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Should I start Plaquenil?

Soreness in one hand at least everyday. Swelling comes and goes. I have fear of the side effects since I've been hospitalized for stomach pains for 3 weeks. I have a rheumatoid factor from muscle biopsy. It's hard to open doors, jars, water bottles. Difficult to get dress but I push through. I'm not sure if my symptoms are enough reason for me to start a drug. I'm managing but would like to have a better quality of life without the risks from medications.

  1. Hi tina821. For your protection, we cannot provide medical advice over the internet. Hopefully some community members will chime in with their personal experience.

    The decision on what treatment regimen to follow is truly a personal one. It is completely understandable to be wary of the potential side effects of medications. Only you can decide if the risks are worth it. In this article one of our contributors writes about her decision to be on meds: You may also be interested in this article from one of our other contributors on what he refers to a the "risk to risk ratio" in determining if a treatment is worth trying:

    Working with your doctor and obtaining as much information as possible will help inform any decision. As they say, information is power. Know that you are always welcome here for support and information. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

    1. Hi Tina821
      I was in a similar situation, regarding whether or not to take Plaquenil. What convince me was my doctor said it was a good place to start and it should/will help with the erosion, which has started on on knuckles. I’ve had no problems with the med, been on it for 2yrs.
      Good luck on your decision!

      1. I was diagnosed in 2004 after hand surgery for what the doctor thought was a cyst. Turned out to be an RA inflammation. Symptoms had been kind of on and off during 2004 to 2008 while the doc had me try a few different treatments and drugs, then we settles on Plaquenil. Then I essentially went in remission in 2008 while taking Plaquinel. My doc said it had fewer side effects than the other drugs out there so she was pleased I responded so well to it. I have to see an eye doctor every 6 months to monitor my retinas. That is the big risk, that it can effect your eyes. The eye doc says at my age (55) and dose (200mg/day), the risk is very low. That was a good 10 year run. I do have say though, that at the beginning of this summer, I got a major flareup that is still going on. Doc (new one, since my old one retired) put me on Methotrexate 3 weeks ago along with a tapering dose of Prednisone, rather than up the Plaquenil dose. I find in the morning if I run my hands under warm water, and make myself stretch a bit, I can get some better movement in my hands and the overall pain reduces to a level where I can get on with things. I bought a bottle opening tool from pampered chef that helps with water bottles, and even has a can tab popper. That has been a help.

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