Guest: Dr. Jason Faller
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Jason Faller, MD originates from Beaver Falls, PA. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for both his undergraduate and his medical school education. During his fellowship in rheumatology at the University of Michigan, he was granted a fellowship to study purine metabolism from American Rheumatism Association. He has been in private practice in New York City since 1982.
Segment overview: Dr. Jason Faller, MD, discusses treatments for managing psoriatic arthritis, PsA.
Health Professional Radio – Managing Psoriatic Arthritis
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is returning to speak with us, Dr. Jason Faller. He is the Chief of the Arthritis Clinic at Mount Sinai West Hospital, also on the staff of Beth Israel and Lenox Hills Hospitals. And he is here today to speak with us on behalf of Celgene Corporation on their “Be Counted” initiative campaign to raise awareness about “psoriatic arthritis or PSA” as a chronic auto immune disease. Dr. Faller How are you doing today?
Dr. Jason Faller: I’m doing very well. Thank you for having me Neal.
N: Thanks so much for coming back. We were here in past segments talking about this condition known as PSA or psoriatic arthritis, could you let our listeners in on what exactly psoriatic arthritis is? How it differs from other arthritis? And talk about you and your initiative in conjunction with Celgene Corporation known as “Be Counted.”
F: Absolutely. So psoriatic arthritis is a form of joint pain or sometimes soft tissue pain that can affect many parts of the body – the back, the hands, the feet, knees, ankles and it is associated with a skin condition called “psoriasis,” and we want to raise awareness about this condition to educational initiative called Be Counted which is available at our website psacounts.com
N: Now psoriatic arthritis, you say it develops from the condition known as “psoriasis” and that arises sometimes often times from damages to the skin, is this traumatic damage of a certain type or any type of damage to the skin?
F: Well we’re not sure of all the components. Traumatic skin influences the psoriasis but there is a genetic component that definitely is associated with psoriasis, many people psoriasis have a parent with psoriasis and sometimes people have two parents with psoriasis, and those people are much more likely to have psoriasis, identical twins.
N: The treatments for your run the mill for a lack of a better term arthritis as opposed to psoriatic arthritis, how do they differ and can they be interchanged?
F: There are treatments for arthritis in general and the most common form of arthritis is the osteoarthritis. And the treatments for those conditions are predominantly directed at just pain relief. They don’t have any influence on the progression of the disease. In psoriatic arthritis, this is a chronic disease that does progress over time, and can cause a significant amount of disability if untreated. And for that reason we are very interested in having patients be diagnosed and put on the proper treatment and there are many forms of treatment.
N: Have you noticed that a certain age group of people are being diagnosed because they have reached maybe their late 50’s or early 60’s or more trying to track down what the cause of their discomfort was and being misdiagnosed, and taken on all the rides before they finally arrive with you and get some answers?
F: Well psoriatic arthritis most often presents between the ages of 30 and 50 but it can be a long time, sometimes even decades before a patient is diagnosed. We encourage everybody with arthritis to take proper care of their joints, to try to maintain an ideal weight, to eat healthily, to exercise regularly. But the medications that we have for psoriatic arthritis may prevent the progression of the disease, and that’s what we’re here representing today the awareness of this and the fact that Celgene has a medication on the market called “Otezla” which is an oral medication which can help prevent psoriatic arthritis problems.
N: Okay. But prevent the problem associated with it or prevent the onset entirely?
F: Well we would only place someone on medication once they had it. So it wouldn’t prevent the onset, but it will prevent the joint pain, the joint swelling, the stiffness, and it may also improve the skin disease.
N: Well I’m asking because if someone has psoriasis, maybe this medicine something that you give them than just a matter of treatment automatically?
F: Well it is used to treat patients with psoriasis as well who don’t respond to other forms of therapy.
N: Is this something that you treat so that you have no discomfort or no disability because it is debilitating? Is this something that you treat just to manage it throughout your life?
F: In the ideal world we would have treatments for everything that could eradicate the problems, but unfortunately we don’t have that. So what we do is we try to make it better and that’s what our treatment for psoriatic arthritis do, they make it better. Now in some patients they may make it so much better that the patient is no longer suffering at all from their symptoms that they feel like they don’t have the disease. But in most patients we are just aiming for a significant improvement.
N: How many people, let’s say Americans are estimated to be suffering from this specific type of arthritis as opposed to the others?
F: There are more than 1 million people in the US who have psoriatic arthritis, but this number may actually be higher because of the fact that this disease is under reported and they may not know that they have it.
N: So we’re looking for more people like your current patients who are coming in and say ‘Okay I’ve tried everything else, what you think?’ And then you make the proper diagnosis and they get added to the stats.
F: That is correct.
N: So we’re talking many more years before we can actually get a better handle on how many people are actually suffering. But once the word is spread through your efforts thru Be Counted, maybe many people, family members, healthcare providers and patient themselves will begin to the light will begin to go on yeah? That’s what you’re shooting for?
F: Absolutely and that’s why we’re encouraging people to become informed through our website psacounts.com which is our website for the Be Counted campaign. And they can also find out more information about Otezla at the website otezla.com
N: Okay. And at psacounts.com, what types of advice or tips or support groups – will we find the links to information like that?
F: Well the website is to raise awareness about the autoimmune condition psoriatic arthritis. And enables patients, as well as physicians, co-workers, family members, to understand better what’s the disease is all about. They can watch the videos that highlight perspectives on the disease and it’s all about education. So patients feel like they’re not alone, and providers, and co-workers, and families all can understand better what the patients are going through.
N: Now in starting the conversation as a patient with a healthcare provider who may not be knowledgeable about psoriatic arthritis, is there advice on the website on how to start the conversation with someone who’s a physician where you are the patient?
F: I think that the patients will be told to inform their physicians that they are concerned about psoriatic arthritis as an entity. But it think that your advice that we should possibly tell them how to introduce it to their provider in a socially acceptable way would be good advice, so maybe will add that to the website.
N: Well you can have that free of charge, how about that? (Laughing)
F: Thank you Neal.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio this afternoon talking with Dr. Jason Faller, Chief of the Arthritis Clinic at Mount Sinai West Hospital. And we’ve been talking about some of the treatments and management of psoriatic arthritis or PSA. Dr. Faller is in an effort to raise awareness through his “Be Counted” campaign in conjunction with Celgene corporation, encouraging people to stand up Be Counted and get the word out as far as healthcare providers, family members, and patient themselves. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Faller.
F: Thank you for having me Neal
N: Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.