Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

February 3, 2017 My Life with Plaque Psoriasis and How I'm taking Control
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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(BPT) - Whitney was only 19 years old, home from college freshman year, when her mother noticed spots on her arms and elbows. As any parent would be, Whitney’s mother was concerned and suggested her daughter see a dermatologist. That visit revealed her diagnosis of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. Little did Whitney know, this would be a lifelong battle that would impact all aspects of her life.

Plaque psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disease that speeds up the growth cycle of skin cells, causing patches of thick red skin and silvery scales affecting approximately 6 million Americans.1

“When I was younger and my psoriasis was flaring, it was very embarrassing and shameful,” Whitney said. “People didn’t understand that I was not contagious. I can remember being turned away by hair stylists who didn’t want to cut my hair and being refused a pedicure. My friends and boyfriends didn’t understand what was going on with me and I could feel them pulling away at times.”

After talking with her doctor about her symptoms, she prescribed a biologic treatment called STELARA® (ustekinumab).

“I went through some very challenging times with my psoriasis symptoms. Starting treatment with STELARA® helped me to take control of my disease and start to create new memories with my family and friends,” said Whitney. “With clearer skin, I was able to walk down the aisle in a strapless wedding dress, and it was amazing!”

Eventually, Whitney would also be diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory arthritis causing joint pain, stiffness and swelling that affects approximately 30 percent of people with psoriasis.2 STELARA® (ustekinumab) also is approved to treat psoriatic arthritis and, over time, Whitney’s joint pain and swelling have diminished significantly.

Visit to learn more about STELARA®


STELARA® is a prescription medicine approved to treat adults 18 years and older with moderate or severe plaque psoriasis that involves large areas or many areas of their body, who may benefit from taking injections or pills (systemic therapy) or phototherapy (treatment using ultraviolet light alone or with pills).

STELARA® is a prescription medicine approved to treat adults 18 years and older with active psoriatic arthritis, either alone or with methotrexate.

STELARA® (ustekinumab) works by targeting an underlying cause of plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – an overactive immune system. It blocks two proteins called IL-12 and IL-23 that may play a role in plaque psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.


STELARA® (ustekinumab) is a prescription medicine that affects your immune system. STELARA® can increase your chance of having serious side effects including:

Serious Infections

STELARA® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. While taking STELARA®, some people have serious infections, which may require hospitalization, including tuberculosis (TB), and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.

• Your doctor should check you for TB before starting STELARA® and watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with STELARA®.

• If your doctor feels that you are at risk for TB, you may be treated for TB before and during treatment with STELARA®.

You should not start taking STELARA® if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.

Before starting STELARA®, tell your doctor if you:

• think you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection such as:

fever, sweats, or chillsmuscle achescoughshortness of breathblood in your phlegmweight losswarm, red, or painful skin sores on your bodydiarrhea or stomach painburning when you urinate or urinate more often than normalfeel very tiredare being treat for an infectionget a lot of infections or have infections that keep coming backhave TB, or have been in close contact with someone who has TB

After starting STELARA®, call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of an infection (see above).

STELARA® can make you more likely to get infections or make an infection that you have worse. People who have a genetic problem where the body does not make any of the proteins interleukin 12 (IL-12) and interleukin 23 (IL-23) are at a higher risk for certain serious infections that can spread throughout the body and cause death. People who take STELARA® may also be more likely to get these infections.


STELARA® may decrease the activity of your immune system and increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Tell your doctor if you have ever had any type of cancer. Some people who had risk factors for skin cancer developed certain types of skin cancers while receiving STELARA®. Tell your doctor if you have any new skin growths.

Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS)

RPLS is a rare condition that affects the brain and can cause death. The cause of RPLS is not known. If RPLS is found early and treated, most people recover. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening medical problems including: headache, seizures, confusion, and vision problems.

Serious Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions can occur. Stop using STELARA® and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms such as: feeling faint, swelling of your face, eyelids, tongue, or throat, chest tightness, or skin rash.

Before receiving STELARA®, tell your doctor if you:

• have any of the conditions or symptoms listed above for serious infections, cancers, or RPLS.

• ever had an allergic reaction to STELARA® or any of its ingredients. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.

• are allergic to latex. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains latex.

• have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). People who take STELARA® should not receive live vaccines. Tell your doctor if anyone in your house needs a vaccine. The viruses used in some types of vaccines can spread to people with a weakened immune system, and can cause serious problems. You should not receive the BCG vaccine during the one year before taking STELARA® or one year after you stop taking STELARA®.

• have any new or changing lesions within psoriasis areas or on normal skin.

• are receiving or have received allergy shots, especially for serious allergic reactions.

• receive or have received phototherapy for your psoriasis.

• have any other medical conditions.

• are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STELARA® will harm your unborn baby. You and your doctor should decide if you will take STELARA®.

• are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. It is thought that STELARA® passes into your breast milk. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take STELARA®.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

When prescribed STELARA®:

• Use STELARA® exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

• If your doctor decides that you or a caregiver may give your injections of STELARA® at home, you should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject STELARA®. Do not try to inject STELARA® yourself until you or your caregiver has been shown how to inject STELARA® by your doctor or nurse.

Common side effects of STELARA® include: upper respiratory infections, headache, and tiredness in psoriasis patients; joint pain and nausea in psoriatic arthritis patients; and upper respiratory infections, redness at the injection site, vaginal yeast infections, itching, urinary tract infections, and vomiting in Crohn’s disease patients. These are not all of the possible side effects with STELARA®. Tell your doctor about any side effect that you experience. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Please read the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for STELARA® and discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.

Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.



1. About the National Psoriasis Foundation. (n.d.) Accessed July 24, 2016.

2. National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriatic Arthritis. Accessed November 3, 2016.

(c) Janssen Biotech, Inc. 2016 11/16 057315-160728

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