Living With Psoriatic Arthritis? Tips to Manage Your Symptoms
Posted: July 29, 2022 | Word Count: 1,729
Sponsored by Janssen
Imagine finding simple tasks, such as getting out of bed, dressing yourself or turning a faucet on and off, difficult to do because they’re too painful.1 That’s what a typical day can feel like for people living with active psoriatic arthritis (PsA). About 1.5 million Americans are living with PsA, and although patients may experience symptoms differently, the condition can often interfere with basic daily activities.1,2
Active PsA is a chronic condition that occurs when your body's immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, which causes inflammation in the joints as well as overproduction of skin cells. 3 Common symptoms of active PsA include joint stiffness, pain and swelling.4 Some patients with active PsA can also experience fatigue, which is an underestimated and underreported concern that can interfere with daily life. 4-6
PsA symptoms can vary and differ in severity from patient to patient, so it’s critical for healthcare providers and patients to have an open dialogue to build a personalized management plan together. 4 A PsA management plan may incorporate lifestyle changes as well as medication potentially to help address the disease symptoms.
“The symptoms of active psoriatic arthritis may be hard to describe or feel invisible at times, but that doesn’t make them any less real,” said Soumya D. Chakravarty, MD, PhD, Senior Director, Strategic Lead, Rheumatology Therapeutic Area at Janssen. “PsA can have debilitating effects on the lives of patients. It’s important for patients to speak about symptoms with their rheumatologist because there are strategies they can implement to help see improvement.”
Here are some top tips for managing symptoms of PsA:
Consider a Healthy Diet
While there isn’t a specific diet for PsA, research shows that certain foods can help reduce inflammation in the body, which contributes to the disease.7 Consider incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and healthy fats like fish and avocado, while reducing foods like fatty red meats, dairy, refined sugars and processed foods. 7,8
Think About Finding a Workout That Feels Good
Exercise while living with active PsA can feel daunting, but physical activity has many benefits, including helping to maintain a healthy weight, taking extra pressure off painful joints, keeping joints flexible and increasing endorphins, which can provide an energy boost. 8,9 Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider or a physical therapist about a workout routine that is right for you. As a general guide, try to target 30 minutes of movement each day if you’re able and consider lower impact workouts. 8
Lean On a Support System
For people living with PsA, the disease can have an impact beyond just physical symptoms. 10 Connecting with other patients who understand what you’re experiencing, whether in a support group or an online community, can help if you’re feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood or isolated. 10
Start a Dialogue With Your Healthcare Provider About Treatment Options
In addition to physical tests to assess the severity of your PsA, rheumatologists are also building treatment plans based on outcomes that are more personally significant to patients.6 “It’s important to speak openly with your rheumatologist because there are treatments that may help improve PsA symptoms,” said Dr. Chakravarty.
Be sure to describe your symptoms — such as joint pain, stiffness and swelling — with specific details about how they impact your daily activities. Also, let your rheumatologist know if you are experiencing fatigue from your active PsA. This information will help them develop an individualized treatment plan that is right for you, which may include a biologic therapy, such as TREMFYA® (guselkumab) — a prescription medicine used to treat adults with active PsA. Talk to your doctor to see if TREMFYA® is appropriate for you. TREMFYA® is the first FDA-approved medication of its kind to selectively block interleukin 23 (IL-23), one of the key proteins thought to be responsible for symptoms of PsA. TREMFYA® can help reduce the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling that make everyday tasks harder to do. In two medical studies, more than half of patients treated with TREMFYA® had at least a 20% improvement in joint pain, stiffness, and swelling at 24 weeks. Furthermore, at 24 weeks, people taking TREMFYA® showed an overall improvement in their ability to perform daily activities such as getting dressed, eating and walking. Some patients also reported improvement in fatigue as measured by the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy – Fatigue (FACIT-F), a questionnaire to measure self-reported tiredness, weakness, and difficulty conducting usual activities due to fatigue.
TREMFYA® is not for everyone; only your doctor can decide if it’s right for you. Do not use if you are allergic to TREMFYA®. TREMFYA® is a prescription medicine that may cause serious side effects, including serious allergic reactions and infections. It affects your immune system and may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. Patients should be instructed to seek medical advice if signs and symptoms of clinically important chronic or acute infection occur. Patients should also be evaluated for tuberculosis before being treated with TREMFYA®. Please read the Important Safety Information and the Medication Guide for TREMFYA® available at www.tremfya.com to learn more about these and other risks for TREMFYA®. Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.
