I Was Diagnosed with Moderate Eczema and It Was Debilitating

A woman named Bianca Jade touches head and sits pensively on couch.

This post is sponsored by Sanofi & Regeneron.

I’m very open about my struggles with eczema, or atopic dermatitis (AD), and have been vocal about it on social media for the past 10+ years. I first started showing signs and symptoms of moderate eczema at age 30. It’s easier to talk about now, but back when I first began to experience symptoms, I had a severe itch and would insatiably scratch my stomach, arms and legs raw. I felt like eczema was taking over my body. When my symptoms were at their worst, the itch would make it difficult to do day-to-day activities. The visible rashes and roughness of my skin made networking events within my industry difficult, where I’d have to shake hands with strangers. I couldn’t bear to even show my hands, let alone shake someone’s hand.  

When I first got eczema, my symptoms were so bad that I was very stressed — and I had no idea that stress could further exacerbate my symptoms, making my skin redder, more inflamed, itchy, cracked and uncomfortable. It felt like my body was waging a war against itself. What the heck was happening to me? I was freaking out…until finally I was diagnosed with uncontrolled moderate atopic dermatitis and dyshidrotic eczema.

My diagnosis of uncontrolled moderate atopic dermatitis was the beginning of my awareness that I was now the owner of a potentially lifelong skin condition – one that could resurface without warning throughout my life. This didn’t exactly calm me down, but once you start to understand the facts and become more educated, you gradually become more positively focused on treatment. What I learned after seeing several dermatologists is that my eczema is triggered by stress, anxiety, allergens, weather, heat, lack of moisture and sometimes even hormonal shifts. It can also be caused by irritating ingredients in products.

There’s a PRO to every CON, and I must say, despite the hassle of having moderate eczema, a lot of good has come out of my diagnosis. For starters, I’ve been able to tell my story to a global audience across many outlets and digital mediums. I’ve partnered with Sanofi and Regeneron on The Now Me program, which I’m really excited to share with you. 

I’m excited to share information about Dupixent® (dupilumab), a treatment option for people with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, a common form of eczema. Dupixent is a first-of-its-kind biologic treatment approved by the FDA to treat people ages six and older with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis that is not well-controlled with prescription therapies used on the skin (topical) as well as those who cannot use topical therapies. Dupixent can be used with or without topical corticosteroids. Dupixent works from the inside to help treat a source of underlying inflammation that contributes to atopic dermatitis. Dupixent should not be used in patients who are allergic to Dupixent or to any of its ingredients. I should mention that I am not currently taking Dupixent.

Sanofi and Regeneron teamed up with the amazing stylist and tv host Tan France and three people living with moderate-to-severe AD to educate about their experience with AD. Please take a look at the videos HERE!

In two 16-week clinical trials with Dupixent used alone compared to a placebo, almost four times as many adult patients with uncontrolled moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis taking Dupixent saw clear or almost clear skin as compared with those not taking Dupixent (37% taking Dupixent vs. 9% not taking Dupixent). Nearly half of adult patients taking Dupixent saw at least 75% skin improvement (48% taking Dupixent vs. 13% not taking Dupixent). The most common side effects of treatment were injection site reactions, eye and eyelid inflammation, including redness, swelling and itching, and cold sores in the mouth or on the lips. Scroll down for additional Important Safety Information and links to the full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.

Dupixent is an option that my treating dermatologist has discussed with me. When I was first diagnosed with moderate eczema, a treatment like this didn’t exist. So, while my eczema is currently controlled without Dupixent, it’s good to know that it is a potential option if that changes. 

I attended a virtual event with others living with moderate-to-severe eczema where we learned more about The Now Me, and I shared my experiences, from the lows to the highs, and heard the stories of others battling my same condition. It was shocking to hear how vastly different our symptoms, severities and challenges can be. Some people are born with it, and then you have cases like mine where it just creeps up on you mid-life.

I urge everyone to be gentle and sensitive to people living with eczema because you never really know the full scope of what someone may be dealing with. We often hide or cover up our inflamed zones. Moderate-to-severe eczema can be debilitating because of the physical discomfort and unpredictability.

