I am a 39 year old woman who has had RA for about 12 years. I have been on several different DMARDS and combinations of medicines. My Rheumatologist is suggesting Rituxan. I have seen all of the warnings and side effects of the medicine and they are scary. But I am sure there are Pro's to this medicine that I simply can't find or don't understand because of all of the medical terminology. Do the benefits out weigh the risks? I have been on Celebrex 400 mg daily, Methotrexate 10 mg weekly, Plaquenil 200 mg daily, and Enbrel 50 mg weekly for a little over two years. I haven't taken any other Biological medicines. Should I try another one first? Because of my young age and the fact that I am a single mother, that works full time, I want to remain as active as possible for as long as possible !!! Any suggestions?
every medication has side effects and if you read through the list, there are going to be the scary ones on it area keep in mind that they have to list every possible side effect, but that doesn't mean you'll get any of the side effects. Each of us has to decide for ourselves whether the risks outweigh the possible benefits. Several years ago, when I needed to consider going onto the "bigger meds", I asked myself what my life was worth and came to the conclusion that getting my life back, being able to work, be there for my family, etc. was worth it. You are a single mother, you work full-time and you need to be present in your life, able to function. Is that worth the possible risk?
Whether you should try another medication first... well, I'm not a doctor. It is important that you feel confident and safe in the choice you end up making, so maybe it would be a good idea to do bit more research, make a list of the questions and concerns you have and discuss it with your doctor in more detail.
I was diagnosed with RA about 3 1/2 years ago--unfortunately for me, I had a reaction to Enbrel (blinding headaches and rash). We tried Remicade and at the start of my fifth session, I broke out in hives, throat swelled up, etc...luckily my nurses recongnized an issue early and we stopped it....the meds made me feel better, but you can't mess with a reaction like that. After much discussion, my doctor and I settled on Rituxan. I feel GREAT on it...I've started to really live again and enjoy my 10 year old son again. The only problem that I've had with it so far it a headache as they increase the flow on the IV...headache usually goes away by the next day. I know these drugs are scary, but having my life back is a gift I wouldn't give up!
thank you so much for telling me your story and congratulations for getting your life back!
would you consider writing a SharePost about your story? We have a lot of people who get very nervous about the Biologics and they worry that if one doesn't work, the others won't, either. Your story with trying a number of different ones until you found one that worked the miracle for you could be very valuable for our community.