Living with a chronic skin condition can be challenging, both physically and emotionally. Psoriasis, a condition characterized by patches of red and raised areas of skin (plaques) can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Valley patient, Kathy, battled psoriasis for years and found healing and relief under the care of Laura Walsh, MD, PhD, at Valley’s Dermatology Clinic, and through a groundbreaking medication.
Kathy first noticed symptoms when she was 18 years old, unaware of the condition that would soon affect her life. Initially, she mistook her symptoms for leprosy, causing fear and uncertainty about her future. With time, Kathy became more informed about psoriasis and started to understand her condition.
Over the years, plaques appeared on her body and her scalp, causing distress and a sense of devastation. As a professional in the business world, Kathy tried to conceal her condition, “I would only wear long sleeves,” she said, since she felt the need to cover up her skin to avoid questions and judgment. The constant itchiness and the urge to scratch worsened her symptoms, leading to cracking and bleeding.
Psoriasis flare-ups can vary throughout the day and fluctuate over longer periods. Kathy recognized that stress played a significant role in making her symptoms worse. As a single mother of two children managing a demanding career, Kathy was regularly affected by stress, and this often increased the severity of her symptoms.
For years, Kathy took methotrexate once a week for her psoriasis. She found that after taking the medication, she would feel ill the next day and would have very low energy. She decided to take it on Friday nights and use Saturdays to recover, since she had the weekends off from work. Unfortunately, she also realized that it was a day lost to do activities with her kids.
Years later, Kathy found that she had breast cancer and had to stop taking methotrexate during her treatment. She managed her psoriasis symptoms with topical medications that she put on her skin and scalp. In recent years, her symptoms worsened and she sought care at Valley’s Dermatology Clinic, where she met Dr. Walsh. Kathy said, “Dr. Walsh was so empathetic, and she had done all of her research before I ever came in for my first appointment.”
Under Dr. Walsh’s care, Kathy began treatment with risankizumab, a new biologic medicine specifically developed for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. The medicine works by targeting the underlying causes of psoriasis, reducing inflammation, and allowing the skin to heal. Over time, she witnessed improvements in her skin’s appearance and texture. Her symptoms were effectively controlled and she was finding the relief she had longed for. Kathy no longer felt the need to hide her skin or live in constant discomfort. She shared what one of her sons recently said, “Mom, I’ve known all of my life that you’ve suffered with psoriasis, and I’ve seen you be sad about it; I’m so tickled about this (new medication) helping.”
“After years of dealing with psoriasis, it’s encouraging to see my patient experience relief with a new biologic medication. This treatment has noticeably improved her skin and overall well-being. It’s a testament to the progress we’re making in medical science while improving patients’ lives,” said Dr. Walsh.