Does anyone have experience with this drug? I apparently will be taking this drug in the near future as a prednisone sparing drug. I am mostly worried about
I was diagnosed long ago with "reactive arthritis"... an autoimmune disease. The "reactive" part of this diagnosis refers to the characteristic that the immune system "reacts" to an infection by attacking the spine and other large joints and causes inflammatory arthritis. Prednisone is not usually used to treat this autoimmune disease but it was very effective in my case.
Over time, the underlying reactive arthritis was ignored and long term prednisone use became the focus. The solution was to restrict prednisone. This resulted in diffuse pain and stiffness such that it was nearly impossible to move without extreme pain. A second autoimmune diagnosis---polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) was added to reactive arthritis. PMR is treated with prednisone. PMR should be limited to a couple years and prednisone is tapered off but that didn't happen.
Ten years of prednisone in combination with other prednisone "sparing" drugs typically resulted in infections which reactivated the reactive arthritis and caused more pain. This resulted in more prednisone to quiet things down. For whatever reason, prednisone alone didn't seem to cause infections.
There was a period of calm while taking 10mg of prednisone daily, however, it was decided that 10 mg of prednisone was too much "long term" and I should taper off. The issue of adrenal insufficiency was raised and the consensus opinion was that it was likely. Just when I was getting used to the idea of prednisone for life---Actemra was suggested and approved.
Past experiences with infections makes me think this isn't such a good idea. The main reason for taking Actemra is to get me off prednisone which may not even be realistic at this stage.
Dx: Reactive arthritis, PMR, Trigeminal neuralgia
Surgery: ruptured tendon repair (wrist), bilateral knee replacements, microvascular decompression trigeminal nerve, surgery pending for lumbar stenosis
Post Edited (DadCue) : 12/27/2018 4:22:39 PM (GMT-7)