Author of From the Ashes
It is true; every day is an unknown, good days, bad days, great days, and terrible days. I am married to RA. In 2004, a familiar journey began for my wife Susan and me, familiar to those living with RA that is. Some miss-diagnosis, the pain, one point in her battle she was even question by a physician if there was any pain.
How can I include myself?
Good question, understand this, your spouse or significant other may not have their joint deteriorating, however, the pain is real for them. In future posts I will touch on that subject in more detail. In advocate meetings that we have both spoke at, I discovered similar tales shared among many. Others are simply lost and overcome in grief; this is what motivated my wife and me to share.
We moved to Arizona hoping the dry, dry, air and heat would work its natural wonders. It helped some, the rest we would have to pursue with personal effort and determination, to find a way, and find a treatment.
Education is the factor needed to begin winning the battles. I have experienced that to some this is a familiar list, to others it is completely unknown.
Types of RA medication *
NSAIDS. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) Over-the-counter NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve). Stronger NSAIDs are available by prescription.
Steroids. Corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone, reduce inflammation and pain and slow joint damage.
Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). These drugs can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) and minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin, others).
Immunosuppressants. These medications act to tame your immune system, which is out of control in rheumatoid arthritis. Examples include azathioprine (Imuran, Azasan), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune, Gengraf) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).
TNF-alpha inhibitors. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is an inflammatory substance produced by your body. TNF-alpha inhibitors can help reduce pain, morning stiffness, and tender or swollen joints. Examples include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira), golimumab (Simponi) and certolizumab (Cimzia).
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor Inhibitor. Several other rheumatoid arthritis drugs target a variety of processes involved with inflammation in your body. These drugs include anakinra (Kineret), abatacept (Orencia), rituximab (Rituxan) and tocilizumab (Actemra).
Wow, what a list, however, I assure you this is a good thing.
How can this be good, David? Good question, eh.
With RA, no one treatment works for each individual. The selection allows for physicians to combine and weave through treatment combinations. I know this because my wife has been through all the categories. It took a couple years, yet it did manifest for her, the relief came in the combination of methotrexate and IL-6. Specifically Actemera.
My advice to you, do not stop trying, seeking, and educating yourself on the many treatments available. In my next post I will share the tale of how a couple with no insurance, no money, and new to life in the desert fought and overcame the many obstacles.
Have a Great Day
Author of From the Ashes
“To underestimate the power of ‘the little things,’ is to miss the essence necessary to make it another step in the journey of life.” DMK.
*Medication Definitions: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rheumatoid-arthritis/DS00020/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs