All posts filed under: RA Drugs

Articles on the drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Seven year anniversary and infection

It was seven years ago this month. I was acutely ill with my first encounter of rheumatoid arthritis. My illness had not been given a name yet. A week before that I had seen the ER doc who started me on prednisone and who was  sending me to the rheumatologist that I would see in about another week. I had very little sleep. A few hours a night at most. I was in excruciating pain. Life was not good. I can look back with a sense of relief. I no longer have the kind of pain that made me think I had broken glass shards in my joints. It took several years after my diagnosis for my RA to settle down. I never went into remission. My inflammation has always simmered. Methotrexate was my base. I finally settled into 25 mg subq once a week. It helped. After a few years my pain was never quite the same as it was originally. My feet became central to my discomfort. Custom orthotics and Dr Comfort shoes …

Remicade started

                                                                                             Remicade is the new RA drug I am starting. There is a loading dose, another dose two weeks later, another a month later. The regular schedule for me will be 8 weeks apart.  I have had the first two doses. It is given by infusion over two hours. The whole thing lasts about three hours. I haven’t had any reactions. Nausea is a common side effect. I have it with methotrexate so I am armed with a strong anti-nausea medicine and I am good. Last month was tough for me. Flare plus flu.I have been in a perpetual RA flare for three years. The only difference is that sometimes it is much worse than other times. It has been on the worse end of the scale for several months. …

Remicade

My treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, RA, is moving in the opposite direction of normal. Because I was diagnosed with two cancers and rheumatoid arthritis in the same year, the wonder drug biologics were off limits for me. They presented a higher cancer risk. Eventually as my RA worsened, quality of life became a factor. Methotrexate(MTX) injections help, but not enough. I had tried the triple treatment of MTX, Plaquenil and sulfasalazine without success. Leflunomide was next, but it didn’t work either. The small molecule DMARDs were exhausted as treatments.  The biologics were next. Rituxan was considered the safest both by my rheumatologist and by my oncologist. I was infused with Rituxan. It didn’t work. Next safest was Orencia. I was infused with Orencia. It helped. It helped about 50% which was the norm for it. I received monthly infusions. But my flares became much worse at 10-11 months. Orencia was stopped. Next is Remicade. Remicade, infliximab, was approved for RA in 1999. It is a TNF inhibitor. My rheumatologist had a serious discussion with me …

Methylprednisolone and RA

              Methylprednisolone (WOW, an impressive word!) is served up in a package of 21 four milligram (mg) pills (Medrol Dose Pak) with specific instructions as to when to take each pill. One time a nurse told me to start the pack the next day as the instructions start before breakfast and that would be the only way I could follow the instructions. I would have to wait through the night before I could start resolving my problem. This time around I saw written on the package that all six tablets in the first row for the first day should be taken on the day you receive your prescription even though you may not receive it until late in the day. All 6 pills may be taken at once on the first day or divided into doses for the remainder of the day. I have had this prescription twice for inflamed salivary glands after thyroid cancer treatment and twice for RA flares. I call it a miracle drug as it …

Ten things to know about methotrexate and RA

Methotrexate has been used for RA since the late 80’s.  It is the cornerstone for RA treatment and considered to have an impressive safety record. Methotrexate is classed as  a DMARD, Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug. It decreases pain and swelling. It can lessen joint damage and consequently long-term disability. Methotrexate is taken once a week usually in pill form. The injectable form is reserved for those who don’t tolerate the pill or to extend the effectiveness of the drug. Self injection is not hard to learn for those who need it. It can be easy to do with a prefilled  auto-injector that comes in a variety of doses. The auto-injector is useful for children with JIA, too. Methotrexate is frequently paired with other DMARD’s. Plaquenil, an anti-malarial drug is often used. Sometimes sulfasalazine is added, too. Drugs used in combination with methotrexate are usually more effective. Methotrexate is also paired with the biologics including Orencia and Rituxan. The biologics become more effective when teamed with methotrexate. RA can continue on its destructive path when there are no obvious symptoms. It’s reassuring …

Meloxicam

  Meloxicam is a drug I take for the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.   I have been using it since 2/2013.   Without It,  my pain would be triple what it is.   Mobic is the trade name for meloxicam. Meloxicam is a prescription drug in a class of drugs called NSAIDs:  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Meloxicam helps relieve pain and reduce inflammation in active joints. It does not stop or slow the progression of the disease. The pill I take is tiny and yellow at 7.5mg. I take one in the morning and one at night. It is the maximum dose. It also comes in a 15mg pill that is taken once a day. It also comes in liquid form. My rheumatologist feels meloxicam is the safest drug in its class. Only one NSAID can be taken at a time. I  take omeprazole, 20mg. to protect my stomach.   NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding.  My rheumatologist says its possible to have stomach bleeding without realizing it. There are contraindications or cautions to taking NSAIDs. Heart disease, elevated …

RA and tramadol

Tramadol is an accepted treatment for the pain of RA. It is a synthetic opioid analgesic.  Some consider it safer than anti-inflammatory drugs for older people.  There is less a risk for cardiac problems and for stomach bleeding. Dr. R prescribed Tramadol for me three months ago when I was having pain problems. I am on 50mg every 8 hours. It definitely helps me. It is odd but I feel better on it. I have more energy. My pain levels are better. When I started it I was careful about driving. Now I take it when I get up, in the afternoon and in the evening. There are no issues with being drowsy. It is the opposite. I think more clearly. There is less of the methotrexate fog.