My RA Journey - Part 11 - The Treatments

It has been a while but I promised to discuss my treatment plan. Well the very first drug my doctor put me on was Methotrexate. Methotrexate is chemotherapy drug. It is a class of medications called antimetabolites. Methotrexate treats cancer by slowing the growth of cancer cells. Methotrexate treats psoriasis by slowing the growth of skin cells to stop scales from forming. Methotrexate may treat rheumatoid arthritis by decreasing the activity of the immune system. So in essence it suppresses the immune system. Along with this I was also taking folic acid to prevent hair loss. I was told it could take up to 3 to 4 months before I would notice any changes. Well 4 months of taking the drug and no relief at all. Next was Xeljanz and my doctor chose this because it was a pill. He wanted to try a pill before moving to injectables. Another 4 months and absolutely no relief. Of course I was beginning to get discouraged but my doctor assured me that this was part of the process. Finding the right drug would include trying many options before finding the one that worked. I joined an online support group and all the stories were similar.

So now I was moving on to an injection. The injections are called Biologics. Biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologic DMARDs are made using biotechnology. They are genetically engineered to act like natural proteins in your immune system. Biologics work by interrupting immune system signals involved in the damage of joint tissue. Many newer drugs target a protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF). These drugs are called anti-TNF biologics. Like other DMARDs, biologics affect immune system function.

So now along with dealing with the pain, I am dealing with a compromised immune system. I was put on a drug called Enbrel. This was a bi-weekly injection that I had to administer. I injected in the thigh because I was already taking daily injections for my diabetes in my stomach. Four more months and nothing! Onto my next drug, Kevzara. Kevzara was also injected bi-weekly. No relief once again but pain was more persistent. Mornings were the worst. Getting out of bed and pushing past the pain was my daily workout. Fast forward to September 2020 and Dr. B wanted to try one more injectable before moving on to infusions.

Humira is my current treatment and I take this shot bi-weekly. Today my pain level is worst but I remain hopeful. I go back to see Dr. B in January and my next option if there is no relief would be infusions.

This has been a long, tiring and stressful journey but I feed on positivity to stay afloat.

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