Hi everyone - new to the site and have been reading of all your experiences. I thought I would share my own own experiences of both psoriasis and PA over the past 35yrs and especially many years of taking both Methotrexate and Humira.
I first suffered psoriasis in my early teens and was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthropathy in my 20's, I am now 49. Prior to this, I had gone through pretty much had every skin treatment going for psoriasis, plus was on painkillers and anti-inflammatories for my PA. It was only when I was referred to a rheumatologist privately through my employer's healthcare was I finally diagnosed with PA, by which time some of my joints had already been damaged. He started me on a low dose of Methotrexate (7.5mg p/wk) - simply describing it as something that would "give my immune system a slap on the face and tell it not to be so silly". After suffering years of pain, meds and psoriasis (and the accompanying psychological effects), I was glad to try anything.
Within 6-8wks, the PA pains and symptoms had subsided and even better my psoriasis had completely cleared. I generally experienced some nausea the 2nd day after taking it each week and stomach/bowel upsets a lot if the time, but the benefits far outweighed these and the risks of any other possible side effects. Over the many years that followed, the dosage had to be increased by 2.5mg every 6-8mths when signs of the PA returned. Eventually, the dose reached 30mg p/wk, by which time, the risks of serious side effects became too great and I was also on maximum doses of painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and steroids, as well as other drugs to counteract their side effects.
Then along came Humira!
I started Humira injections (injected once fortnightly) over 10yrs ago and it was nothing short of miraculous for me. I was off all other meds within 6-12wks of starting it and totally pain-free within 3mths for the first time in years and it has pretty much continued the same since. I did have a short spell of 'drug-induced' lupus arising from it 6yrs ago and had to cut down the dosage' for a few months until it resolved itself. Otherwise, it was a God-send I found both Methotrexate and Humira to be extremely beneficial, with the benefits far outweighing the risks. Fortunately, I tolerated both well, with little in the way of side-effects (other than the short-term lupus incident).
HOWEVER, I came off Humira last year as my liver results were heightened, although I still felt fine. Gradually, the PA aches and pains started coming back 5ths ago, along with some minor signs of psoriasis (that I hadn't had for almost 30yrs). I started back on Humira over 3mths ago. I knew there was a reasonable risk of a possible psoriasis flare-up that can happen when returning back to it (as with other drugs), but my goodness, it has come with a vengence! I now have chronic plaque and guttate psoriasis from head to toe - I have never experienced anything like it! Although, a recent house move and the accompanying stress no doubt contributed to it
I am now attending hospital (dermatology) every few days, plus undertaking twice-daily full-body treatments of the usual ointments and bandaging that accompanies it. I have been waiting for the Humira to 'kick-in', but if anything, my PA is actually also getting worse, with shortness of breath, tiredness and generally feeling unwell. I am seeing my rheumatologist (and dermatologist) shortly to decide the next steps. I may have to switch to one of the other anti-TNF treatments.
I can only say that I had many 'happy' years on Methotrextate and Humira, but they are powerful drugs and do need close monitoring throughout. And as a WARNING to anyone stopping or coming off any of their meds (which even includes strong topical medications like Dovobet), this should be done gradually. And if possibly restarting at a later date, there is a heightened risk that they could not only be less effective, but actually have negative effects, and it might be worth discussing alternative treatments with your doctors.