Bryan likes to compare his journey with psoriatic arthritis to training for and running a race. Even though there have been many times when he wanted to give up, he has always pushed through.
In his early 20s, Bryan underwent an extreme physical transformation. Years of unhealthy habits had led to him being extremely out of shape, and Bryan was determined to do something about it. He started running and lost weight quickly while building up his self-confidence. Running became one of the most important parts of his life.
“For everyone who said it was impossible, I proved them all wrong.”
Running kept him in great shape. But soon, Bryan’s health caught up with him again. At the age of 28, he began experiencing pain in his hands. He was treated with anti-inflammatories, but they didn’t help much, and he struggled with constant pain and inflammation over the next few years.
“The doctors didn’t know where the pain was coming from and couldn't identify how to treat it.”
Since changing his eating and exercise habits had helped in the past, Bryan attempted to fix his pain by eating gluten-free, but diet changes didn’t help. He still experienced joint pain and joint swelling. Bryan tried to keep going, to push through the pain.
At age 36, the toes on both of his feet began to swell. The pain was so bad that he limped when he walked. And before he knew it, his Achilles tendon hurt, too. Running was out of the question. In addition, one of his favorite things to do was to walk his son from the parking lot to the front door of his school each morning, and Bryan found he could barely do that.
“I’m not the type that cares what others think, but this was hard for my son. I wanted him to believe that I was the cool, tough dad.”
One day, Bryan woke up to find that his pain was so intense that he could barely walk. He began to think that all his health issues might be related and made an appointment with a rheumatologist who diagnosed him with psoriatic arthritis. She explained his treatment options: anti-inflammatories mixed with other medications. Bryan didn’t feel like these options were right for him and vowed to once again try to fix the pain himself.
Though he tried every natural and diet-related remedy, Bryan continued to experience chronic pain and swelling.
Bryan made an appointment with his father’s rheumatologist to get a second opinion and found the doctor for him. For a while, he treated his psoriatic arthritis with anti-inflammatories, but he was unable to tolerate the side effects and kept looking for other treatment options.
When he heard about Otezla, he brought it up with his doctor. They discussed the risks and benefits and decided to give it a try. Bryan was happy to hear that Otezla’s Prescribing Information has no requirement for routine lab monitoring—he hated getting his blood drawn.
Bryan started Otezla as soon as it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). His doctor informed him that in clinical studies, some patients responded to Otezla, in addition to explaining that treatment with Otezla was associated with depression and weight decrease, and that taking other medicines with Otezla may decrease its effectiveness. And while he experienced the side effects of nausea and diarrhea during the first few days, he stuck with it and the side effects subsided. Bryan knew it was important to continue to take his Otezla each day, as directed by his doctor.
Over time, Bryan’s side effects went away, and after 4 months on treatment, he realized he was experiencing less pain, swelling, and tenderness.
Though no day is perfect, Bryan is glad to have found a treatment that works for him—and even more glad to have never given up.
“I didn’t think I was ever going to put on my sneakers again. Otezla has made a difference for me.”Hide bryan's story