Would You Switch Your Biologic If It Was Working?

It is truly amazing how many new medications are hitting the market to treat ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease. Whether they are brand new, or medications that were once used for other diseases, we are constantly being bombarded with new ways to treat our illness. It is tempting to consider making a change.

Considering switching biologics

Two medications that have been administered via infusion, Remicade and Entyvio, will soon be available as injectables. As someone who has been on Entyvio since 2016 and sees each infusion as costly both in time and money, I am welcoming the new injectable form with open arms.

However, I give pause when changing my medication, given how well I have been doing on my Entyvio infusion. What if the new format doesn't work? What if I have an allergic reaction that hinders its efficiency? Or what if all of the work I have done up to this point to say well and be healthy is completely lost due to changing my medication?

Pros and cons

But on the other side of worries comes hope. Hope that I can still receive the same medication and have the same results without dedicating over an hour to infusion process. And I dream about not receiving $1,200 bills in the mail every 8 weeks in order to pay for the medication. 

I also relish in the thought of only having to keep one small syringe full of medication in my refrigerator. As opposed to a large box containing medical supplies, one sharpie pen dispenser and one IV pole casually hanging out in my garage.

Despite the process of receiving my infusion at home, there are still inconveniences that come along with it. Including having to be home in order to sign for the medication when it arrives in addition to the list previously mentioned. 

It is exhausting, costly, and cumbersome. But is this the price of keeping me well that I shouldn't alter?

Biologics and insurance

Another aspect to consider is if my health insurance will cover the new injectable. Jumping hurdles and navigating the labyrinth that is health insurance coverage can be stressful. It's often a task I do not want to tackle. 

I feel like my insurance company and my husband's health benefits department know me by heart given the amount of times I have to contact them in a year. It is no easy feat to submit appeals or to get clearances for what should be regular treatment options.

Navigating the system and getting permission is another known obstacle I am certain I will have to face. I am unsure if I am up for the challenge.

Decisions come with a price

The list of pros and cons often comes up when living with Crohn's or UC.  From weighing options about medications to tests to whether or not you should order dessert--it all comes with a decision and a price.

I am curious to know what you would do if you had the option to change medications, whether it be a completely new medication or the same one but in a new form. 

What options will you consider and what do you prioritize most?

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