Good thing is that the rheumatologist started you on something.
It's tricky these antirheumatic medications, they are all in a way similar but where you fail with one, another one will work!
Realistically? If just starting Plaquenil, do not expect anything quick. Be hopeful & optimistic, but noticeable and marked improvements start in the 3 to 6 month area. No this does NOT mean sit, wait and suffer. Prednisone orally or by injection is not all bad when in an RA flare. I even suggest it if the pain is bad, swelling and mobility are problematic. Remember, the doc can't "see" your flare or the pain. So sometimes ya really have to "VOICE" how bad it is and that's when you'll grab the docs attention. A dose of prednisone can provide a significant and QUICK response/relief to help a flare.
Long term CONSTANT steroids are what we want to avoid.
Start to think about Enbrel, Humira and the TNF injectable family of medication. The cream of the crop and truthfully...using these medications prevents A LOT of future crap from this darn disease. You want to find a pathway along with your rheummy & PCP that suits your lifestyle, goals and future. Preventing disability is numero uno.
Combination therapy seems to work best:
Plaquenil plus sulfasalazine like Dave mentioned plus a TNF like Humira is a combo. I take 6MP (sulfasalazine), Humira, Imuran (a disease modifying antirheumatic, aka DMARD) and on & off steroids. Adding the Imuran to the Humira was the best move I made in 4 years. Enbrel seems to work best with Methotrexate. So you have several options and choices.
So your doc is kinda right...seeing how it "goes". Sad, but real! Like trial and error almost.
With RA, normally to get in a remission and mantain one, you'll need medication still.
I'de cut off a toe for each day of the week if it meant geting into remission, so the medications?...you'll adjust, it takes patience and a sense of humor (and yeah...some Smirnoff doesn't hurt! lol)
Write back soon Rocky.
*The opinions expressed at HealingWell by all means DO NOT applaud the use of alcoholic adult beverages, Beer-a-Ritas, mass amounts of Tequila, Stoli, Dewars, Kamakazis....but then again we must keep our sanity somehow must we not? LOL*
Active, Severe Rheumatory Arthritis. Crohns. AS. Chiari Malformation & Right Brain venous anomoly. Partial complex seizures. Emphysema. Rheumatic Lung & Heart. MVP and Tricuspid prolapse. Had Lymes disease for 10 years.