Mom with arthritis - question about what the doc said

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Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 11/16/2007 4:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I've posted here before about my mom's arthritis. Here's some details about her history:

She has had arthritis for over 10 years. It started off in her knees, and now affects her hands, her shoulders, her spine and also her feet (the metatarsal heads), and her jaw a little. Over the years, her doctor has treated each case as osteoarthritis. In 2005, her blood tests showed high ESR, C-Reactive protein and a high positive anti-CCP result. The doctor put her on diacerein and she was ok for a while. She does have very limited mobility and is in a lot of pain. She took the same blood tests again, they are all within normal limits. She saw another doctor and he says the anti-ccp negative result now means that her "condition has burnt out", and now all she has is osteoarthritis in all her joints.

From what I read then, in 2005 when she had the positive anti-ccp it means that she had some inflammatory arthritis, possibly the early stages of RA and caused joint damage, but is now burnt out and is no longer what is causing her problem.

So, here are my questions:
* Based on the results, does my mom have RA or not?
* Can RA "burn out" and never resurface?
* What course of treatment do you guys think should be followed for my mom?
* What other diagnostic tests exist to rule out RA?

Thanks for any advice.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 11/17/2007 8:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey there PV.. what meds is your mom on? Does she have the redness and swelling in her joints associated with the pain? I bumped a thread to the top of the forum, RA 101, did you read it? It may answer some of your questions, please let us know how your mom is doing.. you are a saint for looking after her.. take good care
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

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 11/18/2007 12:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, I read RA 101. I've been reading a lot about RA recently. At present, my mom has no redness or swelling in her joints, but there is a lot of pain. She's currently taking some pain meds and prednisone at 5mg, tapering this week to 2.5mg. She was really badly off, but starting to take prednisone at 5mg has really helped her. She says she's about 80% better. I know that prednisone is not a long term solution - it may help her right now, but it would probably be the wrong drug of choice long term. I'd prefer her doctor to try something like methotrexate at a low dose or Imuran or something like that.

In 2005, she had a high positive antiCCP test, but her doctor keeps saying she doesn't have RA. Over the years, she has had lots of affected joints, and it's really worrisome. The painkillers don't really even take the edge off of the pain she has. She's been asked all the questions to diagnose RA, and she has a mix of symptoms. It seems hers is a boderline case which is difficult to diagnose. Her blood tests do show inflammation, but of course only the RF and antiCCP are specific to RA, and those are usually negative. Her new doctor says that she did have some inflammatory arthritis, but that the condition has now burnt out.

I think she's at the point where she just has to try some DMARDs, and see if that helps her, instead of just trying to keep the pain at bay. Can you tell me anything more about whether "burnt out" means it isn't likely to recur again?

Thanks for any pointers you can give me. Arthritis sure is a complicated set of diseases that mimic each other, making it really hard to get the right treatment at the right time.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 11/18/2007 8:05 PM (GMT -7)   
PV hi,I have RA and I have all way's tested negative but my Rheumy told me that you can have RA and test negative.So please keep that in mind.I how ever do test posative for the B-HLA and most people with RAor OA carry this.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 11/19/2007 9:18 PM (GMT -7)   
My mom went back to see her doctor yesterday, and he's put her on hydroxychloroquine 200mg daily as a DMARD for RA, and has asked her to slowly wean herself off prednisone. My mother also has hypothyroidism, so it's not a good idea for her to be on prednisone for maintenance therapy. In any case, I'm glad to see her 2 doctors (they are now working together), are finally trying different things to help her, instead of just giving her painkillers.

The doc has also asked for a few more labs (ANA, anti-dSDNA, and ANCA), to rule out lupus I guess.

Does anyone take hydroxycholoroquine? Any advice / warnings, etc?

Thanks for any help you guys can give.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 12/17/2007 4:59 PM (GMT -7)   
I have taken it for about 20 years.  It tast pretty bad if it isn't coated.  You need to go to the eye doctor since it can cause protien deposits in your eyes or something very close to that.  I am 36 and it has been helping me without side effects.  I know the difference when I am not on it for over 2 weeks.  I get alot more arthritic symptoms.
Age 3 fell on my knee.  I have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in all my joints, Patellar-Femoral Syndrome, GERD, noticable breakdown in hips

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 12/17/2007 5:14 PM (GMT -7)   

Don't skip the eye appointments.  I took Plaquinel (hydro...) I can't spell the gerneric name.  For six months seven years ago and it put me into a long term partial remission.  I had a bad flare two months ago and immediately asked to go back on plaquinel.  It should kick in soon and they will take me off prednisone.

If she has side effects such as nausia tell her to nibble on pretzels or crackers as soon as the nausia starts. It helped me.

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