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Are there statistics that indicate any type of patterns of flares with biologics?

I have been on a serilumab biologic for 2 years with periods of no flares or minor flares. I have had almost daily flares for the last 3 months, some extra painful, but not as bad as pre-biologic. I am shocked to now have to deal with these after about 1 1/2 yrs of minor problems other than fatigue.

Are there stats that indicate any type of patterns of flares with biologics? Thank you!

  1. Sharlene:

    None that i am aware of. It is common for individuals to have biologic medications to stop working or working as effectively over time.

    I have used biologic medications for 20 years now. That includes 5 different biologic medications. On my fifth and current medication it has lasted for over seven years. followed by my first that lasted six years. The other three were used for seven years or about two years each on average.

    that does not mean any of that will be true for you. I offer them only as an example of my experience.

    Based on my experience i woudl talk to the rheumatologist right away. I have never been unhappy with talking to my rheumatologist about these issues, even when he has disagreed with concern and I stayed on the medication.

    rick - moderator

    1. Rick, thank you so very much for your lengthy and informative response, even though it depressed me. I had not heard of RA folks having to try multiple biologics. Really sad for me since I felt so great on mine and thought I was set for the rest of my life feeling pretty good.

      I did talk with my RA doc who I think is terrific and he said that intermittent musculoskeletal flares are non uncommon even when the disease is well managed. He has me taking 1,000 mg of Tylenol and 400 mg of Ibuprofen twice daily, which has helped a great deal. I am also doing more exercise.

      Have any of the 5 you have been on been KEVZARA, a sarilumab? I will send same response to other similar responders. Best wishes, Sharlene

  2. Hi sharlene. Have you had a chance to speak with your doctor about these new flares? Unfortunately, it is not rare for a treatment to begin to fail after a period of time. This article from one of our contributors looks at how to know when to change medications: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/when-to-change-medications/. Of course, only a doctor, in conjunction with your input, can determine if a change in treatment is necessary. Wishing you the best and please feel free to keep us posted on how you are doing. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

    1. Rick, thank you so very much for your response. I had not heard of RA folks having to try multiple biologics. Really sad since I felt so great on mine and thought I was set for the rest of my life feeling pretty good.

      I did talk with my RA doc who I think is terrific and he said that intermittent musculoskeletal flares are non uncommon even when the disease is well managed. He has me taking 1,000 mg of Tylenol and 400 mg of Ibuprofen twice daily, which has helped a great deal. I am also doing more exercise.

      If you have tried a biologic, have you tried KEVZARA, a sarilumab? Best wishes, Sharlene

  3. Ah yes, the dreaded 18 month limit. A year and a half is about the time in which many of our bodies stop responding to medication, so as grim as it is to say, you are right about on time. I pitched a theory to my doctors that it took about 1-2 years for our immune systems to adapt and they said I was crazy but who is crazy now DOC?? Ha ha. Seriously, I know it's not what you want to hear, but you are not alone in this. Just keep an eye out and talk to your rheumatologist and see what happens. Let us know and as always, keep on keepin' on, DPM

    1. Daniel, thank you so very much for your response. I had not heard of RA folks having to try multiple biologics. Really sad since I felt so great on mine and thought I was set for the rest of my life feeling pretty good.

      I did talk with my RA doc who I think is terrific and he said that intermittent musculoskeletal flares are non uncommon even when the disease is well managed. He has me taking 1,000 mg of Tylenol and 400 mg of Ibuprofen twice daily, which has helped a great deal. I am also doing more exercise.

      If you have tried a biologic, have you tried KEVZARA, a sarilumab? Best wishes, Sharlene

  4. Sharlene,
    I agree with Daniel, Richard, and Rick. It's time to see the rheumatologist. When you phrase your notes in terms of how it has changed your life, it helps the MD. For example, I used to be able to walk down my street, now I have to drive to the mailbox.
    Another important thing to realize is that we are all unique. Some meds will work for 2 years, some for 6 years, some for 18 months. Fortunately, there are many meds out there. With trial and error, I hope you can find another one that works. If your flare is debilitating, you may want to ask for a steroid shot. This helps calm down the flare so that your new med doesn't have to work so hard.
    Gentle hugs and hope,
    Mary Sophia, moderator/author

    1. Hi Mary Sophia, thanks for your response. I did talk to my RA Doc. He said intermittent musculoskeletal flares are non uncommon even when the disease is well managed. He has me taking 1,000 mg of Tylenol and 400 mg of Ibuprofen twice daily, which has helped a great deal. I am also doing more exercise.

      I appreciate your suggestion to use phrases about how my flares are affecting my life. So far, my flares are not debilitating for more than a few hours, so I will see how I do going forward.

      If you have tried a biologic, have you tried KEVZARA, a sarilumab? Best wishes, Sharlene

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