Biologics
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teejay59810 posted:
I been on two DMARDs for a month. This was after two months of just one. One is plaquenil (generic form) and the other is leflunomide. I can't take methotrexate because of an undetermined cause of some lung scarring.

As I mentioned earlier my doc is moving out of state. At todays appointment, she suggested that I think about discussing with my new doc (whom I haven't yet found) about moving up to a biologic since the current combination hasn't been as effective as we hoped. I did have a couple of days of being almost completely pain free. But then the pain came back at a higher level.

After some further discussion, we agreed to continue the current meds to give it some more time, and I would think about it. We also agreed to drop the meloxicam in favor of a RX ibuprofen.

So my obvious question is, of those using them, has there been a great improvement? When you started were you at point of nothing else working? And is it cost prohibitive? I have pretty decent insurance, but I don't make Phil Mickelson's type money.
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3collies responded:
I can't comment on the financial end of RA treatment because I am a veteran and receive treatment through the VA (which has been wonderful) but I can share my own journey with meds. Plaquenil made my ears ring, I still take a half dose of Leflunomide but the full dose gave me neuropothy in my feet. I was allergic to Methotrate, Enbrel and Humira. I have been getting Orencia infusions for about 2 years and I rarely have a flare and when I do, they are mild (like a reminder of what it was like before treatment). Juggling meds can sometimes take years to get the right combination for you. Everyone is different. This past year, I have been concentrating on eating right and elliminating trigger foods. Two months ago I started an exercise program with a recumbent exercycle. At first I was only able to go 10 min. but now I can ride for 35 minutes before my feet tingle and my ankles begin to ache. Even with the discomfort from the exercise, the results have been fantastic. I feel stronger, I sleep better and I can also work on leash with my new puppy. Exercise isn't a miracle drug and it's tough to work through the pain but I think it's the best drug that I've been given. I hope this helps.
 
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teejay59810 replied to 3collies's response:
3collies,

Thanks for the reply. Since I posted I've found out my insurance doesn't cover. Total cost to me is in the $1500 plus range. Somewhere on this site I read that there are ways of getting it reduced, but I haven't checked into it yet.

Also since I posted, I have made an appointment with a new doc.. I don't see him until late June. That will give one more month on the current regiment. Hopefully, I will have seen some improvement by then.
 
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FightingRA replied to teejay59810's response:
I don't know how long you have had RA or what you have tired. Before trying the biologics at that really high cost, please read my blog at ra-fighter.blogspot.com about the use of antibiotics, which have kept my RA in submission (except for a couple of relapses due to generic drugs changing) for six years. Yes, brand minocin is expensive, but once under control, you only take a maintenance level. For me that is just one tablet M, W & F. So even at $12 each, that brings the cost WAY DOWN. Please look into this...best of luck with whatever you do. I understand that occasionally the drug co. will allow you to purchase a drug for a discounted price. That still leaves a big hole in your budget, tho.