Saturday, January 7, 2012

A new medicine for me

Good news! I'm in remission again! One of the positives of having UC is that after a flare-up, once you feel better again, life just seems so wonderful! I am thankful to be feeling well every day!

I was asked in the comments about my monthly insurance rate going up after I switched plans. Can you believe that  monthly rate didn't change at all with the new plan? Completely weird. The plan we were on originally was a high deductible plan ($4000 individual deductible), but everything was covered 100% after the deductible was met. Part of the plan involved a health savings account that his work deposited a small amount of money into each month. The plan we changed to had a lower individual deductible, $1500, but then only covered 80% of costs after the deductible was met and there was no HSA with the small (I think it was like $20) deposit from his work. What made the second plan so great for us was that it had a separate prescription deductible that was only $250 (and of course I met that right off). The monthly costs for the two plans were the same, so it was much better for us to go with the lower deductible plan. 

After being on the Asacol for a month, I hadn't had any improvement in my symptoms. At all. I was discouraged, but still hopeful, because it had taken a while for me to feel better after all of my flare-ups. My doctor however was concerned that there wasn't any improvement though and decided to add an additional medication, Cortifoam. We hadn't tried this medicine before because of my insurance, but since I had now met my prescription deductible and only had to pay the co-pays, we felt fine going ahead with it.

Cortifoam is rectal foam, not an enema, I thought it sounded unpleasant, but it actually wasn't a big deal at all and was easy to take. I took it for just one week and by the next week I had a dramatic improvement. But, I'm the type of person that reads those inserts that come with your prescriptions. Cortifoam is a corticosteroid and so it had listed all the side-effects that you would expect from a steroid, I was worried about taking it long-term. When I met with my doctor again, I told him I was worried about the side-effects (I hadn't experienced any) and he said I shouldn't worry. He said since it is a rectal foam, less than 5% is actually absorbed into the  body. He said it is more like applying a topical cream...only on the inside. And since so little is absorbed, the side-effects, if any, should be minimal. I've been on it for almost three months now with no ill effects. I think it took about one whole month of taking the Asacol with the Cortifoam before I felt completely better.

Now that I have been in remission for a good solid month and a half, I am working with my doctor to get off the Cortifoam by taking it every other day instead of every other day. Then, we are going to reduce my Asacol dosage. However, I'm not going completely off the medicine this time. I'm going to stay on a maintenance dose of Asacol to see if I can keep the flares-up at bay.

I hope you are all doing well! Happy new year!