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Embarking on the Path of Starting a New Eczema Treatment

Although just about everything in regard to dealing with eczema tends to be a hassle in one way or another, one of the major forks and possible bumps in the road is the decision and process of changing doctors and treatments.

I haven’t personally changed treatments (at least not in the Western medicine world) in many years due to going through TSW (topical steroid withdrawal). So, I wanted to get the perspective of someone who embarked on the journey more recently and had more experience under her belt, so to speak.

Meet Becky!

I turned to a dear friend and eczema advocate I met last year in an eczema and TSW support group – Becky Visser.

Becky is a 35 year old registered massage therapist in Canada. She was diagnosed with eczema between the ages of 1 and 2, so she is all too familiar with navigating all the different aspects and the roller coaster that eczema tends to be.

Why did Becky change doctors and treatments?

Last year, during COVID, Becky had to make the hard decision of changing doctors, as well as treatments. After being with the same dermatologist for many years, she stated the relationship between her and her doctor “became strained,” and her doctors care for her patients seemed to be dwindling quite a bit. At that time, Becky had been on a medication called Toctino, since 2017. Toctino is an immunomodulator, and it was doing a good job of managing her eczema for some time. However, during this time, Becky’s eczema got worse, and she was having intense flare ups, especially on her hands.

Why wasn't Dupixent an option for her eczema?

Her dermatologist had suggested Dupixent, a fairly new biologic, prior to this. The road to getting on that would be 6-12 months. Unfortunately, Becky could not get into their compassionate program, which is a program in Canada that helps cover the cost of the medication. She attempted to twice, and was unfortunately denied. Considering it is a costly medication, she wouldn’t be able to cover the costs out of pocket, and hit a bit of a road block.

How did her relationship with her doctor become strained?

With Dupixent not being an option, and Becky's eczema being worse, her dermatologist suggested stopping hand washing or quitting her job as an RMT (registered massage therapist). Of course, this is not something Becky was comfortable with, and knew that was not the answer. This ended up being the last straw for her. She needed other options, and made the decision to seek out another opinion.

Reflecting back on it now, when the care at her dermatologists office started to decline, Becky states, “What I understand now, she had used all of her tools in her therapeutic toolbox, and I needed more care than she had access to. She wasn’t thinking outside of her toolbox on how to manage that.”

How has her new dermatologist been?

Understandably, knowing she needed better care, Becky embarked on the journey to seeing a new dermatologist. It took about 6 months for her to get her first appointment. Thankfully, after seeing her for the first time in March 2022, this one seemed to be a better fit.

A few months later, in May of 2022, after having patch testing done, her new dermatologist informed her she had an allergy to hand soap she was using. Of course, this was exacerbating her eczema even more. However, even with eliminating the allergen, Becky was still struggling with unresolved eczema. As she continued to advocate for herself – as we all have to on this journey, her and her dermatologist came up with a new plan. This meant getting off of the medication (Toctino) at the time, and embarking on a new journey to start a brand new medication. A medication which has been used for many other chronic health conditions for years, but only recently approved for atopic dermatitis.

What's next in Becky's journey?

While making the difficult choice to go through the often arduous process of starting with a new dermatologists was difficult enough on its own, Becky still had a fairly long road to be able to start a new treatment, and finally, once again, get some relief from her eczema, and regain some semblance of control in her life.

In my next article, I will share how Becky was able to start a new treatment, and which new treatment she decided to try with the help of her new dermatologist.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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