December 13, 2017
I see advertisements for Humira. Is this commonly what those with rheumatoid arthritis start with?
December 14, 2017
It depends on the doctor. My best guess is that they will start you on Plaquenil and maybe prednisone to get inflammation down. Prednisone isn't a long term solution, but a temporary fix depending on your pain level. There are too many side effects from long term use of that drug for it to be considered treatment. From there, it depends on your doctor and your bloodwor - how aggressive your disease is and how aggressive your doctor wants to be. You need to read up on a class of drugs called 'DMARDs', disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. Good chance you will be put on one. The trick with RA is to slow the disease progression since it can't be cured as of yet. DMARDS and Biologics do that. The most common DMARD they put us on is methotrexate (MTX), but some docs go other routes. Ask questions of your doctor. Often they don't start biologics until after MTX has been tried. Sometimes they put you on MTX and a biologic. Humira is a biologic.
Depending on your insurance, there could be a set protocol dictated by the insurance that you must try and fail with before you are moved to drugs that work for you. This is VERY common and is a cost containment issue for the insurance company. Nobody can change that and it adds to the frustration of having RA. Everyone responds differently to the meds, so what works for me likely won't work for you. It takes time to sort through all of it. This will not be a quick process, but help is on the horizon.
Let us know if you have any questions.