What’s Next?

…the medication saga continues! This past December (2020), we didn’t see any improvement with the Orencia so my rheumatologist and I decided to switch to another medication. I fully stopped the Orencia at the beginning of January 2021 and started Rinvoq.

I have written, on and off, about Orencia’s loss of efficacy for almost eight months so why did I wait so long to try something new? After all, we know I change medications at the first sign of trouble.

Orencia was hard to give up

To be honest, I L-O-V-E Orencia. It is the most effective medication I have ever tried. It’s hard to give up.

I experienced no side effects, it 100 percent (almost) controlled my symptoms, and I only had to sit for the infusion, once a month, for an hour. It was near perfect for me. Where am I ever going to find a medication like that again? I wanted to hang onto it as long as possible.

But, stubborn as I may be, my rheumatologist would not let me stay on a medication JUST because I love it. There were other considerations.

I’ve tried many of the biologics and JAK inhibitors on the market with mixed results: some worked, some did not...at all. And even though there were many newer medications available, they were all very similar in composition to medications I already tried.

Keeping close track of my RA symptoms

My rheumatologist and I spoke almost every month about the Orencia and we kept close track of my symptoms since it began to fade. We decided to stay on the Orencia because the “three-month slump” and the unknown effectiveness of the new medication was unknown.

Additionally, we had reservations about whether the medications would even do anything because they were so similar to medications I’ve tried in the past. We waited.

My RA became more active

But we couldn’t wait anymore. My disease activity became a little too high for comfort. I still got everything I needed to get done, done; just, not well. I fought swelling (abnormal for me), pain, and general disability. Not good.

With the added pressure of school and the dogs, I just couldn’t manage like that forever. Anyways, who knows what long-term damage I was doing to my joints?

Starting Rinvoq for my RA

So, the next step is Rinvoq. I don’t want to go in with a less than positive attitude but I don’t think we’re anticipating any great amount of relief.

Previous experience with JAK inhibitors

I tried Xeljanz and it did nothing for me. But, the circumstances are different this year. When I tried Xeljanz my disease activity was extremely high. Maybe the Xeljanz just didn’t have a chance. Maybe this time the Rinvoq does. We’ll see.

But, I have to consider what comes after Rinvoq if it doesn’t work. If all else fails, I could return to the Orencia infusion and let it flush on my system like last time before returning it.

For now, though, fingers crossed we find something that works and I don’t spend too many months in agony.

Are you happy with your disease management or are you trying to find a new medication? LMK in the comments!

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