My clinical trial rocks! No other way to describe it! If you are unfamiliar with the backstory, there is a series of articles, the first of which is A Clinical Trial – Patient Journey – Part I, exploring how I came to be on a clinical trial and the initial phases. In summary, I am on a clinical drug trial for a medication for psoriatic arthritis (PsA), a condition that affects an estimated 24 in 10,000 people (0.24% of the population).
I am now 18 months down the track, so thought it time for an update on progress!
No sore entheses! This is fantastic. The enthesis is the connective tissue between tendons/ligaments and bone. PsA rather likes entheses, unfortunately.
At my last injections I had ONE, let me say that again ONE, toe joint that glowed faintly when all the toe joints were tested. That’s a major improvement from 20!
No sore finger/thumb joints. Not one. The base of my thumbs used to be really painful. I am also no longer splinting my fingers at night on a daily basis to prevent waking up with my hands locked into fists. I find I may have to splint them about a week out from my next injections, but not always.
My shoulders are fine. Admittedly I do a series of exercises to maintain my shoulders which have helped considerably, but the reduced inflammation is fantastic.
My wrists, which would flare regularly, have not flared for months. I can’t remember the last time.
There has been no progression to other joints. There was no hip or elbow involvement, for example, and there still is no hip or elbow involvement.
My skin in 100% clear. Yes, 100%, clinically assessed.
My finger nails are back to being perfect, although two toe nails persist in having white spots and and the tell-tale ridges across the nails. But they no longer crumble off.
No dactylitis (sausage fingers/toes) this year.
I have lost the 20 kilograms I’d gained with all the various medication changes prior to starting the trial.
Energy levels are much improved. I won’t say back to normal, but much better than previously. This is evidenced by the that fact I am back working full-time. No, I did not take on a senior management role, that would have been too much, but I’m working.
The dreaded brain fog is also much improved, as I have noted before. I don’t like the term brain fog, as readers may already know, but everyone is familiar with the term.
No adverse side effects! After my previous experiences, this is yet another fantastic aspect for me personally.
At my latest appointment, one of the staff commented, correctly, I was lucky I don’t have any joint deformities, especially of the hands. I put this down to early medical intervention – I was lucky to be diagnosed early in my journey.
I’m not cured. I am as close to being cured as I probably ever will be and that is a great thing. The medication, risankizumab, isn’t the only weapon in this war though. I am, as is well known, I firm advocate of Movement is Medicine. I keep my muscles strong. I still wear my “special” shoes to help my back. I had a total knee replacement this year, osteoarthritis – not something risankizumab can fix. Overall, I am very happy with progress.