My 57 year old female cousin just e-mailed me this morning and said she has been crying all night. Her doctor said that the medication she has been taking for rheumatoid arthritis is not working and he wants to put her on methotrexate or arava (SP?). My cousin is aware of the side effects of methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug, and that's why she is so upset. I did a little research on-line and one of the side effects of the drug is that it can cause tumors. In addition, methotrexate costs $400.00 a month and may not be covered by her insurance. She also has osteoarthritis.
I don't know much about RA or OA, but I read that methotrexate will probably
only relieve symptoms, not cure RA. If that is the case, there must be other treatments/drugs that will relieve symptoms that are not carcinogenic like methotrexate.
I don't blame her for being upset, and I was wondering if anyone is taking methotrexate or if anyone has any advice for her. She did make an appointment to see another doctor at the end of the month.
A lot of people take methotrexate, and its worked wonders for them. My doc was going to put me on it because my pain is so bad and widespread, but at the last moment he decided to put me in a research clinical trial for a new auto immune drug.
I am on methotrexate. I too was very scared about the side effects. So far, nothing!!! I have been taking it for @2months,4 little itty bitty pills, every Sunday. The only side effect I have it a mild, and I mean mild, mild stomach cramp once in awhile and I am a little more tired than usual, but that could just be the RA itself.
WOW, $400/month, I only pay $20.00 copay, I'd have to ask the Pharmacist what the "real" cost is. I can't imagine it being that high, or there would be a generic for it (or maybe this is) don't really know.
I say you have to trust your Dr.s at some point. They are there to help you. My RA Dr. is the best. He always listens to me, understands my concerns and I don't think would prescribe something he thought would hurt me. Kinda like flying, I am terrified to fly, my sister has been a flight attendent for over 20 years and she's like this "Do you really think the pilot wants to die, he's not going to crash the plane, so don't worry". The same is so of your Dr. He's not going to make you die and get all these terrible side effects. He believes in the drug, I would trust him.
As far as feeling better, I don't know yet. I for sure have'nt had as many flare ups, but I need to give it time. I've only been on it a bit and my Dr. said it takes 2-3 months to really work.
Good Luck, have faith in your Dr.s, they (at least mine) are looking out for you. Heck, they don't want to loose a patient either!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Methotrexate is indicated for RA and is named by some as a "miracle drug" which allows a person to live again.It is even used with juvenile leukemia. My mother is on it and without it could not pick up a tissue.
It does come with cautions and side effects and benign tumours in some- but one must also outweigh the side effects to the benefits. She will have routine blood tests and be under a team approach of care when on it (doctor, opthamologist etc). They will also play with the dose to find the correct match for her. Investigate multiple ways to fund it.
I was on methx for four months. It took me five years to decide to go on this medication and in the meantime my spine fused. Unfortunately for me the medication in time became a bad thing. At first I had no side affects but as he increased the dose the side affects came flowing. It ate my muscles away I lost so much weight because I felt nauseated all the time and just couldnt eat. If i did eat i would get wind all the time and my throat was so sore that I was hospitalised with my oesaphagus closed shut that I needed steriods to open it again. I was chronically tired that I fell asleep at work. It just simply didnt work for me. I was then put on Arava which I took three doses of and nearly passed out so that is a no go for me too. I am on prednisone at the moment til my rheumy comes back from his vacation and then we will trial something else but no matter what I would try them just to have a better quality of life because there is nothing worse than not being able to do things at 40 years old. It always comes back to quality of life vs medication. I will keep trying til i find the one right for me.
I hope that hasnt scared you too much I am probably just one of the unlucky ones. There are many people that have been on methx for years it truly will depend on your cousins health and how it reacts.
I am on injectible methotrexate. My rheumatologist runs blood work every 4-6 weeks to check on my liver, etc. and I trust that if anything shows up, she will call me. You definately need blood work done while on MTX, and you have to trust your doctor to follow-up with you if something abnormal shows up.
