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No More wonder drugs for my RA

I am at the end of the biologic wonder drug line. I have completed the ACR (American College of Rheumatology) treatment plan. I have also completed the EULAR (European League Against Rheumatism) treatment plan. Both are similar. Whatever is next?

My doctor’s treatment approach centers on drugs. Are there any rheumatologists who offer more to their treatment plan than drugs? I am out of drugs. My doctor was angry with me when I brought her the statistics on Actemra. She said I read more than her other patients.  She said that Actemra was safer than Medrol. That is so wrong.

My last possibility was Actemra. It turns out that I did have histoplasmosis. My doctor told me I couldn’t have had it, but I did. I had it when I lived in Nebraska. It is a contraindication. Actemra may reactivate the histoplasmosis. There also is a possibility that I had diverticulitis. Another contraindication as bowel perforation is a real possibility for Actemra users. So, my article on Actemra was timely.

I am not depressed over this. I could very well be, but then, why bother. I have my list of positives. From a treatment standpoint:

  • methotrexate injectable with added Plaquenil works.
  • Meloxicam and Medrol work.
  • hand exercises are easy to do. Plus, I have my little knitting projects.
  • excellent orthotics and comfortable shoes are essential for me to be able to walk.
  • supplements including calcium, vitamin D help
  • The cane is new. With it, I avoid the limping and have better weight balance.
  • Swimming helps but the process of getting to the pool is not easy.
  • My yoga practice has been restarted. After years of classes, I had developed my own routines. I couldn’t do them for a few years as my feet, wrists and hands were too painful. Currently, I can do them.
  • For pain relief Tramadol and Gabapentin work. Occasionally, I use hydrocodone for my back.

I have a lot of good things going. I am disappointed in my doctor. I think she is frustrated. I think she needs to rethink her own treatment protocols.  I have my own RA to worry about.

I am not looking for any more wonder drugs. I have tried them and find them lacking. My RA is slowly getting worse. My feet are progressing through the standard RA stuff. My hands are a little behind but progressing in the same way. The slower progression is thanks to methotrexate and Medrol. I have the next quarter of my life to live.  It is exciting and time for many adventures. How could I not be happy?

2 Comments

  1. I would be disappointed with your doctor, too. She should be thrilled that you are an active participant in your medical care, but it sounds like she is feeling some guilt because she can’t do more for you and thus is getting defensive. The best doctors I have had were willing to explore pharmaceutical as well as alternative solutions for my fibromyalgia. As I was reading your post, I smiled because I recognize how much work it takes to manage a chronic condition. And although I sometimes get frustrated (usually when I have been having too much fun and am fatigued and every cell in my body hurts), most of the time I feel empowered that I can find solutions that work pretty well in allowing me to be somewhat active. Wishing you joy in your tomorrow.

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  2. Thank you, Pat. I’m inclined to think my doc is thinking that the answers are drugs. They do help many. However, there is a point where they don’t help enough. I have learned many coping mechanisms that do help a lot. Yet there are times when my situation is a little discouraging. I love your attitude and appreciate your comments.

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