All posts tagged: RA treatment

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 …

My Journey with Orencia

I published this series of posts during the year I was on Orencia. The following are my experiences. August 2015-August 2016 Tomorrow I have my first infusion of Orencia. It is a biologic used to relieve symptoms and slow the joint destruction of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have just read the medical insert for Orencia. The studies are hopeful. (Having statistics in college finally pays off. The infusion  will take 30 minutes. My son is going with me. He is good company and a morale booster. In two weeks I will have another infusion. At one month I will start infusions monthly. I will be happy to have the infusions as long as they help. I have read endless online comments of those who have taken Orencia. They have met with success for the most part. Success means less pain, less disability. It means more energy. It means more life. Orencia , after three months I knew Orencia was working for me one week after my first infusion. Swelling in my hands, ankles and feet gradually …

More About RA Drug Orencia

Orencia Abatacept Abatacept, trade name Orencia,  is a biologic medication for rheumatoid arthritis. Ads for it have been on tv.  It reduces the inflammation that causes some of the symptoms of RA. It is also used for adult psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Response to expect                                                                                                                     According to clinical trials of Orencia use, up to 75% of patients had a 20% improvement at six months. About 50% had up to a 50% improvement. About 13% had a 75% improvement. In these studies, methotrexate was also being given. Pill, shot or IV?                                                      …

More about RA drug Actemra

Actemra     Tocilizumab     TCZ Actemra is a biologic drug used to treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also approved for giant cell arteritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (PJIA), systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) and cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Response to expect                                                                                                                              At 24 weeks of weekly injections, 69% of those with RA had a 20% improvement in  symptoms. Additionally, 47% had a 50% improvement and 24% had a 70% improvement. That leaves 31% with no improvement. None of the biologics work for everyone. Pill, shot or IV? Actemra is a rheumatoid arthritis drug that is a large molecule. What that means is that Actemra would not work as a pill and must …

RA Hip Replacement

I am hopeful that my summer long saga of pain and futility are drawing to a close. My surgery is two weeks away. I am grateful to Ruth and her practical approach to problems. It is reassuring to me. After all my worry and anxiety,  I know I will be fine. I have only one more item to check off my list. It is an appointment to see my surgeon’s PA. My dentist gave me a pass. I had no oral infection. My primary met with me and did his part. I participated in a two-hour hip class which was informative but also made me anxious. I met with the anesthesiology nurse. I passed all my labs. My worries My RA will become a worsening problem as I will be off Medrol and meloxicam starting Sunday. My RA feet are badly affected as are my ankles. My tendons in my legs are also a problem when I walk. My hands, wrists and shoulders are also problematic. After taking the hip class, I became concerned that …

RA feet and orthotics

My RA started in my feet. About 20% of patients are introduced to RA via painful feet and about 95% of RA patients eventually do have feet involvement.  RA struck my poor feet first.  Diagnosis was slow as my primary doc, an internist, later said I was too old to have RA and that the pulses in my feet were strong so my feet were fine. Once I was diagnosed. Methotrexate (MTX) was my first RA drug. The dose was gradually increased until I reached the max of 25 mg/week.  I tolerated the nausea and diarrhea which eventually passed.  MTX helped me but by this time my feet were in a lot of pain and I walked with great difficulty. I was sent to a podiatrist who declared right off the bat that he didn’t do foot surgery for RA. Fine, I thought. I had read about the horrors of RA foot surgery and I wanted none of it. I did need to know what would help. He did three things for me. He ordered …

Being in a funk with RA

I have to admit I am in a place where the mind is willing but my RA body is not. I have been living with extreme pain for a month and I have been trying to manage it myself.  Yoga, pain medicine on schedule, more medrol.  All for naught. I had sent an email via My Chart to my rheumatologist but I had no response.  It seems to be a situation where I have no choice but to call her.  Last I talked with her she was mad at me because I brought the statistics on Actemra to her. So asking her for help is a stretch. However, I have gone through my resources and they are not enough. So I will call. Living with chronic pain is bad enough. The worst of it is how immobilizing it is. My hip joints are deteriorating as is my spine. The worst of the pain is in my left hip and I bet it is where the sciatic nerve passes by the hip joint. I am okay …

RA treatment in the 1920s

In the early days of the twentieth century very little was known about rheumatoid arthritis.  It might have been called chronic infectious arthritis, proliferative arthritis or atrophic arthritis. Rheumatology was not a specialty. There were no rheumatologists. It was not a good time to have RA. Arthritis treatment at the Mayo Clinic  included bed rest. Patients were admitted to the hospital and put on bed rest for several weeks. They were given a balanced diet. Physical therapy was an important therapy. It improved range of motion, strengthened muscles and prevented deformities. Heat and massage were used  to improve circulation and to remove toxins. Bracing and casting were used to support joints and reduce contractions. Canes were prescribed. Shoe corrections were prescribed. Vaccine therapy, fever therapy and sympathectomy were popular treatments at the Mayo Clinic based on the theories of the time. As medical knowledge grew these therapies fell out of favor. Salicylates were drugs of choice. Remember this was before sulfa, penicillin and cortisone. It a was long time before ibuprofen would be formulated. Any …