Humira for Mild (IMO) RA? Should I Seek A Second Opinion?

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saje
New Member


Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/2/2017 5:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone ...

I am new here & will try to make this brief. I have several chronic illnesses including hypothyroidism, Sjogren's, OA, & RA. My rheumatologist is a very kind & compassionate woman. I have been seeing her for several years. OA & RA run deeply on my mother's side of the family. My grandmother & her twin sister, my mother, most of my aunts & uncles, cousins, & even my brother have been diagnosed. With some of them it is very severe.

about four years ago I suddenly had trouble getting my rings to go on or off my fingers, & one knuckle began to give me problems with swelling, redness, & pain. Nodes began to appear on several joints in my hands. The rheumatologist diagnosed me with RA. Since then she has tried me on many RA medications, all of which led to intolerable side effects, some quite severe. The only thing that has helped me to any degree has been prednisone, & she has kept me on a low dose of that (5 mg/day) for the past two years.

A couple of months ago I was able to get my wedding band off in the shower & my husband insisted I not put it back on because of how my fingers were so swollen every morning. He was afraid it would damage my finger somehow by cutting off circulation.

When I saw the rheumatologist in February, she told me that I have a lot of inflammation but my blood tests are not positive for RA. However, she knows I have RA because of the enlarged joints in my hands, the nodes, the swelling/redness/pain in the one knuckle, & of course the family history. She suggested I try Humira. The arthritis, be it RA or inflammatory, is in my opinion relatively mild, so I asked her if it was necessary for me to take such a serious medication. She told me that the arthritis has affected every joint in both hands & that she has noted it in my ankles as well. The purpose of me taking medication is to try to alleviate the inflammation & slow down the progression of the disease, & since I have had bad reactions to all other medications, Humira is the next step.

As a side note, I recently was diagnosed with a nodule in my right lung. After ruling out cancer, I saw a pulmonologist who indicated it could be caused by fungus but that it could also be caused by the arthritis.

My Humira prescription has been delivered ... 40 mg pens to be injected one pen every two weeks ... but I have yet to begin the medication because the literature states it is used to treat moderate to severe RA & it doesn't appear that I have that.

I'm wondering if I should seek a second opinion. I don't want to ruin the relationship I have with my current rheumatologist however, & I feel that another doctor would not be appreciative of seeing me one time just for an opinion. I spoke about this with my family doctor who stated that the thing about second opinions is that one doctor may tell you one thing, & another doctor tell you somethingdifferent, & then which one are you going to believe?

Any thoughts?

celebrate life
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 2082
   Posted 5/6/2017 11:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Saje and welcome to the RA forum. I'm sorry you are having to deal with so many ailments. Because of the joint damage, I would say that you do have moderate to severe RA. My blood tests and many other here were negative for RA factor, but without meds I'm basically crippled. Humira was a life saver for me and I had zero side effects. It also REVERSED the joint damage. No one can make this decision for you but I think anyone who has had a successful run on a TNF blocker would agree it's worth a try.
Beth

wearyRAsufferer
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2474
   Posted 5/7/2017 3:57 AM (GMT -7)   
Saje
I agree with celebrate.
I am sero negative too
What you describe is more moderate to severe RA
I'd try the Humira

Bstrong
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 147
   Posted 5/7/2017 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
I would go for second opinion and if possible try different options before Humira. Also make sure if you decide to start to take Humira that you can actually take it even that you have problem related to fungus in your lung - this medication is serious!

I wouldn't worry about the relationship with the doctor, go for second opinion it's your health! You will decide what is best for you. I would also recommend to see Dr Naturopath and run food sensitivity testing. Your whole family can be sensitive to same kind of food that's why so many relatives have similar health problems.
RA - diagnosed July 2010 until December 2015

CURRENTLY IN TOTAL REMISSION

Plaquenil, Vit D 700 IU, Vit B complex, Vit C

Warfarin, Baclofen

BadDay
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 1046
   Posted 5/8/2017 2:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi and Welcome to the site
I Also agree with Bstrong You Should go for a second opinion
I have severe sero Positive RA and tried Humira But had Bad reaction to it so had to stop
But Before starting it my Rheumatologist did some Lung tests on me as I have lung problems & also did a TB test it Dose say Humira Can Cause Lung problems and also Should not be taken if you have certain Lung problems TB ect
and if you Currently Have a Nodule then if it were Me I Would be Aware of All Risks and Get 2nd or even 3rd Opinions Before Taking it as Yes it Can be a Wonder Drug But it Can Also be a Nightmare So Don't Feel You Have to take it and if your Rheumy is a Compassionate Doctor she should Perfectly understand Your Concerns and Not take offence at your seeking More information or Other Options Because There are MANY Treatments out there
FORUM MODERATOR Rheumatoid Arthritis for 30Yrs. Asthma,Fibromyalgia,Osteoperosis,Cervical Spondalosos,Degenerative Disc Disese,Disc Bulges, Diabetes,Heart SVT & AF, Sleep apnoea,Nocturnal Respiratory Failure,Panic Attacks,Anxiety
on; Methotrexate , Arava , Endone, Targin 20mg (oxycontin) , Prednisone, Metforman(Diabex) , Tambocor. Oxygen & Cpap, Prolia Injection ,Lyrica

jeanneac
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1883
   Posted 6/4/2017 6:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry that your RA is flaring. I wonder why your doctor didn't want to try methotrexate first? I have mild RA that is seronegative along with Sjogrens and hashimoto's. I don't have much experience with moderate to sever RA and treatments but it seems that a lot of people with moderate RA are tried on methotrexate first. If you have redness, swelling and nodules, I'd say that your RA is not mild.
Sjogrens syndrome 2/15 via lip biopsy: Seronegative RA , fibromyalgia
colitis-resection 11/10, hashimoto's thyroiditis, morphea, GERD
Meds: plaquenil, synthroid, Januvia, nexium, restasis, estrogen patch, prometrium, VSL #3, evening primrose oil, Omega 3 supplement-Maxi Tears.
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