TaltzTM (Ixekizumab) is an injectable medicine used to treat those 6 years of age and older with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. It is a biologic medication that affects the immune system by blocking the inflammatory protein IL-17A.
In addition to treating plaque psoriasis, TaltzTM is also prescribed for psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, as well as active non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis with objective signs of inflammation. Up to 90% of adult patients with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis taking TaltzTM achieved significantly clearer skin at 12 weeks. 4 out of 10 adult patients taking TaltzTM achieved completely clear skin at 12 weeks. Although TaltzTM is a self-injectable, 94% of adult patients agreed that the injector was easy to use and were confident in their ability to use it.
The most important thing to know is that TaltzTM can lower your ability to fight infections. Don’t use TaltzTM if you have any sign of infection, or if you have or have had a history of having TB. You should be tested for TB and hepatitis before taking TaltzTM. While you are on TaltzTM, it’s important to contact your doctor right away if you experience any infection or allergic symptoms.
There are other potential side effects. TaltzTM is linked to possible increases in cases of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, upper respiratory infections, and the reduction of white blood cells called neutropenia. The drug has not been studied in pregnant or nursing people, so if you are pregnant, nursing, or have the potential of becoming pregnant, you should discuss this with your doctor.
Costs and Course of Treatment
TaltzTM costs approximately $6,586 per injection, but the amount you pay will largely depend on your insurance plan. The normal course of treatment for adults with plaque psoriasis is two injections the first week, with one injection each on weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, with another injection every four weeks.
Our Recommendation: Use Caution and Conservatism
With any chronic health condition, a conservative care approach is best. What does that mean? It means working with your health care professional to find the root cause of your condition and then treating it with interventions that are the least intrusive, least damaging, but still provide the best results. More invasive and risky treatments, like high-risk pharmaceutical treatments, should only be contemplated when all other treatments have failed and only after all pros and cons have been carefully considered.
Unfortunately, for many patients with skin conditions, the available choices of prescription drugs often fail the conservative care test. Their side effects can be extreme, compromising your health in other areas. They can be cost-prohibitive, even with insurance. Worst of all, they typically manage or mask the symptoms of eczema, TSW, acne, or psoriasis versus treating the root cause. This means you will likely need to use these pharmaceuticals continuously.
So, if you have tried everything to no avail and find yourself at the crossroads on whether or not to embark on a new drug therapy, we offer one other alternative to consider that is safer: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal medicine.
What TCM Can Do
TCM not only reduces the symptoms of psoriasis for many patients, but it also treats the root cause and brings the whole health of patients back into balance so they can experience their healthy natural skin again. It has no negative side effects and provides results that last even after cessation of treatment, with no withdrawal symptoms.
Positive Side Effects with TCM?
The “side effects” of herbal medicine are actually very positive. Herbal medicine dermatology patients report that other health issues (insomnia, digestion, allergies, PMS, and more) have concurrently improved with treatment. This is because when we take into consideration every system that contributes to the skin, instead of just focusing on the surface skin symptom, we treat the whole body. Therefore, it makes sense that other body functions would improve as well.
The other positive aspect of herbal medicine treatment is that its goal is returning the skin to normal function so that you can stop all treatment and maintain your healthy natural skin without assistance. TCM is interested in condition resolution, not symptom management.
Protect Your Long-Term Health
If you’ve struggled with psoriasis for a long time, it can be tempting to reach for anything that promises instant relief. However, your long-term health and well-being are priceless beyond measure. You owe it to yourself to consult with more than one professional before embarking on a high-risk pharmaceutical therapy if your life is not at stake.
And if you are currently on any prescription drugs to manage your skin and are wondering if it’s the right long-term solution for you, know that it’s possible to wean off your prescription.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, DACM, Cert. TCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, and TSW. Olivia treats patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia is Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Acupuncturists, serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Group sponsored by the National Eczema Association.