Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I wake up every morning with hands so swollen that they can hardly bend.  They ache, as do my elbows, shoulders, and knees.  Every so often, my hips and feet jump in to enjoy the pain too.  I have rheumatoid arthritis.

I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, and have been through a whole range of treatments – Ibuprofen, prednisone, methotrexate, and several biologics.  The biologics have traditionally been the best, but they usually only work for about two years.  And that’s why right now I am trying yet another, my 4th, biologic.

I began four weeks ago on Orencia.  Unlike the other biologics I have tried that are once a month shots, Orencia is a once a week shot.  Usually when I started on one of the other biologics, I would get relief pretty quickly, but so far on Orencia, I feel worse not better.  I’m not sure what that means, but am really looking forward to my next rheumatology visit in a couple of weeks.

It also seems that Orencia comes with its own unique set of side effects – flushing, back and shoulder pain, and a monster headache that I just can’t seem to shake.  I had no side effects on the other biologics, so I don’t know what makes Orencia so different.

I would love to know if any of you have tried these meds, or have RA (or a similar condition requiring the use of biologics).  What’s worked for you, and what hasn’t.  I’m not young, but I’m also not old enough to feel as bad as I am right now…

1 comment:

Molly said...

My sister had an ok experience with methotrexate and a terrible experience with one of the other meds. She kept getting infections and felt like crap so she had to stop doing it. She was also a college student at this point so she was in a cesspool of germs, not a good place to be immunocompromised.

She ended up doing food testing, figuring out what she was allergic to, and stopped eating inflamatory foods and started ampling up the anti inflamatory foods. That has been the most helpful.