When is it Time to Move Onto Another Treatment?

Last updated: February 2018

Finding the right prescription medication, if you choose to go that route, can be a long process of trial and error. With many medications taking several months to “work” it can be very hard to know when it is time to try something different. In addition, evaluating if a new medicine even works or not can be such a tricky question to answer, with a great deal of time and money at stake.

When is it time to change treatments?

There are only so many medications to try, and that doesn’t even count the process of getting approval from insurance companies. So simply making the choice to try a new medicine can be a major decision with it comes to treating my psoriatic arthritis. It is not as simple as popping by the pharmacy to pick up a new medicine. There’s side effects to consider, insurance protocols to follow, loading doses to manage, and timing it with other health issues. All of these things factor into the decision to move on to another medication.

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Are you experiencing new psoriatic arthritis symptoms?

For me, this is one of the first ways I know that it might be time to move on to another medication. Rashes suddenly start in random places, new joints ache that were seemingly fine before. The appearance of new symptoms can be a sign that your medicine isn’t working perhaps as effectively as it could.

Are you having more frequent symptoms or flares?

One of the ways I can tell if a medication is possibly effective or not is the frequency and severity of my flares. You may notice that you are experiencing more frequent flares, or having flares long before you are scheduled for your next dose of medication. It is also possible that your flares are more difficult to manage or “treat” as determined by your doctor.

Are your symptoms or flares more intense?

Sometimes my rashes get worse, or my hearing gets worse. In addition, a typical 2-3 day flare hangs on for a week or more. These are all signs that my medicine is not working. Like me, you may experience various “scales” of pain for each flare. Meaning, some flares may be somewhat tolerable, while others are more intense and much more difficult to manage. If your flares are occurring at a much greater intensity in addition to more frequently, chances are you are ready to move on and try something different to manage your psoriatic arthritis.

Have you tried complementary therapies?

There are many options when it comes to managing psoriatic arthritis. In my experience, there will never be a single “magic bullet” to managing my PsA. I have to combine various therapies like diet, herbal remedies, gentle exercise, and prescription medications to keep my psoriatic arthritis in check. If you haven’t tried additional therapies to manage your PsA symptoms, you might consider adding those to your plan to help make your medications more effective for a longer amount of time.

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