Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Arava Adventure

For the past three years I've been taking medication which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and because of my latest MRI scan findings I now qualify for stronger drugs.  Today I started stronger treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, which is weird considering that it still is yet to be a confirmed diagnosis. MRI results favoured possible rheumatoid arthritis but the scans were not clear enough to allow for a confirmed diagnosis, so based on my four year history of joint pain, clinical evaluation and observation and a positive response to disease modifying medication, the assumed diagnosis is RA. My Rheumatologist informed me that RA takes years to show up on MRI'S and mine is just starting to show. I have all the signs and symptoms of RA, I've been on RA meds for 3 years, I've tested positive for rheumatoid factor and scans are slowly proving it. I'm showing signs of very early Rheumatoid Arthritis.

So today I started on Arava, my new drug. 


This is a type of medicine used in the treatment of rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. It is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug which helps to suppress the immune system. It helps to reduce inflammation and slow disease progression. Arava also helps to slow down the process of joint damage and to relieve the symptoms of the disease, such as joint tenderness and swelling, pain and morning stiffness.

Side effects include:
  •  diarrhoea
  •  itchy skin/rashes
  •  hair loss
  •  weight loss (nooo! I don't want to lose more weight)
  •  tiredness or weakness (oh no, please not more fatigue)
  •  headache
  •  nausea
  •  muscle aches

Going by my relationship history with side effects I'm a little apprehensive but at the same time I'm pretty positive about this drug. Besides, these are similar if not the same side effects I have with my weekly dose of methotrexate, so I've had experience! Might even be blessed to have no side effects at all, although I think I might be dreaming about that one!


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