All posts tagged: RA drugs

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 …

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. …