Back on track (I hope!)

I have psoriatic arthritis. I was diagnosed in early 2017, after a lot of really random symptoms: one episode of never-actually-diagnosed psoriasis on my elbows in April 2016, back and joint pain starting in November 2016, swollen, tingly, itchy hands in 2017. My primary doctor referred me to see a rheumatologist. I did a trial run of prednisone to see if the symptoms I was having responded, then started methotrexate. After several months of no improvement, my doctor added Otezla. After five more months of no improvement, I started Enbrel, and I finally started to see some changes in how I felt.

Back in August, I saw my rheumatologist for a follow-up. Things were going pretty good. She replaced my anti-inflammatory medication, and gave me info about reducing my Enbrel now that my psoriatic arthritis seemed under control. The anti-inflammatory medicine (Meloxicam) is one that you take every day, whether or not you have pain. Adding that to my regimen made me feel so much better, I even started running again!

So, naturally, I thought I’d give this Step Down thing a try. The info she gave me about reducing my Enbrel explains it like this:

What is tissue necrosis factor (TNF) treatment?

  • Enbrel is a TNF blocker.
  • TNF is a substance in the body that can cause inflammation, and can lead to autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylits, and Psoriatic Arthritis.
  • TNF blockers suppress the immune system by blocking TNF activity.

Why would you want to reduce TNF treatment?

  • Anti-TNF treatment suppresses the immune system, which can increase your risk of serious infections. Lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have also been associated with TNF blocker treatment.
  • Reducing TNF treatment can also help you save on your medication costs.

The Enbrel dose I was taking was 50 mg every week, in a SureClick pen injector. This paper suggests giving the injection every 10 days. So I tried that, for three doses. OMG, by the end of the third 10-day period, I was hurting so bad! I was even all hunched over when I stood up from sitting, like I was at the beginning of my PsA (Psoriatic Arthritis) journey. It was awful. No more running, and lots of moaning and groaning, lol. I moved the injection up to every 9 days. I did that for three 9-day periods. Still no better. I moved it to 8 days. But then I figured, at that point, what’s the big difference between 7 and 8 days? So this week, I gave it on the 7th day. No more messing around. What I was doing was working before, and I felt good. I hope it doesn’t take too long to get back to feeling better.

Do you have psoriatic arthritis, or another auto-immune disease? Have you found a treatment regimen that works for you? Tell me about it in the comments below:

Disclaimer: Information I present on my blog is for informational purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, such as medical, legal, emotional or other type of advice. If you rely on any information on this blog, it is at your own risk. Please consult with a professional before taking any sort of action.

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