Rinvoq Was Right for Me
I was in one of the worst flareups I had ever had. My doctor had been talking with me about switching my biologics. However, I just never know if the next biologic medication will work.
Worried about biologic side effects
I tend to err on the side of caution and not just switch medications without serious research and prayer. I have had some severe reactions from methotrexate and some other biologic drugs I have taken.
These biologic medications all come with the possibility of some pretty significant side effects and increased risks for blood clots in the legs and lungs, increased cholesterol, and potential lymphoma and cancers. Switching RA biologic medicines is never easy.
I was skeptical
In May 2020, my amazing rheumatologist mentioned about a new drug named Rinvoq. I researched it and got back to her. I said “No thank you” to her. I typically like to try medications that have a proven track record and have lots of scientific studies behind them.
Rinvoq was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and released in the summer of 2019. However, because the drug is newer, we do not know what the long-term effects of this drug will be. That really scared me.
Plus, I know this might sound silly, the advertisement I saw for Rinvoq was of a woman zip-lining. The commercial made me angry. I said to a friend, “You have got to be kidding me. Sure I’ll take the medication and be able to fly around on a zip-line.” I have taken so many medications with promises to help provide relief, only to feel the letdown and disappointment when it didn’t work.
How does Rinvoq work?
My rheumatologist said that this medication was unique in that it is a Janus Kinase Inhibitor (JAK inhibitor). They are also known as jakinibs. She said it targeted something similar to the only other drug that ever provided me with relief, Xeljanz. I, unfortunately, had to come off Xeljanz because it was negatively affecting my liver.
What is a Janus Kinase inhibitor?
JAK inhibitors block enzymes (JAK1, JAK2, and JAK 3) that play a role in sending signals along a pathway that starts the inflammatory process.1 It inhibits inflammation from inside of our cells. JAK inhibitors are unique in that they are available to take in pill form by mouth. Please refer to the article, Rinvoq, written by our Editorial Team. It provides a more in-depth look at the drug and its side effects.
Deciding to start a new treatment
My decision was made for me in June of 2020 due to significant RA pain, multiple swollen joints, and an inability to perform self-care and everyday activities. I started taking Rinvoq at the beginning of June 2020.
My insurance covered the cost of Rinvoq minus a small co-pay. The drug, if purchased with cash and no insurance, would be a little over $5,000.00 for a month's supply. Rinvoq also has a financial assistance program called Rinvoq Complete Savings card for those with commercial insurance. I also will go for frequent bloodwork for my rheumatologist to monitor my cholesterol level and overall blood count.
How Rinvoq has affected me
I started feeling positive effects from the medication in the third week of taking it. My energy level dramatically increased and my joint swelling has been nonexistent since. To date, I have not had any negative side effects.
I am thankful every day that I have with this medication while it is actively working in my system. I haven’t zip-lined but, honestly, I feel like I could. I never thought I would be able to say that. Rinvoq, if you ever want to video a real-life patient zip-lining or performing an activity they were no longer able to do, contact me.
All kidding aside, I hope that this article helps someone out there who is currently considering taking this medication.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?