New here, have lots of questions!

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 2/20/2008 7:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I am 32 yrs old, I was diagnosed about 6 months ago with either RA or PA(psoriatic).  The Rheumatologist said I have a neg RF, but I have a high SED rate.  I have psoriasis, but it isn't bad, just a spot here and there.  He said he can't say for sure since I have the psoriasis, but also the symptoms of regular RA.  Does that sound right?  He put me on MTX and it seems to help, but my psoriasis is getting worse instead of better...Bad stomach issues.  How long does the MTX curb the imflammation?  I heard you can't get pregnant for 3 months after stopping, but how quickly do you feel pain in the joints if you stop?  The reason I ask is I was late on my refill and a week and a half after my last dose I started feeling pretty painful.  Someone told me it takes longer than that, but after I took my dose..a few days later I was doing better.  Also, I don't have a lot of swelling with the pain, the pain is definately there and sometimes there is a slight swelling and tender to touch.  Is the major swelling when the disease is progressing more? Or is it just and individual thing?  Does anyone get migraines more often with the MTX?  I am also very stiff, I walk like my grandma sometimes (she has had RA since she was 12).  I have to sit at work, anything I can do to help this?  Typing all day seems to make my fingers stiff, too.  I would think they would limber up, but as the afternoon goes on, I find myself flexing them more and more due to pain and stiffness?  Does this sound right?  Ok, this is long enough for now!  I reserve the right to ask more questions, though!  THANKS!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1179
   Posted 2/21/2008 6:12 AM (GMT -7)   
hi isabellesmommy, welcome to hw and sorry to hear of all the pain you feel on a daily basis. i am certain you will get many responses but i think i can touch base on a few issues.
i too have been on mtx for several years now but due to an operation i had to discontinue it to prevent any inability to fight infection post op and am still waiting for medical clearence to go back on it.
with that said...... i know when i began taking mtx each month after blood work and review my dose was increased gradually til i reached 20 mg or 8 pills. when having to go off the meds i was told i needed to be off the medication a minimum of 2 weeks preferably 1 month. i can say after a month of not taking my meds i was definetly feeling painful changes again. and now it has been 3 months and i know it is totally out of my system. my rhuemmy said 3 months was the cut point for a gradual start again- lucky me! so i will have to build up again to my 8 pill routine.

so my first question is what dosage do you take? i would think the lesser the shorter in your system maybe? and correct NO pregnancy on mtx! and it isnt that you cant get pregnant, it is that you should not get pregnant......... sorry : ( if pregnancy is an issue you may re think with your doctor a type of treatment.......

i have RA and your symptoms sound very familiar to mine. pain and stiffness with swelling or inflammation. as far as damage going on while in a flair....... lets just say i understand it as your synovium is under attack by your immune system causing inflammation and pain, but with our meds we hope to curb any possible dammage from occurring. we dont have to end up like our grandmothers thankfully with modern medicines.
good luck and keep us posted glad you foud our threads. yally

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 2/21/2008 10:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, I guess it would help if I told you what I am on! I take 6 pills a week. I started with 4 and that wasn't taking away enough of the inflammation he said. He squishes around on my nuckles, but I don't know what he is feeling for. I don't know what normal nuckles feel like, I never really paid attention before all of this...
I have NO plans on pregnancy right now or even near in the future. I don't think I want more kids. My Isabelle just turned 4 and she has enough energy for 3 kids!

