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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 3/23/2007 7:01 AM (GMT -7)   
hi, i'm new here and have been reading and reading and reading these posts, educating myself about RA and treatments and the reactions of people to this challenge.  my heart just goes out to all of the people with multiple conditions and years of trying different treaments with varying success.  i've read that the standard of care often dictates a start of Methotrexate and folic acid with other things added if these alone don't show enough success.  i was fortunate that i was able to literally BEG my way into an appt. with a rheumatologist without waiting months and months.  my pain and swelling was manageable so i didn't have to go on prednisone but i know that this is not the typical experience of members here.
i have a couple of questions.  1st:  is it ridiculous to imagine that early treatment of RA might mean less severe disease at least for the time being?  2nd:  has anyone with extreme fatigue after Methotrexate dosing been helped by increasing the folic acid dose?  3rd:  does hair thinning improve with a higher dose of folic acid?  4th:  do most people with RA have to add Humira or Enbrel to the Methotrexate regimen?
this forum is BY FAR the most help i have had since my problems started in jan.  i love my rheumatologist and i really trust him but i have a hard time feeling ok about taking up a lot of his time asking questions-i know that compared to many people with RA, i don't have much to complain about.  the worst thing about an RA diagnosis is the fear of the unknown.  going from a somewhat manageable pain level to the prospect of hospital visits and multiple conditions can be SCARY to think about
 i feel like by joining HW, i know that i can find answers to any questions i have in the future.  thanks so much for being there! yeah

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 1744
   Posted 3/23/2007 8:01 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi.  And welcome to healingwell.  In answer to your initial question, yes, early treatment of RA can alter the course of the disease.  I also have relatively mild to moderate disease (not that it doesn't hurt :)) and I was able to get treatment right away.  Others may not have been so fortunate.  I believe mtx, with the folic acid, can be enough for many people.  Others do end up adding one of the biologics.  I actually started with the biologics and added mtx.  I was concerned about taking mtx because I was unsure if I was finished having children and wasn't going to take mtx at all.  It is an issue for younger women (and men) who have fertility concerns.  Enbrel, the biologic I was on, did a reasonably good job but didn't quite handle the entire thing.  When I added the mtx, it was like magic and I felt normal for the first time in a couple of years.  Unfortunately, I've had to stop taking enbrel as I'm being treated for a rather serious infection and I'm experiencing the rebound arthritis.  But at least I know that, for me, combining the mtx with one of the biologics works well. 

some people's insurance may not cover the biologics; however, many of the pharmaceutical companies offer programs that provide free drugs to qualified patients.  I think the biologics are great drugs, but certainly not without their risks.

Good for you for getting in to see a rheumatologist early.  One thing I've noticed is that over time (last four years), my symptoms have gradually worsenend.  The DMARDs make a huge difference in my pain, but they are all just bandaids, as evidenced by my current rebound arthritis with enbrel.  I don't know if the progression of my disease will continue or not; a question for my rheumatologist.  I know it has not gone into remission.


Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: UCTD/Early Lupus
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan

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