It took me about 6 months to be diagnosed. My RA came on rather sudden and I knew something was terribly wrong.
I'm on Imuran, which is very similar to 6mp, and Humira for my RA. I would get a second opinion.
Red, I posted this in another thread but I thought I would post it in your thread as well. There is a new blood test that helps confirm the diagnosis of RA, its called the anti-ccp. You should see if your doc will run that test.
Anti-CCP, which stands for anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody, is a new and exciting blood test to help doctors confirm a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Guide To Rheumatoid Arthritis
Anti-CCP is a very useful test to order during the diagnostic evaluation of a person who may have rheumatoid arthritis. If present in such a patient at a moderate to high level, it not only confirms the diagnosis but also may indicate that the patient is at increased risk for damage to the joints. (Low levels of this antibody are less significant.) In the past, doctors relied on another antibody, the rheumatoid factor (RF) to help confirm a diagnosis.
Citrulline antibody is present in the blood of most patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is used in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis when evaluating patients with unexplained joint inflammation. A test for citrulline antibodies is most helpful in looking for the cause of previously undiagnosed inflammatory arthritis when the substance detected by the traditional blood test for rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid factor, is not present. Citrulline antibodies have been felt to represent the earlier stages of rheumatoid arthritis in this setting.
I can imagine how frustrating this is for you to get a proper diagnosis.
One thought came to my mind after reading some of your other posts. Do you have psoriasis? I don't see it in your signature, but I did see you mention it in a reply to winni on the UC board.
Has your rheumatologist considered Psoriatic Arthritis, which is also in the family of spondyloarthropathies, even though you've tested negative for the HLA-B27 antigen. You mentioned your rheumy doesn't think you have RA because only your right hand has swelling, not your left. The asymmetry is common in PsA (psoriatic arthritis.)
"Asymmetric arthritis makes up about 70% of all cases of psoriatic arthritis. It often involves one or a few joints, like the knee, hip, or fingers. Although it's frequently mild, it can sometimes be debilitating. The inflamed joints may be red and hands and feet may be swollen."
These are also a couple of good links:
I was originally diagnosed with "sero-negative inflammatory arthritis" in 1991, since I was negative for the rheumatoid factor. Between 1997 and 2004, I had iritis six times, so I convinced my rheumy in 2004 to test me for the HLA-B27 antigen. I'm positive for that, so my rheumy now calls it spondyloarthropathy, and I'm on Enbrel, which works fairly well for me (not as well as my first year with it.) Enbrel is also prescribed for PsA, so that might be one of your options. I was also diagnosed with IBD in 2003, but that diagnosis is currently debatable. Oh, like you, I also have Raynaud's, fingers and toes, and man, I hate winter!
Anyway, good luck. I hope you get the right diagnosis and some better medication.
I have psoriatic arthritis (at least that's what they diagnosed me with). I only had one outbreak of pulstular psoriasis years ago on the bottoms of my feet. Then a few years latter the joint pain started. Unfortunately after trying a few of the pill drugs they had I stopped going to the rheumy as I didn't want to start on injections. Finally the pain got so bad and the damage in my hands so severe that I couldn't stand it any longer. Have been on Humira since August and it has helped me a lot. Still have some pain but nothing like before and hopefully it will slow the damage so that I can continue to use my hands. I have the arthritis in my hands, feet and knees.
Sounds like you might have the psoriatic arthritis. They use a lot of the same drugs for that as they do for RA.
Sounds like me and Sally are pretty similar. And yes, I had syptoms for 10 years. Doctors constantly said "hmmmm, you're too young for arthritis....". I just found out last year there is something call juvenille arthritis!!! When I was in my early 20's my knees and shoulders would hurt soooo bad for no reason. I actually have video of me at the beach with some friends from when I was about 22 years old, and I am laying on the floor playing video games and you can see me gingerly moving my arms and wincing in mysterious pain. I had x-rays taken every few years when the left knee would swell with the same result - no physiological problems or deformations. I would get sent home with some anti-inflamatories and nothing for the pain.
Enbrel and MTX is the magic combo for me too! Took me and the doctor about a 16 months to figure out this combo. Other stuff worked ok but this combo has pretty much removed all symptoms. After the pain I went through - and you guys here know what I mean - I just can't believe how fortunate I am to be in this position at this time!