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Advice on Biologics
tracy1e posted:
I need your help!

I was diagnosed with RA back in December of 2012. Tried to manage on my own for over 9 months.

I have been on Celebrex and Methatrexate since September...with very poor results. I still have severe pain! I have at least 1 flare-up a week. Hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists etc...

I have read that biologics are very successful and I wanted to ask my rheumatologists about moving to this treatment...however I read that they are VERY expensive. Depending on the biologic used it can run $1,000 to $3,000 per month after insurance! OMG - I can't afford that! That is sad to say that I would choose not treat my disease due to money.

Can anyone provide any advise on the biologic that they used and the results that they got? Is there any help out there to help with the financial burden?

Feeling lost and hopeless!!!!
planetamy responded:

I was able to get on clinical trials for biologics and get treatment that was covered by the trial. There are always trials going on for these medicines, if your rheumatologist isn't participating, many clinics that are associated with hospitals do participate.

I am very prone to infections so I am currently not taking biologics. To tie me over I use ice packs on my flares & it actually helps some.

I was on the trial for what became Xeljanz - worked very well for me, however I developed perforations in my intestine from it & ended up in the hospital. If you have lower ab pain this, don't ignore it.

I have also been on Enbrel, Humira, & Remicade. They all worked quite well. I developed reactions to Enbrel & Humira which was unfortunate because those worked well too. I didn't do as well on Remicade, but I had a pretty serious infection by then so that may have affected it.

I encourage you to keep looking for clinical trials.

Best to you!
marzipana responded:
I have been on biologics for about a year, and it is working really well for me.

As far as cost, most of the major brands have patient assistance programs. I have health insurance through my employer, and was able to sign up for a payment assistance program, and my monthly co-pay is just $5.

I know that both Enbrel and Humira have these programs; I'm sure most of the other ones do, too. You can look at their websites for more information.

I am currently taking MTX and Humira, and the results have been really good for me. I wake up without stiffness, have no pain, and even this terrible weather we've been having in the Midwest has not been bothering me. I recently had an ultrasound on my wrists, and there has been no progression of the disease since a year ago. This is really important because RA if untreated can really affect your mobility.

I was hesitant to start the biologics as well, but now I am convinced that it was the right move. Just make sure you are carefully monitored, with regular blood tests, etc. to watch out for side effects.

The other thing I am doing is going to water fitness classes (Arthritis Foundation and regular classes) four times a week. It is tremendously helpful.

Good luck and best wishes. Don't give's a process, and sometimes finding the right medicine or combination of medicines can take a while.

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