Coping with PsA can be overwhelming at times, but as difficult as it may be, don’t get discouraged. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to PsA management and it’s important to remember you have options. There are various steps you can take with your rheumatologist to help alleviate symptoms and better manage the disease.
WHAT IS TREMFYA®? (guselkumab)
TREMFYA® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet or UV light).
TREMFYA® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with active psoriatic arthritis.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about TREMFYA®?
TREMFYA® is a prescription medicine that may cause serious side effects, including:
- Serious Allergic Reactions. Stop using TREMFYA® and get emergency medical help right away if you develop any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
- fainting, dizziness, feeling lightheaded (low blood pressure)
- swelling of your face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue or throat
- trouble breathing or throat tightness
- chest tightness
- skin rash, hives
- Infections. TREMFYA® may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. Your healthcare provider should check you for infections and tuberculosis (TB) before starting treatment with TREMFYA® and may treat you for TB before you begin treatment with TREMFYA® if you have a history of TB or have active TB. Your healthcare provider should watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during and after treatment with TREMFYA®.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection, including:
- fever, sweats, or chills
- muscle aches
- weight loss
- warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body different from your psoriasis
- diarrhea or stomach pain
- shortness of breath
- blood in your phlegm (mucus)
- burning when you urinate or urinating more often than normal
Do not take TREMFYA® if you have had a serious allergic reaction to guselkumab or any of the ingredients in TREMFYA®.
Before using TREMFYA®, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
- have any of the conditions or symptoms listed in the section “What is the most important information I should know about TREMFYA®?”
- have an infection that does not go away or that keeps coming back.
- have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB.
- have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). You should avoid receiving live vaccines during treatment with TREMFYA®.
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TREMFYA® can harm your unborn baby.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if TREMFYA® passes into your breast milk.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
What are the possible side effects of TREMFYA®?
TREMFYA® may cause serious side effects. See “What is the most important information I should know about TREMFYA®?”
The most common side effects of TREMFYA® include: upper respiratory infections, headache, injection site reactions, joint pain (arthralgia), diarrhea, stomach flu (gastroenteritis), fungal skin infections, herpes simplex infections, and bronchitis.
These are not all the possible side effects of TREMFYA®. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Use TREMFYA® exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to use it.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
- Kavanaugh, A., Helliwell, P., & Ritchlin, C. T. Psoriatic Arthritis and Burden of Disease: Patient Perspectives from the Population-Based Multinational Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (MAPP) Survey. Rheumatology and therapy, 3(1), 91–102. (2016). Accessed April 1, 2022. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40744-016-0029-z
- Johns Hopkins. Psoriatic Arthritis. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/arthritis-info/psoriatic-arthritis/#:%7E:text=What%20is%20Psoriatic%20Arthritis%3F,may%20also%20affect%20the%20spine.
- Mayo Clinic. Psoriatic Arthritis. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriatic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354076.
- National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriatic Arthritis. Accessed June 1, 2022. https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriatic-arthritis/.
- CreakyJoints. What Does Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue Really Feel Like? Accessed June 1, 2022. https://creakyjoints.org/about-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psa-symptoms/what-psoriatic-arthritis-fatigue-feels-like/
- Nowell, W.B., Gavigan, K., Kannowski, C.L. et al. Which Patient-Reported Outcomes Do Rheumatology Patients Find Important to Track Digitally? A Real-World Longitudinal Study in ArthritisPower. Arthritis Res Ther 23, 53 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13075-021-02430-0
- National Psoriasis Foundation. What’s the Deal with the Anti-Inflammatory Diet? Accessed June 1, 2022. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/whats-the-deal-with-the-anti-inflammatory-diet/.
- Arthritis Foundation. Psoriatic Arthritis Self-Care Tips. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/more-about/psoriatic-arthritis-self-care-tips.
- Creaky Joints. Psoriatic Arthritis Fatigue: 20+ Daily Routine Changes to Improve Energy. Accessed April 1, 2022. https://creakyjoints.org/about-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psa-healthy-living/psoriatic-arthritis-fatigue-routine-changes/.
- CreakyJoints. Psoriatic Arthritis and Mental Health: Link to Depression, Anxiety, Fatigue. Accessed June 1, 2022. https://creakyjoints.org/about-arthritis/psoriatic-arthritis/psa-treatment/psoriatic-arthritis-mental-health/.