All posts filed under: treatment discussed

I thought I was going bald, it was just the MTX

About six weeks ago, I started noticing my hair thinning. I thought it was odd because my dad had thick hair in his older years. I expected my hair would do the same. My hairdresser also noticed the thinning. It was real. Next, I started noticing bunches of hair on my comb. “My hair is falling out,” I thought. Right again. I quickly realized that it was the methotrexate (MTX). Hair loss only occurs in 1-3% of those on MTX. I have been on it for five years and the last three years I have been giving myself 25mg injections. It works for me. I am also on hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil). Plaquenil can also cause hair loss. I started taking MTX every eight days instead of every seven. Every nine days starts an RA flare. I stick with the eight days. I also cut the Plaquenil to 200 mg daily from 400 mg daily. My hair is no longer falling out. However, my hair hasn’t grown since my last haircut. Unfortunately, it was the second worst …

Methotrexate NSAID or DMARD ?

I can now count myself  as one of the few who has read the package insert for methotrexate. I am researching RA drugs for my book.  I give myself injections of 25mg methotrexate weekly. I was opening a new box and preparing to give myself an injection.  Impulsively, I decided to read the insert. Methotrexate has become the gold  standard for RA treatment. It has been one of the few drugs to help relieve my symptoms. Imagine my surprise when I read the following. Medication guide insert with boxed  methotrexate; “Although methotrexate clearly ameliorates symptoms of inflammation (pain, swelling, stiffness), there is no evidence that it induces remission of rheumatoid arthritis nor has a beneficial effect been demonstrated on bone erosions and other radiologic changes which result in impaired joint use, functional disability, and deformity.” So since it doesn’t stop RA progression how can it be classified as a DMARD, Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drug?  Shouldn’t it be a NSAID,  Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug?

Yep, RA is progressive

During the treatments for my cancers, my RA was uneventful.  Yes, I did have monthly flares that lasted just about 12 days.  Yes, I was always in a simmering level of pain.  I grinned and bore  it like a good Irish Catholic girl.  Instead, I  focused on surgery, radiation and life changing drugs.  I even completed a cancer rehab program. One day as I was starting a zumba class, my ankles screamed in a pain that was the equivalent of trying to dance on joints full of shattered glass. Determined,  I tried moving my feet differently (how many ways can you move your feet, you might ask).  After 10 seconds, I realized that it was futile.   I stopped.   Since then,  it has been downhill.  It was a steep hill, I might add. Although I am on Methotrexate (a life saver for me), Plaquenil, (Sulfasalazine did not work for me), meloxican, prednisone and  all the supporting drugs, I am still progressing.  All the little joints in my feet and my ankles are inflamed and …