
What is CIBINQO (si-BINK-oh)?
CIBINQO (abrocitinib) is a prescription medicine to treat adults with moderate-to-severe eczema (atopic dermatitis) that did not respond to other treatment and is not well controlled with prescription medicines, including biologics, or when they cannot be tolerated.
It is not known if CIBINQO is safe and effective in children.
You are encouraged to report adverse events related to Pfizer products by calling 1-800-438-1985 (U.S. only). If you prefer, you may contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly. Visit www.fda.gov/MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
CIBINQO is available in 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg pills.
This article is sponsored by Pfizer Inc.
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