Immunosupressive drugs for RA/Lupus

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Irish Pixie, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    22,451
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Has anyone taken immunosupressive drugs, such as: Methotrexate (Rheumatrex), azathioprine (Imuran) and others for RA or Lupus? I'm at the point where I have to seriously consider these drugs for Lupus and would like to know more about side effects/benefits that actual people have experienced, rather than the side effects just listed for the drug. I haven't been on steriods in years, and won't take them again unless there is a life threatening problem-been there, done that, won't do it again. My Rheumatologist has been advising me to try immunosuppressive for several years now but I've always got by with NSAIDs and a mild painkiller...well, due to a family history of heart problems most NSAIDs aren't available to me anymore. Since April I've taken 975 mg of tribuffered aspirin 3 times a day along with Nexium...I'm starting to have stomach problems from it.

    So, does anyone, or has anyone taken these drugs? What was/is your opinion?

    Thanks for your help.

    Stacy
     
  2. Jesus Saves

    Jesus Saves Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    389
    Joined:
    May 31, 2005
    Location:
    Il
    I have taken Imuran for years for myasthenia gravis. I take 200 mg daily. I weigh 107. I am maxed out on dosage. BUT, the only side effect I have is when it gets increased and I get nauseaous and tired, kinda like a mild dose of chemo. I get blood work done everyother month and never have had problems with my liver. I do get anemic. Not too bad tho. Just borderline low. It has helped my MG so much. I too cannot take steroids anymore. I get crazy and swell up. It takes a while to get the full affect tho. It doesnt happen overnight. For me it was several months to get the maintence. Hope that helps. Anymore questions, just ask.
    Stephanie
     

  3. Chris in PA

    Chris in PA Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    763
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    I have been taking methotrexate for 8 years for RA. As for side effects, they were worse when the dosage was higher and I did not think they were so bad.

    Let me start by saying first that I took NSAID's for most of those 8 years and now have to take prescription strength anacid for my stomach because of damage from them. I do still take tylenol for arthritis at night and celebrex in the morning - so far it works. I was taking all celebrex until the news about cox 2 meds came out.

    As for the methotrexate, I started out at max dosage of 20 mg a week. I did have some lip sores that lasted a day or two each week, but I got no mouth sores. I did get an upset stomach the day I took it, so I ate things like oatmeal, and other bland food. It only lasted a day. I took my meds at night or late afternoon so I could sleep later. I found that it made me sleepy so I planned accordingly. I really liked the improvement in my health with it and it is a cheaper med than most to take.

    I did suffer from some hair loss but I lived through that and no one notices. Other than that, no complaints. I now also take Enbrel with reduces the amount of methotrexate that I have to take now. I am down to almost a quarter of what I used to take a week and I have even few side effects. BTW, the longer you take it, you kindof lose some of the side effects as your body adjusts.

    I have my blood tested regularly with no problems with my liver.

    Like you, I would really have a really good reason why I would have to go back to a steroid. I do well, I have trouble reducing the dose and end up on it so long it feels like forever.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,880
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    Hubby has been on Imuran since a kidney tranplant in 1994. No problems.
     
  5. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    22,451
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Thank you all. This is exactly what I needed to hear, I guess it's worth a try with the immunosuppressives. I had just thought that the side effects would outweigh the benefits. My only experience with Methotrexate was when I lost my best friend to breast cancer, I know she took much higher doses, but she was very ill from it. The thought just colored my view of the drug. I go see the Rheumy next week and I'll tell her I'm ready.

    Thank you again,

    Stacy
     
  6. jillianjiggs

    jillianjiggs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    550
    Joined:
    May 13, 2003
    I've taken different drugs on and off since I was diagnosed with Bechets (similiar to lupus in a lot of ways). Lately I'm just on Effexor for chronic pain and prednisone when I get flare-ups. I usually take the prednisone for 5 days, or three weeks on a step down program if it's bad.
     
  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,499
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    IA
    I am on Azathioprine, Plaquenil and Naprosyn (along with Tylenol as needed) for mine. All I know is I have my life back again; before I got help for the pain, I didn't want to continue living the pain was so bad. The Prednisone saved me until the Plaquenil kicked in.
     
  8. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Central New York
    What Shepard said! except I just take plaquenil now and for the past 10 years for RA. No side effects that I know of.
     
  9. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    22,451
    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    I was taken off Plaquenil last winter because of beginning damage to my eyes. I couldn't even notice it but it was caught on exam early. It did help with the rashes, but not so much with joint pain or fatigue. I take Effexor too, to help me sleep at night.

    Behcet's is very similar to Lupus- I saw a Rheumatologist group in the early '90s, three Drs, and each thought I had something different. One said Lupus, one said Behcet's, and one said RA. I moved on to a single Rheumy and after a year or so it was concluded that I had Lupus with fibromyalgia. I had had symptoms going back to my teens tho, but nothing that would conclusively point to a problem.

    Just in the last 15 years there has been so many breakthroughs in medications and more understanding of autoimmune diseases.

    Thanks all,

    Stacy