All posts filed under: small posts

Plaquenil and the eye

I have a question about the drug, Plaquenil, AKA hydroxychloroquine. My interest stems from the book I am writing, Nurse Mary’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis. After reading several additional medical reports about Plaquenil, I realized I needed to look further and to expand its section in the medication chapter of my book. Another reason for my interest was that I had been taking Plaquenil for six years for my RA.  I was taking it in addition to methotrexate injections and Medrol. I had  also been taking it while I was taking tamoxifen for breast cancer. I no longer take tamoxifen as I developed a rare serous uterine cancer associated with using the drug. None of my doctors questioned the risk involved in taking both drugs. I also made the mistake in thinking Plaquenil was a mild drug. In fact, it does treat mild RA and more aggressive RA when given in combination with other drugs. The drug itself is not mild. Hydroxychloroquine  was developed as an antimalarial in 1955. It was a refined version with …

Bring a picture to your rheumatologist

I have tried bringing a variety of pictures as visuals to explain my condition to my rheumatologist. I found this one on the Medscape website. The image seems to be thorough except that the hips are not circled. The hips are more often involved in older patients. I think it is wise to bring visuals. Doctors are good at guessing. Showing them helps you explain your situation and helps your doctor understand your situation.

What does ACR20 mean

    Have you ever thought about what the numbers mean when they say 50% ACR20 at 6 months? This simply says 50% of the group had a 20% response at 6 months. It means half improved by 20%.   The ACR improvement criteria includes ACR20, ACR50 and ACR70. Meaning, 20%, 50% and 70% improvement. Easily enough to understand. I was reviewing a research paper on Orencia. I will be having my 8th infusion on Thursday. I was wondering if it was being effective enough and if I should keep taking it. The article had a chart for clinical responses in controlled trials. I reviewed the column that said inadequate response to methotrexate (The reason for being on Orencia; I think my methotrexate response is 50%, but it is not enough for me.) A response of ACR20 3  months 62% 6  months 68% 12 months 73%   This means that at 3 months 62% of the patients had a 20% improvement This means that at 6 months 68% of the patients had a 20% improvement. …

RA Tool Hand Exercises

Another asset in our RA tool box is hand exercises. We need to maintain our flexibility and our strength. Deciding that I needed to be able to do more for myself, I asked my Doc to send me to the Albuquerque Health Plex Physical Therapy Hand Clinic. Wow!  is all I can say. My hands were thrilled with the weekly professional paraffin wax treatment. I learned a set of exercises that will help me maintain my hand function. I do them daily. They can be done anywhere.  Below are instructions for a few. I was fitted for hand orthotics custom made for me. I have them for night use when I am in a flare. My hands are protected while I sleep. I asked and I received. I am also fortunate to have a physical therapy department that is expert in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Finger Walking Place fingers and wrist on the table palm down. Hold thumb in hitchhiking position. Walk each finger one at a time toward thumb. Return to original position …