I was on the pill form for about 4 years (8 pills/weekly), but just changed to the injectible form. The pills were starting to upset my tummy and give me a headache the following day. The injectible form, for me, is so much better!! I take folic acid too.
I, like your cousin, was very scared and upset at first at starting MTX. But it has been my lifesaver. I remember crying --- bawling, to be exact, when my doctor first recommended it. I was so very scared. RA is a progressive disease; I had to outweigh what I wanted out of life. I wanted to walk, be active -- and not in pain. It took weeks for me to accept the MTX, but today I wonder where I'd be without it. Trust me, there have been a few times that I think I am "cured" and stop taking it (without the consent of my doctor, which I do NOT recommend) -- and within 2-3 weeks, I notice the difference.
The way I look at it is this: Without trying something that is recommended by my doctor, how will I know it won't work and let me live a normal life? If I at least try it, then I will know (and if it isn't for me, then I can talk to my doctor and quit it).
Has your cousin called her insurance company to see if they will/will not cover MTX? I believe it is one of the "cheaper" meds for RA, so I would definately recommend that she call them. Her doctor would help her out too with this process, if need be.
my mom has been methx for awhile now, she is also getting remmicaid injections, and just recently stopped the embrol injections. she seems to be doing well with the remmicaid treatment, I don't know if she saw a huge difference with the methx, but she is now going for tests for some growths on her thyroid and lymph nodes, I don't know if it is related to the methx. I hoping these growths are nothing. She also goes for injections once a month in her head and neck for pain, she calls it her cocktail injections. they really help her out.
hopefully it works for your family member!
I was diagnosed with RA about a year ago and my rheumatoid doctor put me on methotrexate. Although there are no cures for RA i know that methotrexate can help you go into remission. It doesn't really help me personally, but every person is different. I was on it for about 3 months before my doctor decided to add enbrel to my medication but that didn't work either so i now switched to humira. I am currently on both methotrexate and humira. Methotrexate does have several side effects but i know you can take vitamins and eat healthy as well as exercise to decrease these side effects. my doctor has me on prevacid, a vitamin to decrease nausea and it works INCREDIBLY! also, i take folic acid to lessen the side effect of getting tired. Good luck! Oh.. and try not to stay on predinose for too long. it's horrible for your health and easy to become dependent on. Good luck to all!
Sympathy for your cousin. I remember bawling as well when I first started methx, only I burst into tears at the pharmacist. They had to take me out the back and give me a cup of coffee.
However, I've now been on it for 4 years and don't notice any side effects whatsoever. There was nausea at first, but folic acid helped that and it wore off after a few months. I also had to go on the pill; the side effects and my hormonal cycle sort of bounced off each other and made each other worse (although at 57, your cousin may no longer have to worry).
When they say don't drink? they mean it. My one time drinking a little too much alcohol while on methx is not an experience I ever intend to repeat.
There is no drug which CURES any inflammatory arthritis; only control it. Blood tests are necessary with methx, to make sure your liver is continuing to handle the workload of processing it. All drugs are processed by the liver, there's nothing that special about methx in that regard.
Good luck to your cousin, I hope she's feeling better soon.
hi, im 16 i've been on it for about 2 years. i have RA and i've been pretty fine, i havent had an tumors or any problems, although i take it in shots. it might effect people differently but im just trying to help
I have been on meth for around eight months for severe poly arthritis. I don't have any side effects. I am on 20 mg a week ,10 on sat nite, 10 on wed nite. I am used to dealing with this type of drug as I had 12 mos of 5Fu for bowel cancer and it is very similar with folic acid and leucovorin used with both drugs. I still get some pain ,particularly from a fozen shoulder but the meth has helped my kidneys. I was losing 3 gramms of protein a day thru my urine. since meth my loss is close to normal. Seems like most of my problems are auto -immune. I'll stay on meth as long as I can as I am not happy with some of the new biologicals,Ron.