New member needs advice

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/20/2010 9:17 AM (GMT -6)   
I just joined the forum. I was diagnosed with RA about 2 years ago and have been on plaquenil, mobic, methotextrate and am using prednisone right now to control the pain. Now my doc wants to start me on Orencia. The infusion nurse told me "Orencia kills your immune system" Now I'm terrified of starting it. But I know I can't take prednisone forever. I was hoping to get some advice from other people who have been through it. I don't know what to do. Thanks-

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1354
   Posted 2/20/2010 5:18 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi mobier and welcome to HW and the RA forumsmilewinkgrin

We have another member who is just about to start Orencia too. Someone mentioned to her that if you posted on either the UC or CD forum asking about Orencia you might get a better response, as IBD'ers have been using this for awhile.

Sorry Im not much help, but welcome anyway.


Crohn's Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis
Current meds: Methotrexate, Prednisone, Humira
Bowel Resection Sept. 07
Forum Moderator - Rheumatoid Arthritis

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 3042
   Posted 2/21/2010 5:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi and Welcome, I am on Humira and Mobic. I have CD and RA. I have not done Orencia.
Hi, I am teddybearweiser, I am a male.
I was diagnosed with crohns disease when i was admitted to the hospital

in 1992, in Jan of 1993 I was back in the hospital for surgery for my crohns. I had part of my right colon resectioned with ilecolonstomy.

My GI doctor has me on and Humira. B-12 injection once a month.
Also diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 7055
   Posted 2/21/2010 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Orencia is in a class of medications called biologics. Others in this class used to treat RA are Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, and Simponi. All of these medications work to inhibit production of certain parts or types of cells. They all lower the immune response. In people with autoimmune diseases like RA and Crohn's [which I have] it is thought that their immune systems are TOO active. In effect certain of our cells go into overdrive and attack our own bodies. The nurse was incorrect, Orencia does NOT kill your immune system. It lowers the immune response but for some of us this is a GOOD thing.

I have had fewer colds, infections, and other common community acquired illnesses since I have been on biologics. I started them in 2004. I have not used Orencia but have used three of the other medications I listed above.

You are smart wanting to get off prednisone. Long term prednisone usage can open a person up to a host of other problems. Prednisone weakens bones, can drive up blood pressure and blood sugar, etc, etc. Hopefully when the weekend is over, others that have used Orencia will come along and give you their experiences.
Moderator Crohn's Disease  & Osteoarthritis Forums
CD, Ankylosing Spondylitis, lupus, small fiber peripheral neuropathy, avascular necrosis, peripheral artery disease, degenerative disc disease, asthma, severe allergy and a host of other medical problems.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 2/21/2010 10:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Mobier, I am the other person about to start orencia, although I haven't been told when yet.

I know orencia lowers T cells whereas humira, remicade etc are anti TNF inhibitors. SO although it is also biological it is different from humira, remicade etc. I think t cells fight virus infections so lowering them we will have to be careful around sick people with virus' So no visiting kids with chicken pox or other nasties.

Plus if we get an infection we have to go on anti biotics straight away, as our immiunity is lowered and our bodies can no longer fight it alone. I have been on biologics for at least a year and haven't noticed I catch any more infections than I used to.However I go straight to the doctor if I get a cough, no waiting around as it always becomes a chest infection. That seems to be my weakness!

Hope this helps. Have you tried humira? I loved that med, unfortunately it stopped working for me.
Come and post again, golitho

Little Libby
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 2/25/2010 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning~
I am reading here about biologics. I have never heard that term before. I'm on Remicade/MTX. Are those biologics? Thank you. Still learning! Libby

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/3/2010 10:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for all the great feedback. I feel better about starting the Orencia, clearly the nurse was oversimplifying the issue. And my research seems to indicate that the prednisone is worse than the orencia anyway! I'll post about how it goes.
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