Advertisement

I’m On Camera Every Day Despite My Skin Disease. Here’s How I Deal.

chaz frazier
I’m On Camera Every Day Despite My Skin Disease.Courtesy of Chaz Frazier

Please note Chaz Frazier is not a COSENTYX® (secukinumab) patient and has been compensated for his time. Continue reading for Important Safety Information and a link to the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

As a weekend sports anchor in Columbia, South Carolina, Chaz Frazier knows the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin. Each day on the job requires confidence to face the camera and present himself as both compelling and relatable to a citywide audience—but that didn’t always come easily to him. Since his early 20s, Frazier has lived with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), a chronic and often painful skin disease that causes recurring boil-like lesions that may burst into open wounds and cause irreversible scarring. Identifying his symptoms, receiving a proper diagnosis, and figuring out how to keep his career and personal life on track were each distinct challenges. But now, six years since his diagnosis, Frazier is standing proudly in front of the camera again.

These Were My Warning Signs

When Frazier first noticed an abscess under his arm, he didn’t think much about it. “I was preparing to move for my first job out of college,” he recalls. “I went to the dermatologist and they drained it.” He’d had occasional skin problems throughout college—including one particularly intense breakout on his face that was mistakenly diagnosed as ingrown hairs—but his medical providers always assured him that the symptoms were due to poor hygiene or other superficial maladies, so he assumed nothing was seriously wrong.

Frazier recalls feeling full of optimism for his sports broadcasting career, but shortly after starting his first job, his symptoms worsened. Painful lumps and abscesses developed in his armpits; the same symptoms then appeared in his groin area. He also had lesions develop on his scalp. “My roommate at the time still talks about how he’d hear me groaning in bed from the pain,” he says. The discomfort in his groin and in the pitted areas of his body grew so debilitating that he went to the emergency room and ultimately was forced to leave his job. In the emergency room, he was finally diagnosed with a condition he’d never heard of: HS.

chaz frazier
Courtesy of Chaz Frazier

I Learned My HS Can Be Unpredictable

~1 in 100 people worldwide may be affected by HS, which is a chronic condition that typically occurs in areas of the body where skin meets skin, like the groin, inner thighs, buttocks, under the breasts, and in the armpits—but it can develop anywhere on the body. The effects can range from mildly disruptive to physically and mentally devastating. “HS’s propensity to develop in intimate areas and flare at unpredictable intervals can cause an emotional impact on patients,” says Jennifer Hsiao, MD, a dermatologist based in Los Angeles.* “People with HS tend to experience impacts to their mental and emotional health.” Frazier remembers his condition altering his relationship with himself. “Your self-confidence changes,” he recalls. “You don’t know what to do or how to deal with it.”

Frazier’s experiences with HS—from mental health challenges to difficulty in receiving a diagnosis—are not unusual, Dr. Hsiao adds. “There is a long delay in diagnosis, which can take up to 10 years, and HS symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed as other skin conditions,” she says. Common misdiagnoses include folliculitis, acne, or ingrown hairs. This leads to a delay in receiving treatment, allowing the condition to worsen. Moreover, Dr. Hsiao believes there is a widespread lack of awareness not just among the general population, but even among healthcare professionals. “HS shouldn’t be difficult to diagnose—it doesn’t require a blood test or anything invasive,” she says. “It’s about having the diagnosis top of mind when patients present with related symptoms.” And only after diagnosis can the process shift toward finding a management plan that works for the patient.

Teaching Others the HS Language

Now that he had a name for his condition, Frazier could begin working with his dermatologist on a plan to manage his symptoms and activate his strong family support system to help him manage his mental health. “It’s not easy,” he says. “Every HS warrior knows that HS has a mind of its own—but I’ve been able to re-enter the workforce and start doing what I love as a sports anchor again.”

