Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Take your medicine, folks!

A recent article in the Journal "Arthritis Research and Therapy" demonstrated, unsurprisingly, that folks with Rheumatoid Arthritis who were more consistent at taking their DMARDs (Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs) do have better prognoses - they feel better sooner, and have less structural damage. The subjects in this study had just been diagnosed, and were followed over two years.

The key point of this article was that younger patients were more likely to stay on their drugs than older patients.

My two cents - have any of you been on methotrexate? Many rheumatologists and patients love this drug, but it was my personal nightmare. I took it weekly for 6 weeks, and for three days each week I was nauseated, dizzy, exhausted, and had rampant diarrhea. I'm in my early 40s, and not frail by any means. I can imagine that for folks with compromised health already some of these drugs are worse than the disease. I think about my grandparents, who as they have gotten older are more forgetful and less tolerant of side effects. The article calls for more investigation into how to increase medication compliance - and this is especially true for older people.

So, if you can, don't give up on your meds too quickly. Build a support system to get yourself through the first few months, when both the pain and side effects are the worst. Many of these drugs do work. Just give them time...


  1. methotrexate are real nightmare to patietns.But there is no way to control pain. Support systems are need of the time.Let me try on some support system to help artiritis.

  2. Your experience of methatrexate sounds just like mine, yet I know others for whom it is a wonder drug. I also couldn't tolerate Sulphasalazine, cyclosporin, Hydroxychloriquin - DMARDs are not for me, so was and still am excited by the discovery of Biologics, Humira my miracle drug.
    (same anon as just found your blog - from yest (uk time), I've almost got up to speed reading it all now - it's really got me thinking about many things again, thank-you). Although my joints are not so happy I've spent so much time just sat here reading.........

  3. Hey Flo - Sometimes when a post takes me a long time to write my hips and hands hurt too. I hope the blog does us more good than harm!

  4. I have been taking methotrexate since December. It seems that the longer I take it the more symptoms I get. I am now up to nausea, diahrea, exhaustion, and I can't really see that it is helping any of my pain. Maybe just a tiny bit. I have deveoloped cold sores about 6 times since December and this week for the first time I had a mouth sore. The Rheum is considering switching me to Humira, Remicade on Enbrel. By the way, I am loving you blog!