I was reading Kelly Mack’s article on the Persistence of Pain and it was revealing to see how many of the comments were made by individuals discussing their own daily pain. It is true. Incapacitating pain continues to be an everyday problem for many of us who have rheumatoid arthritis.
Pain has always been the number one problem for those who have rheumatoid arthritis. The biologics have been with us for over twenty years now. In spite of their success, doctors are still at a loss. Many of their patients are still in pain. They may not respond to the wonder drugs. And if they do respond, they may still be in pain. These are the drugs that doctors depend on to solve their problems. They are not enough.
I am in the second week of the biologic Actemra, tocilizumab. According to the inserted literature, the best Actemra offers is a twenty percent improvement for up to sixty percent of patients, fifty percent improvement for up to forty percent of patients, and a seventy percent improvement for up to twenty percent of patients. There is no cure for anyone and at best there is only a partial relief of symptoms.
Now there is such a twitter in the medical community about whether this pain is from inflammation or not. Why the roundabout discussion? Because it is a sideshow designed to distract us from the truth that doctors don’t know how to solve our pain problems that are caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Doctors know very little about rheumatoid arthritis, but they know even less about pain. It does remind me of just how recently they thought RA fatigue was all in our head. We know how that turned out.