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What to do when current treatment isn't working!

  • By Gayle

    I have been recently diagnosed with Seuronegative RA. It was a gradual progression over the past two years and I began having flare ups last August. I had big toe surgery over a year ago and haven’t been able to work because it still hurts. I used a podiatrist who was great and helped me figure out what was wrong, well not totally. He tested my D levels before surgery which was at 14 so I started taking that. He also referred me to a RA doctor who had helped him and they know each other. Understand that I met him a year ago June.. I think. He treated me like a drug seeker as well as many other doctors in my path of finding out what is wrong with me. Because I was cut from disability, Longterm disavilith that I paid for over five years, I tried to go back to work thinking I was mentally creating my problems.. Really started to feel like a complainer and attention seeker and because all of my blood work was superior I must be imagining my progression of pain. After not working I went back to work full time, my job involves me standing and walking and is stressful. Two weeks into this job I had a flare up and joint pain in all joints that have been operated on and my hands. Now we are into this summer of 2014, my first RA contact was the summer of 2013. I went home made an appointment with this RA doctor and he was trying to blow me off. When working I had a patient who had RA and met him the late afternoon of my flareups, I’m a speech Pathologist and was working in a Skilled Nursing Facility. My patient told me about Enbrel. Not knowing what it was I brought it up to my RA Doctor. I just started my 4th month and I am now on Plaquenil too. The MTX made me very sick.
    I recently made a new RA doctor appointment which is way closer to home anyway and he comes with more referrals. I feel that with the Enbrel and Plaquenil fatigued and I sleep close to 14 hours most of the week. I went out yesterday went to the gym did 1/2 hour of recumbent bike and slept all today. I am wondering if I should try another biologic? I hope this RA doctor doesn’t blow me off like the other. Has anyone had better results switching biologics? I want to try something else I want to go back to work and get my life back. This disease progressed really fast over the past two years but mostly since this summer. Because I am new to this I would like any feedback. I feel I have given Enbrel over 3 months to work. The plaquenil seemed to work on the fatigue in the beginning but I don’t know!!!

    My question is should I ask to try a new biologic? I don’t want to stop the biologis because of the promise of slowing down my joint disease and hoping not to become completely disabled.

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  • By Andrew Lumpe, PhD Moderator

    Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer! This is so common with many RA patients especially those who are seronegative. Treatment guidelines generally state to give treatments 3-6 months before moving on. You can read more about these guidelines at the links below. You can communicate with your doctor in a positive way while being your own advocate.

    Switching RA Medicines – Don’t Wait Too Long or Try Too Many

    Treat to Target (T2T) – The Goal for all RA Patients

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