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Afraid of RA meds...please help ease my mind if you can!

Hi! I'm new to all this! Just a brief intro😮k, first time Rheumatologist is really leaning towards RA after several visits, which I've suspected already for the last 13+ yrs. (long story but only recently got insurance and was able to see a specialist) A brief history: had pain in ALL of my joints for over 13 yrs that has increased over the yrs and effects my daily life greatly....extreme fatigue, some days are much worse than others but the pain has always been there! Also always experienced other bodily pain and sensitivities. Recently (past 3-4 yrs) started gaining a lot of weight without any major lifestyle changes or anything way to explain it, fatigue insurance over the summer, and my health went into crazy mode right after! In and out of the hospital all of July, saw an Endocrinologist....turns out I have Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism....also recently diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian syndrome, and the Rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia as well....the Fibro meds did help with pain I didn't know was separate from my joint pain...but it did not affect my joint pain AT (sorry this is so long) my Rheumatologist has decided to put me on Arava....Honestly I am scared to death of these RA meds! The avoiding contact with ppl who have recently had oral polio vaccine or nasal flu vaccines....for how long? Avoid ppl who are sick....deadly liver or lung problems/side effects???? I'm so scared to start this medicine!!! PLEASE someone me what I need to know about this medicine and am I overreacting about taking this? The dr says my inflammation levels need to get down....I haven't started taking it yet due to a scratchy throat abs having been around so many ppl over the holidays I wanted to make sure the kids and I hadn't caught anything before I start...I'm just so scared and nervous about this medication! Please help!

  1. Hi Cw_mommy~

    I'm sorry to hear that you have gone through such pain and struggle for so many years without a proper diagnosis - and I am happy to hear that you are now working with a rheumatologist to get one. It's not uncommon for patients to have more than one autoimmune condition (I actually have RA & Hashimotos myself!)

    The potential risks and side effects of RA medication can be quite overwhelming, but there are a couple of important things to keep in mind. First, your doctor wouldn't be recommending the medication unless he thought that the benefits would outweigh the risks. Second, those are POSSIBLE side effects, not certainties. In fact, they don't happen to most people - but need to be listed because they happened to a few. Honestly if you can work with your doctor to find a medication that works to treat your symptoms it can make a huge difference in your quality of life - and you won't be able to find one that works unless you try something your doctor recommends.

    Hang in there and remember that we are here to support you!


    ~Mariah~ (Site Moderator)

    1. I have been on Enbrel, Remicaid and Orencia. I have been in Intensive Care for Sepsis when I was on Remicaid. These drugs are not without risks. I quit taking Orencia 6 years ago when I lost insurance. I thought it was just my joints that were suffering. I was so WRONG. I now have heart disease and Lung disease due to RA!

      Do not go with out the best treatment you and your doctor decide is best. I am starting Orencia again. I will be very careful but I will never go again without RA treatment like I did before.

      Best to you!

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