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New diagnosis, drugs taking their time to work, and I'm having my doubts...

As the title says, I was diagnosed recently (about a month and a half ago). I am somewhat sceptical of the diagnosis because I have had chronic health issues for so long, and this is the first time I've had a real diagnosis where the doctor has said 'here is some medicine that will actually help'. Every other time I've thought I've finally found the 'answer', whatever treatment I tried just did literally nothing.

An overview of my symptoms:

- severe morning stiffness
- feeling delicate/easy to injure (e.g., if I put too much pressure on my hand the bones in my fingers start to hurt)
- severe plantar fasciitis like pain in both feet
- severe pain in the balls of the feet
- severe pain around the sit bones/upper hamstring

The doctor tested inflammatory markers and found that they were raised, so it does still seem likely autoimmune inflammation of some kind is my problem. I've had bad skin problems in the past as well, but they are now in remission as I live in Thailand - the 30-40 degree heat + humidity really helps. My Grandad had confirmed psoriasis itself, but my skin problems were diagnosed as sebhorric dermatitis - although that was a long time ago, when they were a much smaller problem.

I've been on methotrexate 5mg per week since the diagnosis, plus I started on Enbrel almost three weeks ago (had three doses). What's worrying me is I still don't really feel much better. I THINK my symptoms have improved a bit, but not a great deal. I still can't stand up for more than about five minutes, or sit down for more than about thirty. I spend most of the day rolling around in bed, trying to stay comfortable.

Anyone had similar experiences? Is it likely/possible the drugs will actually start working in the near future?

Thanks for any help you can offer 😀

  1. Hi . We are not medical experts, so we can't confirm your diagnosis, buy I can tell you that your symptoms are similar to those described by people with PsA. Biologics like Enbrel can take up to four months to really have an effect, so you might have to wait a while before you see an impact. PsA is a strange disease though. It presents differently in everyone and that means everyone reacts differently to the medications. What helps one person will not always help another, so doctors have to depend on trial and error to figure out what will be most effective for each patient. If Enbrel is not helping after a few months, you doctor will likely switch you to something else. Since you are new to PsA, I thought you might also be interested in this article from one of our advocates. I hope this helps and that you get some relief soon. Keep us posted if you feel comfortable doing so. Best wishes! - Lori (Team Member)

    1. First, I am not a doctor and definitely do not have all the answers. What I have discovered is that each of us may share some symptoms or all the same symptoms but may react differently to the medications prescribed to each of us.
      I was diagnosed in October 2019, and my rheumatologist started me off on methotrexate 15 mg once a week and folic acid 1 mg six days a week. I don’t take the folic acid on the day I take the methotrexate. She didn’t have me start a biologic until March 2020. It took several months but finally everything started to feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I still have flare ups, I suffer from what is identified as painsomnia. I experience morning stiffness and each day varies as to the severity. I am now experiencing scalp psoriasis spots. I suffer from what has been described as PsA brain fog, fatigue just to mention some of what I go thru.
      It is a balancing process. Give the medications you’re currently taking a few months to work AND always have great communication with your rheumatologist and doctors.

      1. Question, can you have an occasional glass of wine while on your meds?

        1. Hi @davidr. That would depend on the medication. For instance, you wouldn't want to drink alcohol with opioids. The best person to ask would be a pharmacist. They are the most knowledgeable about side effects and interactions with other drugs. I think you will find though that many members here do still enjoy a glass of wine now and then. Best wishes! - Lori (Team Member)

      2. I was diagnosed initially late April - rheum ordered blood work & xrays to rule out RA, lupus, etc. - started Celebrex 200mg 2x/day & had GREAT improvement of my pain (especially the foot pain you describe - ultrasound showed I had inflammation and fluid in toes where they attach to foot - hurt so bad I couldn't walk w/o a LOT of pain) - maybe it would help w/ your pain also- my rheum said psa responds exceptionally well to Celebrex- when I went back a wk ago for follow-up after blood/images, he said my improvement is yet another indicator I have passed and not RA (which I thought I might based on family history) - blood was absent markers for anything else and xrays showed classic SI joint erosion from psa & I start Simponi Aria next week ... and, BTW, I have not and do not intend to never drink another adult beverage 😀

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