Having Rheumatoid Arthritis is a painful and chronic inflammatory condition that reeks havoc on ours bodies, organs and mental health and there is no cure. Dealing with pain each and every day makes life miserable so relief is all that we strive to obtain. Our journey begins with an effort to find the right medication to help us function to the best of our abilities. Going through the process of finding a medication that works for your specific needs can be a long and daunting challenge.
Getting diagnosed is just the beginning of a neverending battle but the struggle to find a medication that will work for you makes it even harder. Being diagnosed is traumatizing in itself but the road ahead can and will have lots of twists and turns. You’re dealing with your diagnosis trying to come to terms with it along with what is next in your journey including a search for medications. That process is one that many of us dread no matter how short or long that walk has been on the merry-go-round of “will it work”.
There is actually a process to this medication journey. One some of us chose to take and others decide they just won’t do it. The first line of meds usually is metrotrexate which seems to be the one for pretty much everyone but it doesn’t always work as we often learn on our long ride to finding relief from pain but most importantly, to stop the progression of this horrible disease. What are our choices:
Is it DMARDS-Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs : hydroxychloroquine, Metrotrexate, Actemra and Leflunomine
Janus Kinase Inhibitor: Xeljanz
Is it Biologics-Tumor Necrois Factor/TNF Inhibitors: Humira, Cimzia, Enbrel, Simponi and Remicade
B-Cell Inhibitors: Benlysta and Rituxan
Interleukin Inhibitors: Kineret, Tremfya, Taltz, Skyrizi, Kevzara, Cosentyx and Stelara
Selective Co-stimulation Modulator: Orencia
My goodness, so many medications to treat our disease and believe it or not most of us have or will go through the majority of them if not all of them. Some will have the unfortunate task of taking multiple medications at a time. This does not include any over the counter medicines we’re forced to take in dire times yet for some, none of these choices will work. It is and always will be a tedious struggle with this part of our journey and it does not stop here.
Now for the complications we may face with the side effects of taking these medicines. We’ve seen the commercials naming them which has scared us all to no end. You’re afraid because they can be harmful, though not always. Just hearing those words and reading about it sends your mind into a tailspin. You find yourself wondering is the risk worth it, yet you know your disease must be controlled because it has already changed your life in more ways than you can imagine. What should I do is the question you’re asking yourself over and over again. We all want relief from the pain but more than anything we want to be safe while doing it. Being Blessed enough to find something that works with no side effects and long lasting is a joy we all hope and pray for.
Getting it right isn’t easy nor fast. It will take our lifetime because we will forever be fighting this disease trying to find balance while living with it. Taking medication is only part of the struggles we face and it brings so much uncertainty along the way and it is a heavy weight we all bear. I myself am struggling to decide whether or not to start a biologic because of the side effects. My age is making my decision very difficult so I understand what each of you feel when trying to make your choice. It is scary, it can be lonely and emotional but I hope each you find what works for you and it treats you well. I can truly say “I Understand Your Struggle”.