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Covid affects on RA

New to the group and everyone is different, but curious about Covid affects on RA?

I have had RA for over 10 years, majority of it I have used Methotrexate 8 pills per week successfully.

I had Covid vaccines and boosters as prescribed (they never interfered with my RA) and finally got Covid March 2023.

The Covid wasn't bad, but my flares were the worst I've ever had. I couldn't go into work, walking was very painful, particularly my knee, had cortisone shot and finally asperated. Now on Methylprednisolone for a few months now (still Methotrexate weekly), Prednisone wasn't effective at all.

Inflammation seems to return on lower doses of the steroid, my RA Doctor wants me to go on a biologic, I'm hoping not to.

Has anyone taken higher doses of Methotrexate for flares and then lower once gone?

Appreciate any insight, thanks. Barb

  1. Hi, , and welcome!


    I am sorry Covid finally found you. I managed to avoid it for 2+ years, but that's when my luck ended.


    I am glad your bout with the virus seemed to be manageable, overall. I think time (and research) will tell about the long term impacts of Covid on RA and other chronic conditions. There is some data that seems to show that a covid infection can trigger that heightened immune response in people with RA and can then, trigger an increase in RA symptoms. I wasn't able to find out how long those impacts last, nor how common this is in the wider RA community.


    It sounds like you and your doctor are working to find a solution to the ongoing inflammation issue you are experiencing. It can be pretty tricky (as you know) to get that under control. I have not heard of folks in this community upping their methotrexate doses to get a handle on flare symptoms, but I do hope if a community member has done this, they will see your post and chime in here.


    Your doctor may have good reasons for suggesting a biologic, as I am sure you have good reasons for NOT wanting to try one, yet. I hope you are able to have a frank, open conversation and maybe come up with a treatment plan that you are both comfortable trying.


    Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

    1. I have been with my rheumatologist for over 20 years and at this point we trust each other enough so that he knows when I have a flare I am allowed to take higher doses of my meds without having to get permission. It works for me, but, obviously, this is not something you should do without checking with your physician unless you have previously put a plan in place. What i can tell you is that for me, personally, when I get a flare up I try to get it knocked out within a few days with higher doses and then it’s back to normal. Well, “normal,” hehe. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help, keep on keepin’ on, DPM

      1. Hi . You are not alone in experiencing increased RA disease activity following COVID. In fact, I found this recent research article titled "SARS-CoV-2 spike protein promotes inflammatory cytokine activation and aggravates rheumatoid arthritis:" https://biosignaling.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12964-023-01044-0. Your doctor may be looking to decrease cytokine activity. The question is whether over time any increase due to COVID will reduce on its own or not. Your doctor may be able to provide further information and guidance on whether any increase in medications might be temporary. Wishing you the best and please feel free to keep us posted on how things are going. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

        1. Yes! When I got covid, I literally almost died I was taken to the hospital by ambulance and within 30 minutes put onto life support and into a coma, I woke up a month later then a month after that went into rehab to walk again but RA is even worse

          1. Wow, that is serious! COVID, fortunately, wasn’t that bed for me, but I have been close to death twice before and they had to put me on a vent for 24 hours during a really bad case of pneumonia. So, I get a little bit of what you must felt and it is certainly frightening. Just know you are not alone and that we get it here, especially if you ever want to chat, vent, or just hang out! Keep on keepin’ on, DPM

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