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Hard to treat RD

Does anyone have RD that is hard to treat? My rheumatologist has thrown just about everything at my RD with either no effect on my RD or if it did help it didn't last long. I'm on Rituxan now and I am hoping the second round does better than the first, because this is the last drug I have not failed. What happens when all the RD drugs fail? My Dr. tells me to hang in there, but honestly the pain that never goes away is like torture... I just need some relief!

  1. Broken73, I too have "hard to treat" RA. A more correct term would be refractory rheumatoid arthritis, which just means that you are not getting the expected response from the medications and/or dosages you are taking. Despite the Humira TV adds one sees, this is not at all an uncommon experience. What I've gleaned from rheumatology journals is that only about 1/3 of us respond as expected, another 1/3 is a mixed bag with some relief and the remaining 1/3 have no response to that individual therapy. It may also take more than a few treatments with rituxan before significant relief is seen. I just saw my rheumatologist 3 weeks ago and was told that we too have reached the end of current therapies to try to control this disease. My liver has taken a significant hit from the biological and we cannot increase the dosage at the current time. What is getting me through this now is high dose steroid burst and a slow taper of a few months to find the lowest possible effective dose. I will continue on actemra, methotrexate and plaquenil. I can't use NSAIDs or Tylenol due to liver function, so tramadol is my pain med of choice. I also find significant relief with the use of a TENs unit on any and all affected joints and spine. I guess my point in all of this is to hang in there and to work closely with your rheumatologist and to discuss alternative treatments. Another valuable option for pain control is to consult a pain specialist. Best wishes.

    1. Hi Crna ~

      It can be such a difficult process of trial and error to find medications that work - and even more frustrating when your options are limited. But I think you offer really excellent advice about how to continue facing forward! Use the resources that you DO have, work as a team with your rheumatologist, talk to a pain specialist, consider all the options!

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

      ~Mariah~ (Site Moderator)

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