Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment Decisions

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Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment decisions are PERSONal

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with someone about which Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments she might quit and which ones she might continue. She was weighing options and I said what I always say: You learn as much as you can, and then you pray and choose. It’s really up to the patient ultimately even if the doctor doesn’t acknowledge it.  How many people do you know who don’t always take their medicine exactly as prescribed? Or at all? Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment is really a patient’s decision.

Sometimes, I’m surprised to hear newly diagnosed RA patients say, “My doc told me to choose between these meds. Which one do I choose?” That’s pretty tough stuff. Let me ask you? When you were newly diagnosed, did you even know what a DMARD or a Biologic was? I wonder if it’s for liability reasons that some docs are doing that, but there’s a better answer. I hope the reason is that those docs realize that Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment decisions are personal. The person with RA has to live with the treatment every day, warts and all. Maybe it will be easier for her/him if she knows that it was her own decision to fight RA with this treatment.

Deciding about my Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment

Last fall, when I started the Orencia, I hoped it would be my miracle. I knew that it worked differently than the TNF blockers (like Enbrel and Humira) that had not worked on my RA. A different approach, combating a different mechanism – sounded promising. I was a little nervous for the first IV, but it was uneventful. There was much more drama at the fabric store where we stopped on the way home. Funny how I’ll never forget that much older woman who knocked me down with her cart muttering about my being in the way.

When the Orencia didn’t work its magic for me, my doc and I had the RA treatment decision talk. Doc says, “You want to do this or that? Do some research. Let me know.” We talked about how each worked and what the risks are for each. I asked whether there might be an escape hatch. We couldn’t find one. We picked Actemra.

Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment decision terrorists

Some people are nervous about a new treatment. I know I was last time. But others seem to get a kick out of seeing how much they can shock others with their fearful words. It’s frustrating because the information is not always accurate.

Recently someone challenged my treatment decision about Actemra. I was told that it is extremely dangerous and I would end up much worse. That doesn’t make it easier, does it?

This was my first time on the receiving end. Usually, I’m more of the cleanup crew. Folks write to me seeking reassurance because someone has frightened them about their RA treatment decision.  Some patients decide to go forward with treatment anyway. Others ask for encouragement with picking up the pieces.

Have you ever been frightened away from a treatment?

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010 at 2:22 pm and is filed under Treating RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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