I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis early in 2020. This was unexpected as I thought my increasing aches and pains were due to fibromyalgia/CFS or something. I was a little sceptical about the RA diagnosis but went with it as my Rheumatology Consultant knew far more about this stuff than I did.
My blood test inflammatory markers ESR and CRP were both elevated, and I had a whole body scan after being injected with a radioactive marker, highlighting areas of bone damage.
After trying and giving up Hydroxychloroquine which make me rather tired and irritable, I was put onto Methotrexate. Interestingly, in the weeks between stopping Hydroxychloroquine and starting Methotrexate, my RA symptoms became much worse with general ache averaging 3/10 and specific pain up to 8/10.
I’m currently on my 6th dose of MTX ( 6 tablets ) and the effects are very unpleasant
- nausea/vomiting on the 2nd/3rd day
- Vicious migraine on the 3rd/4th day
- appetite loss for most of the rest of the week ( this is good )
- no noticeable effect on RA symptoms
I’m going to try for injectable MTX, and if that does not work, then some other DMARDs
All of this does seem to be the standard route for treating RA, trying cheaper/safer drugs to start with and then work on to the more difficult ones. Trying one drug, feeling terrible, stopping, feeling terrible, trying another drug does take a toll on the patient especially if they are trying to maintain a full time job.
Stopping the RA treatment is not really an option, as RA permanently damages the body, not just the joints but heart, lungs and other organs. If I’m not effectively treating the RA, my body is deteriorating.
So, my inflammatory markers : ESR is 53 ( normal = 30 ) and my CRP is 9 ( normal = 5 )
I’m waiting for these markers to start going down.