All posts tagged: RA drugs

At the infusion center

I am taking a big chance. I went to the infusion center for a dose of Actemra. Actemra blocks the activity of the messenger cytokine, Interleukin-6. It was the  same routine: sign in at the reception desk, weight, vital signs, 20 questions. I am in a recliner with my feet up. IV started. Blood work. Tylenol and Benadryl to avoid side effects. I think this was the routine for all my infusions. My son, David, was with me. The Actemra infused without incident. I didn’t die. We were there for three hours. I had mixed feelings about this drug. It stemmed from several considerations. I have had a lot of bad luck with the biologics. The last was the TNFi Remicade. After two doses I became so ill I thought it was over. I felt weak and lethargic. No appetite. It lasted a month and I survived. I was reluctant to try another. Actemra was the last one available to me.  My RA Doc feels the drug is safer than no drug because the progression …

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. …

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?