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To Biologic or Not To Biologic?

Posted on October 16, 2023

To biologic, or not to biologic, that is the question:

Should I, or shouldn’t I, that is the concern.

Will it work, or will it not work, that is the issue.

So many questions, no clear answer.

When talking about medication options for chronic health matters, there are always questions. The problem is, there is no one right answer. If you ask me what the best option is, I can honestly tell you I don’t know. The only thing I can offer is what worked for me and how the use of a biologic changed my life.

Before we delve into why a biologic is for me, let’s take a quick minute to define what a biologic is. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) describes biologics as follows: “Biological products include a wide range of products such as vaccines, blood and blood components, allergenics, somatic cells, gene therapy, tissues, and recombinant therapeutic proteins.”

I know! What the heck does that mean? Well, simply put, a biologic is a drug that’s produced from living organisms. The most commonly known biologic is a vaccine. Biologics are considered advanced and are typically used when there are no other options. Yes, there are side effects, but there are side effects with any drug therapy.

OK, I’m done with the technical stuff. You’re not here for that. You’re here because you want to ask, “Monica, why did you decide to use a biologic for your eczema?”

I didn’t. My doctor chose the biologic.

Friends, I was in bad shape — I mean, really bad shape. My eosinophil levels were so high, my allergist checked for blood cancer. He didn’t give me any options, but I trusted him. I trusted that he knew what was best for me, and I will tell you I never looked back.

No, I didn’t do any homework. No, I didn’t ask questions. I trusted my doctor to make the right decision for me. I’m a banker, not a physician, so I had to rely on the expert to make me feel better. I was fortunate enough to receive a biologic that pulled double duty. It treats both my eczema and my asthma. The result is that my breathing is perfectly controlled and, although I have flare-ups, my eczema doesn’t cover my entire body — yes, my entire body — the way it did four years ago.

Please don’t ask me why I’ve stayed on a biologic for four years. Please don’t ask me if I intend to ever come off the biologic. Please don’t ask me what you should do. Everyone is different. No two issues and reactions are exactly the same. I can’t say that I don’t have side effects from the biologic, but whatever they may be, they’re worth the cost to be itch free.

I’m one of those who firmly believe in medical therapies. I had high blood pressure, so I took BP meds. I suffer from severe anxiety, so I take happy pills. I have bad allergies, so I take antihistamines. Medicinal remedies may not be for everyone, but they are the answer for me. Because of that, I found myself judging those who chose to suffer with the itch, the blisters, and the raw, sore skin.

Enter “the community” — the eczema community. I belong to that community, and I love the comradery. I know I’m not alone. I feel supported.

When I found myself judging those who want to wean off a biologic, I turned to the community. When I said to myself, “That’s dumb — why would you want to stop taking the very thing that makes you feel better?” I had to remind myself that no two people are the same. What works for one may not work for others.

Because I don’t want to be that judgmental person who enacts her options on others, I took a step back. I turned to the community. They helped me understand. The community is there for suppobecrt, not for judgment, so I stopped. I took a deep breath and drew the following conclusions:

  • Find a doctor you trust, but make sure that doctor provides you with the kind of care you desire. Then listen to them.
  • Listen to your body, don’t listen to others. Your body is the best gauge for what is best for you, not the opinions of other people.
  • Join the community. Don’t suffer through this alone. If nothing else, reach out to get a kind word or some encouragement. The support is there. Use it.

So, to answer the question “To biologic, or not to biologic,” I biologic. You don’t have to, that is the answer!

On MyEczemaTeam, members discuss eczema from a specific point of view. Would you like to share your personal story to help others living with eczema? You can learn more about this paid writing opportunity from MyEczemaTeam here.

Members’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyEczemaTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. Content on MyEczemaTeam isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Posted on October 16, 2023
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Monica M. Thompson-Henry, MyEczemaTeam Member has always had sensitive skin but didn’t start to understand her eczema until late in life. Now she is on a mission to share her belief that eczema is not a condition, an illness, or an inconvenience. Learn more about her here.

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