arava experiences?

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retrn
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 9/28/2008 6:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all, I am newly diagnosed with RA-was allergic to Methotrexate and Plaquenil so am now on Arava-3wks now and have had some minor side effects that I'm working thru and hoping I can tolerate this drug-recent flare and currently on 10mg of Prednisone too with mild pain-hope to be able to taper off when Arava kicks in.  Any tips or words of wisdom regarding this drug and RA in general? Any good vitamins, enzymes, or other helpful alternatives?  Do you all recommend flu and pneumo shots? Thanks retrn

sjkly
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 9/28/2008 7:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello, and welcome to the forum. I can't help you with the arava as I haven't taken it. I am sorry you are unable to tolerate plaquenil and mtx as they have really helped me.
As to flu shots that is up to you and your doc-I have been told no-I should not do anything that turns up my immune system others are told yes.
Take a good calcium supplement at least while you are on the prednisone as that stuff leaches calcium from your bones. You may find that omega 3 supplements-or raw nuts-help with the inflamation.

As for RA in general-good aggressive early treatment is essential. You will need to pay careful attention to the things that cause you to get worse-for me they include, any type of stress, not sleeping enough, and any type of viral or bacterial infection. Those things are gaurentees that I will end up with swollen painful joints-other people have other triggers.

Other people will be along over the next day or so to welcome you and to provide their advice and experience. There will be people who have taken arava and can tell you what they think of it.
Sj

nuttynurse25
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/29/2008 10:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been arava now for 8 weeks...But I also em on plaquinil....I have also some minor side effects that Im stll dealing with but i can easly manage....I do notice that my fatique has greatly improved...Im still having pain but not nearly as bad...I just saw my rheumy inwitch we have decided  to give it a good 6 months...My next step he said would be the biologics...make sure you get you labs checked esp the liver enzymes...The other biggest that I have heard to watch is the blood pressure...not to scare you..arava is still the first line of treatment...hang in there..I think im going to get the flu and pneumonia this season, i work in the hospital..diane

CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 9/30/2008 8:40 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Dianne, does arava cause your bp to rise? I ask b/c I'm dealing with that right now. It's been slowly rising since the beginning of the year as well as my liver enzymes. I've been on arava for about a year and a half. I was having some problems after a few months and have cut back to a 1/2 of a minimum dose (1 10mg pill), it cut back the side-effects and still helps. But, now I'm dealing with BP issues. I lookes up to see if it is known to cause BP issues, and didn't find info on that.

Retrn - what type of side effects do you have? I have issues with my stomach, but it goes away once I'm on it regularly. Every time I stop it and start up again, I have to readjust to it. I was having trouble with some muscles, allergies, etc. Cutting back to the minimum amt possible, did help. Like I said above, I'm having some new issues and am wondering if Arava could be contributing to it. I'm sorry plaquenil doesn't work for you - i love that med, I take it with the Arava.

****


 


nuttynurse25
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/30/2008 12:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey, ca mama... I'm still on my plaquanil with arava, I have been on them for about 8 weeks...I have read other post on other sites that people have had problem with there blood pressure and liver enzymes.. They had to quit the arava..so, far like you said the side effects get better. except I still get episodes of diarrhea and gas....but right now its managable..fatigue has improved and pain is letting up some..how long did it take for your arava and plaquanil to work?   I f I was you I would mention that to your docter about the arava posssible causing you problems...diane

CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 9/30/2008 4:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I have. I"m seeing a cardiologits, the rhuemy wasn't sure if Arava would affect the BP, but I do get my liver checked regularly and the enzymes are up. I think I need to jsut stop it if it has anything to do with my breathing problems that have started as well, my BP, or the liver....<sigh>...I hate to start having joint pain again, hopefully the plaquenil will work on its own, but I just can't continue on the way I have been feeling the last month.
 
The plaquenil works great, but it's very subtle....you'll slowly start to feel better then suddenly 5-6 months after starting it, you realize you feel MUCH better and wonder if you're in remission. It gives me gas as well when I stop and restart it as well.  I took it alone for a long time, then starting having more and more flares....so we added the Arava and slowly but surely the flares subsided.
 


golitho
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 9/30/2008 9:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I was on Arava with mtx for about 9 months, then as RA still active, sulphasolazine added in to the mix. Thought I was doing great but got the sudden call from the specialist....white blood cell count down to 2.4. So she stopped sulphasolazine first, then with only minimal improvement, she stopped arava. I felt much better health wise off Arava, now on Humira. Biological agents are the way to go, no stiffness, I can get into the bottom of the fridge...pain free. Made an enormous difference to my life. Only been on it 3 months, immuno suppression is my problem now...always something.

