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Med question

  • By Rhonda

    I am on Relafen, MTX injection, Embrel and a small dose of prednisone. My Rheumatologist told me at my last visit that if I don’t improve in two weeks he will change my Embrel to a med that will help. My question is what is stronger than Embrel to help with my flair?

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  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Hi Rhonda. Enbrel is a class of biological medication (https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/treatment/biologics-treatment-options-for-ra/) called a TNF inhibitor. It is designed to block a chemical in your body called TNF that contributes to the inflammatory processes involved in RA. If TNF can be blocked, then the joint pain, swelling, and damage may be reduced. Enbrel is a particular type of anti-TNF drug really in a class by itself (it has a particular molecular structure different than the others). There are other TNF blocker drugs in a slightly different class which include Humira and Remicade…both of which are popular and have been around for many years. I suspect your doctor will go with one of those. Humira is self-injected usually every two weeks and Remicade requires administration at an infusion clinic. Because of ease of use, most go for the Humira. They both are similar in their effectiveness and side effect profile.

    It’s not really a matter of stronger drugs but different. For those who don’t respond to anti-TNF drugs, there are other biological medicines to try. Everyone is different and responds differently to different drugs. In addition, sometimes people build up anti-bodies against the biological drugs over time and they stop working.

    I hope that you find the right combination to get your RA under control.
    Andrew

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  • By Mariah Z. Leach Moderator

    Hi Rhonda~

    I understand what you are going through because it took me a while to find the right combination of medications to keep my RA under control. I started with Remicade, but it just didn’t control my RA as much as my rheumatologist wanted it to. So then my rheumatologist switched me to a different biologic, Enbrel, and the results were great! The point of this story is that sometimes a biologic medication works for one person, but not another person – the way Enbrel worked for me but doesn’t appear to be working for you. Luckily there are several biologic options out there, so hopefully you will be lucky enough that the next one you try works for you! The search to find the right one can be frustrating, but finding the right combination of medications can make a huge difference to your quality of life! Best of luck to you!

    ~Mariah~

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  • By Patricia Katz

    My problem is I can’t stay on meds long enough to help. I seem to get an infection and have to stop takingfor a round of antibiotics. Any one else having this problem? I am on Embrel now and when I was on methatrexate could not take more than 3 injections without an infection. Any suggestions?

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  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Patricia, recurring infections can be a problem when taking immunosuppressing meds like methotrexate and/or biologicals like Enbrel. You really should speak to your doctor about this.

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