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Message
Posted by beau on August 25, 2000 at 12:02:40:

In Reply to: Recently diag. R.A. Sufferer/Pred/Plaq. for beau posted by Dorothy E. Morris on August 24, 2000 at 13:40:23:

: Beau. Thanks for response. Sorry re details. I started with 6- 5 mg Prednisone, down to ONE - 5 MG.-the plaquenil - started (after just one week on 6 Pred) 2-
: 200 mgs. both per day. It's been 4 weeks nearly on the Plaquenil-- I see no releif!! My left wrist and fingers useless(excruciatingly painful) til about noon-or 1 p.m. - then I can use to some degree!! I have seen R.A.specialst. in June and July- his is her program! My GP agrees - said no alternative! other than drug used for cancer!!! Insists I must give the Plaquenil 3 mos. Have appt. with R.A. specialist late
: Oct. Wonder if there is anything else ?? Codiene to help with pain? Also -recently had a trip to ER.Chest
: pains(been many times re this over the past 2-3 yrs) They did usu. tests. all okay - Now poss. R.A. in rib
: cage? or just maybe the Fibro in chest muscle -- so I
: am not a Hapyy (senior) camper at all!! Hard to handle
: the pain, plus unable to use the left wrist -which is the worst. Does heat/cold packs help at all??What about diet? Looking for any help and ideas! thanks
: Dorothy

Hi dorothy,
The 30 mg's of prednisone should have helped a lot, but it is best used for temporary relief of extreme pain. That's why your doc tapered you off of it right away. There are too many bad side effects from long term use of prednisone. Unfortunately, plaquenil does take a long time to do its work, up to 6 months really, but usually, if it is going to help you, it is helping some by the beginnig of the 4th month. The drug mentioned that is used for cancer is probably methotrexate. It is true that it is used for leukemia---in larger doses. Methotrexate has been around since 1947 if my memory serves me right. It was first created for psoriasis, I think, and then luekemia, then psoriatic arthritis, and then in the 80's, someone used it to treat rheumatoid arthritis, and it helped, so now it is one of the most frequently used DMARDS ( disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs ) for rheumatoid arthritis. There are some side effects, but for most folks they can be controlled---nausea, mouth sores, and lung problems. There are lots of other DMARDS and NSAIDS ( non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ) that are effective for many of us. Enbrel, one of the newer RA meds, for example, is very effective for many people. It helps nearly 8 out of 10 people, to some degree, and for some fortunate few, it is almost like a cure. Very expensive, however---too expensive ( $1000.00 a month ), and so out of sight for most people unless they have good insurance.

There are lots of pain medications out there, dorothy, that you can use to help you get along until you and doc find a med or meds that work for you. Most of them are narcotics, but they help a lot, and most of us use them as needed. Narcotics tend to be non-addictive when used for pain---as long as the user keeps their head and doesn't "over" use them. You may very well find that it is best to use them even after you find the right DMARDS and/or NSAIDS for you, to supplement their action. If your doctor is one of those few who don't prescribe pain meds such as darvocet and vicodin and others for pain, then you would be well advised to find another rheumatologist.

Your rib pain may also be costochondritis, another type of arthritis that sometimes shows up when one has RA, OA, and some of the other arthritis types.

Heat and/or cold packs seem to help with temporary relief of pain. I use them when I have an especially bad flare up in a particular joint. Don't leave them on too long---about twenty minutes on and then twenty minutes off seems to be practical.

Good luck, dorothy, in finding out exactly what your afflictions are and in quickly finding the meds that are going to help. It's different strokes for different folks, with the meds we all use..., beau

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