retrn
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 9/30/2008 9:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all, enjoy all the dialogue about arava-so when first started a fast heart rate but it settled down or just raised slightly and BP about an hour and a half after taking and then subsided on it own. Advanced to 20mg and on day 4 of that noticed I became short of breath-have history of asthma and other RA meds have done the same. Now debating whether to take next dose tomorrow? Hate to have to count another drug out so soon. Too soon to tell if RA pain improving. I also had a couple of bouts of severe acid indigestion but took some antacids and cut out diet coke which I had everyday and seem to be better.

nuttynurse25
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 10/1/2008 3:01 PM (GMT -7)   

thanks ca mama, i feel improvement but not all the way yet.  For anybody else like rtrn, I have already been switch meds since june when the mtx was causing side effects and not feeling any better..I guess we all have t o find are special cocktails that work for us...hang in ther everybody and take care...diane

 

 


CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 10/1/2008 6:51 PM (GMT -7)   

That's a big fact - everyone reacts to each med differently, what works great for some, doesn't do a darn thing for others. You just have to "try and see" with them...and some, like plaquenil ARE subtle and do take a while to kick in.

I found a list of my recent problems on a web site as side effects of Arava, including the high BP. Considering I've already been hospitalized from bad reactions to 2 other meds (methotrexate and Remicade), I'm guessing there is a VERY good chance Arava is the culprit. I've decided to stop immediately, I just can't afford to chance yet another drug I think might be causing me problems. I have 2 young children. I called and left a message for my *new* rheumy...found out he's a guy I used to see and he's the worst when it comes to not believing ANY drug gives side-effects. Bummer. He urged me to stick with Remicade, so I did, and finally after 5 months of pneumonia, flares coming after the infusion instead of getting better, and another job lost due to health, I stopped taking it. The question is, should I demand I get that powder that helps get Arava out of your system quickly? Will that help me get better quicker or has the damage already been done? By getting it out of my system quickly, will that cause me to flare really bad soon after?

Retrn - I only take 1 10mg pill of Arava for the same reasons...20mg was too much for me...but I'm hypersensitive...I take children's cold medicine often instead of the adult dose.

****


 


nuttynurse25
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 10/2/2008 2:39 PM (GMT -7)   

CA mama,  Thats good question rather to get the med to get the arava out of your system...I just want to throw a few things to think about..Do you want to take another medicine if you hyper sensitive? Yes there always possible of a flare like you said by getting it out of your system quickly...call your rheumy and see what he says....Do you have to see that rheumy?   diane

 

Ps hope things work out for you


golitho
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 10/12/2008 7:35 PM (GMT -7)   
When I stopped arava, my symptoms disappeared within a week even though I didn't take anything to help get it out of my system. I also seem to be particularly sensitive to these nasty rheumy drugs, my specialist has reduced dosages to much smaller amounts which seem to help with the side effects. Hey Ca mama interested to hear you too had pneumonia, was it the remicade? They're not sure with me if its humira or just reduced immunity. I'm hoping its reduced immunity because I don't want to give up humira. Its the best treatment I've had so far. Have you had any long lasting problems from having had pneumonia?

CaMama
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1884
   Posted 10/12/2008 9:22 PM (GMT -7)   
The rhuemy never called me back. <sigh> I will defer to my cardiologist on the 24th. I did learn that the powder interferes with the heart medication I've been given.
 
As to "do I have to see this guy" - I don't know...he is the one currently taking over the office I go to, but only 1 day a week. They may have different docs rotating which would mean I may see someone different every time (ugh!). They have another office I could go to, but I don't know who the other docs are there as all the other ones I've seen in the past left. I'll have to look in to it.
 
Golitho, I don't think I have had lasting problems from all the pneumonia with the possible exception of taking time to really get my immune system (or lungs) a little stronger and the fact I got zapped with so much radiation from x-rays and scans for a while that I probably still have a good 8 years of radiation left in me. shocked   Yes, I was on Remicade when I kept coming down with it. It also happened, when an acute case of EBV/Mono hit me with a swollen spleen toxic liver (doc thinks methotrexate really helped that one along) where upon recouperating for the next 6 months (bed rest for the first 3 and near bed-rest for the last 3) I continually had pneumonia and bronchitis.
 
I'm glad to hear you symptoms went away quickly. That is encouraging to hear.
****
 

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