Today, when he’s not on camera, Frazier is passionate about raising awareness about his condition. “I want people to talk about it more. People need the language,” he says. “Healthcare providers need to know what to look for when diagnosing people. Patients need to know what their symptoms might be and what options are available to help them.”

chaz frazier
Courtesy of Chaz Frazier

Tailoring Your HS Treatment Approach

“Most HS treatment plans are multimodal, or a combination of different therapies,” says Dr. Hsiao. Common treatments for HS include lifestyle modification, hormonal and metabolic modulation, antibiotics, biologics, and surgical procedures. “For example, someone might use a surgical procedure to remove a persistent HS abscess or tunnel and oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation.”

However, more recent advancements targeting inflammation on a systemic level—such as biologic treatments—are providing patients and healthcare providers with a valuable tool in their HS arsenal. “For patients with moderate to severe HS, biologics are a cornerstone of my management approach,” says Dr. Hsiao. One such treatment is COSENTYX® (secukinumab), a biologic treatment option approved by the FDA for adults with moderate to severe HS. COSENTYX treats HS from within by inhibiting interleukin-17A, a protein believed to play a role in the inflammation leading to HS symptoms. To learn more about COSENTYX visit cosentyx.com.

*Dr. Jennifer Hsiao has been compensated for her time on this article and is a paid consultant for other Novartis projects.

INDICATION

COSENTYX® (secukinumab) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Do not use COSENTYX if you have had a severe allergic reaction to secukinumab or any of the other ingredients in COSENTYX. See the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients.

What is the most important information I should know about COSENTYX?

COSENTYX is a medicine that affects your immune system. COSENTYX may increase your risk of having serious side effects such as:

Infections

COSENTYX may lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. Some people have died from these infections.

  • Your doctor should check you for tuberculosis (TB) before starting treatment with COSENTYX.

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

  • Your doctor should watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with COSENTYX. Do not use COSENTYX if you have an active TB infection.

Before starting COSENTYX, tell your doctor if you:

  • are being treated for an infection

  • have an infection that does not go away or that keeps coming back

  • have TB or have been in close contact with someone with TB

  • think you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection such as: fevers, sweats, or chills; muscle aches; cough; shortness of breath; blood in your phlegm; weight loss; warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body; diarrhea or stomach pain; burning when you urinate or urinate more often than normal.

After starting COSENTYX, call your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection listed above. Do not use COSENTYX if you have any signs of infection unless you are instructed to by your doctor.

What are the possible side effects of COSENTYX?

COSENTYX may cause serious side effects, including:

Serious allergic reactions

Serious allergic reactions can occur. Get emergency medical help right away if you get any of the following symptoms: feeling faint; swelling of your face, eyelids, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat; trouble breathing or throat tightness; chest tightness; skin rash or hives (red, itchy bumps).

If you have a severe allergic reaction, do not give another injection of COSENTYX.

Inflammatory bowel disease

New cases of inflammatory bowel disease or “flare-ups” can happen with COSENTYX, and can sometimes be serious. If you have inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), tell your doctor if you have worsening disease symptoms during treatment with COSENTYX or develop new symptoms of stomach pain or diarrhea.

Severe skin reactions that look like eczema can happen during treatment with COSENTYX from days to months after your first dose and can sometimes lead to hospitalization. Your doctor may temporarily stop treatment with COSENTYX if you develop severe skin reactions. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following signs or symptoms: redness or rash; itching; small bumps or patches; your skin is dry or feels like leather; blisters on the hands or feet that ooze or become crusty or skin peeling.

The most common side effects of COSENTYX include: cold symptoms, diarrhea, and upper respiratory tract infections.

These are not all of the possible side effects of COSENTYX. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Before using COSENTYX, tell your doctor if you:

  • have any of the conditions or symptoms listed above for infections.

  • have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).

  • are allergic to latex. The needle cap on the COSENTYX Sensoready® pen and 150 mg/mL and 75 mg/0.5 mL prefilled syringes contains latex.

  • have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). People who take COSENTYX should not receive live vaccines. Children should be brought up to date with all vaccines before starting COSENTYX.

  • have any other medical conditions and all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Keep a list of your medicines to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

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

  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if COSENTYX passes into your breast milk.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide.

2/24 412815

You Might Also Like