With that said, I’m proud to be a part of The Now Me program because it’s empowering my fellow eczema warriors to celebrate their skin when we feel we have control over our symptoms. For me, it’s about when I’ve tempered my stress levels and anxiety. I live in New York City, so life here can be pretty chaotic! I’ve learned to identify my stress triggers — like when I’m on the brink of pushing my body too hard (whether it’s from work or fitness). I can now identify situations that my skin likes and doesn’t like at all. I’m unapologetic about passing on a hot yoga class, a scorching hot beach day, a steam room/sauna spa experience or an offer to go out late with friends past my usual bedtime. These might seem like trivial scenarios, but when you have eczema, sweat and stress can be your worst enemies.

The Now Me celebrates feeling comfortable with your own skin. Those with eczema know that you can’t underestimate how it feels when your skin is clearer.

Navigating this disease can be interesting at times. When I was first diagnosed, it initially felt like my life was falling apart. But the truth is, it’s made me stronger and more accepting of myself. I like the healthier habits that I’ve taken on to help reduce stress, my main eczema trigger. Every person is different, so people should speak to their doctor about the treatment plan that is right for them, which might include Dupixent. To learn more about Dupixent, go to www.Dupixent.com.

 

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION & INDICATION

Do not use if you are allergic to dupilumab or to any of the ingredients in DUPIXENT®.

Before using DUPIXENT, tell your healthcare provider about all your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have eye problems
  • have a parasitic (helminth) infection
  • are scheduled to receive any vaccinations. You should not receive a “live vaccine” if you are treated with DUPIXENT.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known whether DUPIXENT will harm your unborn baby.
  • There is a pregnancy exposure registry for women who take DUPIXENT during pregnancy to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Your healthcare provider can enroll you or you may enroll yourself. To get more information about the registry call 1-877-311-8972 or go to https://mothertobaby.org/ongoing-study/dupixent/.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known whether DUPIXENT passes into your breast milk.

 

 

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the- counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. 

Especially tell your healthcare provider if you are taking oral, topical or inhaled corticosteroid medicines or if you have atopic dermatitis and asthma and use an asthma medicine. Do not change or stop your corticosteroid medicine or other asthma medicine without talking to your healthcare provider. This may cause other symptoms that were controlled by the corticosteroid medicine or other asthma medicine to come back.

DUPIXENT can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions (hypersensitivity), including a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Stop using DUPIXENT and tell your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away if you get any of the following symptoms: breathing problems, fever, general ill feeling, swollen lymph nodes, swelling of the face, mouth and tongue, hives, itching, fainting, dizziness, feeling lightheaded (low blood pressure), joint pain, or skin rash.
  • Eye problems. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any new or worsening eye problems, including eye pain or changes in vision.

The most common side effects in patients with atopic dermatitis include injection site reactions, eye and eyelid inflammation, including redness, swelling, and itching, and cold sores in your mouth or on your lips.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of DUPIXENT. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Use DUPIXENT exactly as prescribed. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much DUPIXENT to inject and how often to inject it.  DUPIXENT is an injection given under the skin (subcutaneous injection). If your healthcare provider decides that you or a caregiver can give DUPIXENT injections, you or your caregiver should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject DUPIXENT. Do not try to inject DUPIXENT until you have been shown the right way by your healthcare provider. In children 12 years of age and older, it is recommended that DUPIXENT be administered by or under supervision of an adult. In children younger than 12 years of age, DUPIXENT should be given by a caregiver.

Please see accompanying full Prescribing Information including Patient Information.

INDICATION

DUPIXENT is a prescription medicine used to treat people aged 6 years and older with moderate-to- severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) that is not well controlled with prescription therapies used on the skin (topical), or who cannot use topical therapies. DUPIXENT can be used with or without topical corticosteroids. It is not known if DUPIXENT is safe and effective in children with atopic dermatitis under 6 years of age.

DUP.21.04.0269
 

 

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