10:14 PM — Remicade and Enbrel?
Does anyone here have experience with the drugs infliximab
(Remicade®) or etanercept
(Enbrel®)? As you may have seen from previous posts
, I have a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa
, or HS. (If you google it, expect some disturbing photos.) After having a flare-up (thankfully minor) while on a pseudo-honeymoon in London, I decided enough was enough already, and today I discussed treatment options with my dermatologist.
- Antibiotics work well for me on a short term basis, however they will likely lose effectiveness as time goes on, or else the HS will resurge when I go off them. I am currently on cephelaxin (Keflex®), and will be for 1-2 months, and we are reserving the big guns (levaquin) for a worse situation.
- Isotretinol (Accutane®) is a drug prescribed for severe acne, with proportionately severe side effects. You are guaranteed dry eyes and skin for the course of the medicine. Pregnancy MUST be avoided during the course, and for one month to one year afterwards, as >90% of pregnancies result in stillbirths while the unlucky few are born severely deformed and die quickly. The jury is out on whether accutane causes suicidal depression, with most doctors and legislators saying no, while a number of former patients said yes.
- And last but not least, anti-TNF-alpha drugs such as the aforementioned-but-not-discussed infliximab (Remicade®) or etanercept (Enbrel®). Those drugs act to stop T-cells from causing inflammation, and they are approved for use in arthritis and various other diseases I forget about. They are not approved for HS, but there have been a number of promising cases in the literature. You are more susceptable to infection, and it can rarely aggravate/trigger MS, lymph cancer, TB, or heart conditions (he'll check my cardiologist re: my heart murmur before prescribing). None of those seem like too big a deal though; the real kicker is the delivery method. I get two choices, either once-monthly IV infusions at a clinic, or twice-weekly self-administered sub-cutaneous injections (I stick a needle in my thigh). *ick* Oh and did I mention that insurance doesn't usually cover it? That would be a deal-breaker for me.
If you've had any experience w/ Remicade/Enbrel, for any condition but especially HS, I'd appreciate your input! :)