Don’t Wait – Double Take the Signs of Psoriatic Arthritis

Woman wearing orange shirt massages hand

Psoriatic arthritis is a condition that can significantly impact the lives of those experiencing it, but many patients dismiss their symptoms and don’t seek treatment for a variety of reasons. With this in mind, Amgen has partnered with pop icon and entrepreneur Lance Bass and rheumatologist Dr. Alvin F. Wells to launch the Double Take Campaign to empower patients to spot the signs of the condition and speak to their doctor. Lance Bass is not currently taking any Amgen therapies.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) affects about 1.5 million Americans, and is thought to be caused by overactive inflammation of cells in the body. While it can develop at any time, PsA generally appears between the ages of 30 and 50.

“Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition,” said Alvin F. Wells, MD, PhD, the director of rheumatology at Advocate Aurora Medical Group. “Like with psoriasis, this means that the immune system attacks and damages healthy tissue by mistake.”

More than 7.5 million Americans are living with psoriasis, and up to 30% of people with plaque psoriasis (the most common type of psoriasis) may also develop PsA.

Symptoms of PsA include:

  • Painful, swollen joints (often in the neck, back, arms and knees) 
  • Stiffness, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints
  • Swollen fingers and toes
  • Pitted, crumbling nails
  • Heel or foot pain 

Patients often dismiss these symptoms, attributing them to aging or other factors such as over-exercising, and physicians sometimes make the same assumption.

If left untreated, PsA can cause permanent joint damage, which may be disabling. That’s why it’s important for patients to recognize the signs and symptoms early and speak with their doctor sooner. 

Connection to Psoriasis

More than 7.5 million Americans are living with psoriasis, and up to 30% of people with plaque psoriasis (the most common type of psoriasis) may also develop PsA. Symptoms of psoriasis occurring near the scalp or even pitted nails could be signs of PsA. In fact, 70 to 90% of patients with scalp psoriasis may develop PsA.

“I know all too well how the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can go beyond pain, and the importance of early diagnosis,” Wells said. “If you experience symptoms, it’s important to speak with a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you have been diagnosed with psoriasis.”

Delayed Diagnoses

Doctor holds patient's hand

Symptoms of PsA typically begin with aches and pains or fatigue. However, patients often dismiss these symptoms, and when they do seek care for their symptoms, it can often take longer than expected.

Bass lived with symptoms of PsA for almost 10 years before being diagnosed

According to a 2021 study, more than half of people with PsA wait over two years for a diagnosis after the onset of symptoms.

“It’s essential for physicians to talk to their patients about the signs sooner rather than later,” Wells said. “Early patient education is fundamental to the success of slowing progression.”

The Double Take Campaign

One way to spark conversations with patients about the signs and symptoms of PsA is through the Double Take dance. Created by Amgen in partnership with Lance Bass, pop icon and entrepreneur, and Wells, the Double Take campaign aims to empower patients with undiagnosed and untreated PsA to spot the signs of the condition sooner and to do a “Double Take” if they are experiencing potential symptoms.

Bass lived with symptoms of PsA for almost 10 years before being diagnosed, and the dance was inspired by a classic children’s tune. His modern twist is a fun and educational routine that calls out the different body parts often affected by PsA to help patients remember the common symptoms.


PsADoubleTake.com showcases the dance and offers additional resources like the Psoriasis Epidemiology Screening Tool (PEST) to help patients discover the signs of PsA and make the connection with their doctor earlier. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends that people with psoriasis complete the PEST screener every six months.

Psoriatic Arthritis Treatment Options

Doctor with patient

There are various options for treating active PsA, including oral medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and biologics which are injected or infused into the body.

Otezla is an FDA-approved oral treatment that can help reduce PsA symptoms and works inside the body to help reduce inflammation. Otezla is proven to help some people with PsA have less joint swelling, tenderness, and pain after just four months, as well as improved ability to perform daily physical activities.

There’s no requirement for initial or routine blood tests, so patients can start Otezla as soon as it’s prescribed. Patients should not use Otezla if they are allergic to it. 

Risks that have been associated with Otezla include severe diarrhea, nausea and vomiting; depression; weight loss. Please see below for Additional Safety Information for Otezla. 

When it comes to PsA, don’t wait, Double Take. Skin or joint symptoms on the head, heels, knees and/or nails could all be signs of the condition. Patients that may be at risk or are showing symptoms should talk to their doctor today. 

APPROVED USES

Otezla® (apremilast) is a prescription medicine used to treat adult patients with:

  • Plaque psoriasis for whom phototherapy or systemic therapy is appropriate.
  • Active psoriatic arthritis.
  • Oral ulcers associated with Behçet’s Disease.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

You must not take Otezla if you are allergic to apremilast or to any of the ingredients in Otezla.

Otezla can cause allergic reactions, sometimes severe. Stop using Otezla and call your healthcare provider or seek emergency help right away if you develop any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: trouble breathing or swallowing, raised bumps (hives), rash or itching, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat or arms.

Otezla can cause severe diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, especially within the first few weeks of treatment. Use in elderly patients and the use of certain medications with Otezla appears to increase the risk of complications from having severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Tell your doctor if any of these conditions occur.

Otezla is associated with an increase in depression. In clinical studies, some patients reported depression, or suicidal behavior while taking Otezla. Some patients stopped taking Otezla due to depression. Before starting Otezla, tell your doctor if you have had feelings of depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior. Be sure to tell your doctor if any of these symptoms or other mood changes develop or worsen during treatment with Otezla.

Some patients taking Otezla lost body weight. Your doctor should monitor your weight regularly. If unexplained or significant weight loss occurs, your doctor will decide if you should continue taking Otezla.

Some medicines may make Otezla less effective and should not be taken with Otezla. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines.

The most common side effects of Otezla include diarrhea, nausea, upper respiratory tract infection, tension headache, and headache. These are not all the possible side effects with Otezla. Ask your doctor about other potential side effects. Tell your doctor about any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or planning to breastfeed.

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

Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-332-1088.

Please click here for the Full Prescribing Information for Otezla.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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