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!


  1. glad to hear you're in remission!!

  2. hi,
    Thanks for addressing the question of your insurance. :-) I think I will check into switching plans as well. I'm on an HSA as well. On the other hand I hate to stay on a med indefinitely. I start tapering off the Rowasa as soon as I am symptom free. I was on Asacol about three years straight and still eventually had a flare (but then- I was also a new mom etc..). Good luck! I will keep checking in to see how its going. may you stay symptom free permanently!

  3. Instead of asacol pills long-term, maybe you could do it in enema form. Depends on how high up colon your uc is. GI said the enema goes all the way up the descending colon. Less side effects.

  4. So glad to hear you are doing well...hope you are continuing to. I was checking out your post and wanted to invite you to check out our blog. We are here for encouragment and support. If you need it, or have it to give! Hope you check us out!

  5. Thanks Willow and Sharon and thanks anon., I will keep that in mind. LCD, I checked out your blog. We could all use encouragement and support, so I have added your site to my blog list.

  6. Hi. I write this from my hospital bed (probably total visits in past 4 years is somewhere in the 40s. I was originally diagnosed 4 years ago with IBS and acute colitis. Then this past December, a new doctor.said I've been misdiagnosed and my gall bladder has been failing for the past 4 years, causing very frequent and horrible pancreatitis attacks.
    So I had my gall bladder removed at the end of this February and thought all would be better, aside from being conscious of the foods I eat, and staying as healthy as ever.
    Well I was wrong. I've been sick on & off since the surgery....wound up back in the hospital for about a week after having my surgery due to an acute liver infection. Everything seemed back to normal, until yesterday when I woke up sick as I've ever been. After passing out from being sick, dehydrated, and it being 90degrees out...I was rushed to the hospital and now am diagnosed with a very bad acute intestinal infection, and my old friends IBS and colitis apparently never went away, I've always had them.
    I found your sight while trying to research alternatives to taking all the painkillers that I had finally weened myself off in the past 3 months.
    Sorry for such a long post but I just want to say thank you. It helps to know others are in your situation and are willing to share their methods for coping. I too am a skinny girl. Before 4 years ago, for my short height I was a healthy 115lbs. The day before my surgery o was 79lbs. As of yesterday I had finally hit 100lbs again, and I'm sure from being consistently sick over the past 48 hours I've lost quite a bit of weight.
    I'm just so happy to have learned a few new pain coping methods from you and your readers. For that, I thank you so,much.
    I see you haven't posted since January. I hope you are happy, healthy and in full remission!!!

  7. Anonymous, thank you for posting. I'm sorry that I didn't reply earlier (I only check my blog occasionally) and I hope you see this message. I am sorry for the challenges you have faced and the difficulties you are currently going through. Probably one of the most frustrating things is not knowing what is going on and getting mixed information. I hope you feel better soon. This illness is horrible, but I believe only strong people get it, because we're the ones tough enough to handle it! Stay strong and know that I am thinking of you and praying for you. I am in remission now, staying on a low maintenance dose of medicine to prevent a flare-up and I hope that you reach remission status soon as well. But please know, this Skinny Girl is with you on your journey and you're not alone!

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