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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1331
   Posted 2/22/2008 7:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi there,
I don't have much to add to what Yalinda posted to you besides welcome to the board! I have been on the MTX for several months and I am also on 8 pills plus plaquenil and preparing to begin Enbrel injections.  One thin you must do  is drink plenty of water, especially the day you take your dose because I did not a few times and I had an awful burning in my hips! I've never missed a dose or been late so I am not sure about that but my doctor says it has a half life of one week, so by the time the next dose is due it has left the system and your body is ready for another. I told him once that it didn't seem like my dose of 5 or 6 pills were doing the trick and before my next dose I was in pain, when asked how long they stayed around,  he told me the half life of MTX was one week.  Hope this helps?
In the beginning the MTX worked wonders! especially with the plaquenil and over time we increased the MTX until now I am maxed out and needing something different. I'm also RF negative, and one thing I have noticed in the past couple of years is that my knuckles are much larger than they used to be, and my fingers are becoming crooked.  It is very difficult to get my ring past my knuckle now on my ring finger and on my right hand there is no way I can wear one at all, I would have to buy a ring 3 sizes larger to get it on but then it would be HUGE! I think your doctor is looking for redness and swelling/pain.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 2/23/2008 6:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey there IsabellesMommy.. welcome to the Arthritis Forum.. good to have you with us.. I'm not on MTX, but I may be going on it soon as an adjunct with Enbrel.. I have been on Enbrel for almost 3 years now.. I have 3 kids.. and have had a tubal ligation, so no more kids are in the mix for me and hubby.. but I know where you are coming from when you talk about Isabelle's energy! :) We are close in age as well, I'm 34, and I sit down at my job the majority of the day as well.. typing starts to aggravate my wrists and fingers after a while.. so I'll take a break, go for a walk and stretch my legs, back and stretch my fingers a bit too.. its not much, but it helps me from getting too stiff.. I also try to hit the gym a few times a week.. is rough at first, but once my body gets into the routine, I feel much better for it.. take good care and hope to see more of you on the boards!

Moderator of Arthritis Forum
Confirmed Diagnosis of - Psoriatic Arthritis/Spondylitis/Graves Disease/GERD/Scoliosis/Hiatal Hernia/Graves Disease of the Eyes/Chronic UTIs/Migraines/Hypertension
Current Meds -  Enbrel/Prilosec/Synthroid/Nitrofurantoin/Midrin/HYZAAR
Past Meds - Inderal/PTU/Prednisone/Voltaren/Feldene/Mobic/Cortisone and Steroid Shots

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 2/24/2008 11:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the input! I really appreciate it. So much stuff you read isn't consistent with the symptoms I read about here on the forum. Seems like the medical community should log on here some! I see some of you are on Enbrel and that hasn't even been mentioned for me yet. Where are you at in the disease that makes them put you on it? You know, my grandma has had this for so long that she doesn't even remember the beginning of it, the symptoms and such. She is great to question about long term stuff, though. How far progressed are your diseases and how do you handle the litte stuff like unscrewing sippy cups and jars? I find my hands are weaker and cramp up when I do stuff I used to take for granted. Also, how quickly did you all notice the progression of the disease like the crooked fingers and severe joint swelling? Thanks for your answers and for being here. There are just so many questions for us newbies (as I am sure you all had at first, too).

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 2/24/2008 2:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a quirky form of RA-when I was first diagnosed they thought I had Still's disease and never really ruled it out-just said it didn't really matter what the diagnosis was because they were going to treat it the same way.
Becasue of that though I did not have a gradual onset I was well one day and sick the next. I had a lot of inflamation the first three years and was almost completely debilitated then found plaquenil which put me in a partial remision. So I've had the disease for more than ten years and just had xrays bilateral hands and feet and have not noticible deterioration.
You will hear other stories that are very different. This disease effects everyone so differently.
I have never been on biologics but they are now starting some people on them almost as soon as they are diagnosed rather than waiting to see how much damage is done.

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 2/26/2008 12:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I have seen wonderful things with enbrel. I have watched a woman in her mid-twenties go from a wheelchair to canes, and finally walking. I did not even know that it was her the last time we met. She did so well...
There is another case, who two years ago began her treatment with enbrel, and now walks straight, can turn, and no longer requires her cane. I have watched with wonder some who had so benefited from Bextra that the pain was lifted from their ravaged bodies, and they could turn, bend and live an almost normal life. Would that they had permitted it to remain on the market. All three suffered severe ankylosing spondilitis. The last my son...who since the loss of Bextra has also lost his battle against the terrible ravages of his arthritis.
Each body reacts differently to just never know what will work for Hold fast until you find the answer to your question. may make the most wondrous difference to the quality of your
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