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04/29/2012 12:06 AM

Going to a specialist, what meds will they start?

Posts: 25

I have been seeing my regular Dr. since I don't have insurance and she has had me on the following meds for my RA and Fibro. Flexeril, Gabapentin, indomethscin(inflamation) and percocet for pain. I'm going Thursday 5-3 to a specialist that is going to work with me on payments since the meds my regular Dr. has me on isn't helping me at all and I"m losing more use of my hands daily. I was wanting to know what med changes will the specialist make and what RA meds do they normally start you out with?

04/29/2012 04:20 AM
Posts: 3428
Senior Member

Are there any clinics around you that treat on a sliding scale and help people with no insurance? This may be alot cheaper then a Rheumy.

As far as meds, we usually get started on Methotrexate (MTX), Prednisone or antiinflammatories. These are all fairly cheap even without insurance. With MTX, ask for injectable - it has less side effects then the oral and is much easier on the liver.

The next step is Dmards - although MTX is a DMARD, if it is not doing the job, it is common to add another one or two.

These include Arava - Plaquenil - Azulfidine. These run around $85 to $200 without insurance.

If all else fails, then come the Biologics - Humira - Orencia - Rituxin - Enbrel - Simponi - Kineret - there are a couple more that elude me. These are expensive. Anywhere from $1000 to $3000 without insurance. The good news with these are there are programs from the drug makers that you may be able to get on and only pay around $5 a month.

Prices really vary from store to store so shop around. I thought I was doing really well at Costco. I have a couple meds I am on that medicare does not cover. I just found a small mom & pop pharmacy by me that is much cheaper then Costco that I will be switching to.

Hugs, Donna

04/29/2012 04:55 AM
Posts: 28
New Member

contact the drug manufacturer they all have programs to assist us, no one should suffer because lack of funds. your rheumy can ask them for assistance for you .

04/29/2012 07:32 AM
Posts: 1815
Group Leader

I'm so sorry that you are having so many crappy things going on. You'll get good advice here as well as a soft place to land when you don't think you can go on.

The specialist, who I hope is as rheumatologist, may start you on methotrexate (MTX) and/or Plaquenil and possibly prednisone, as well. These seem to be the first line of attack. I pray they work for you. MTX can cause stomach problems, so if is is not more expensive you could just ask to start with the injections.

Your case, obviously, is complicated with the fibro. I have both as well. But, my fibro has been very, very well controlled since I found the right antidepressant. When I say right, that is what was right for me. The problem with fibro, is that being depressed can bring it on and having fibro and all the crap that goes with it, can make us depressed. It's a viscious cycle. These two separate illnesses can really impact our lives. It is very, very important to know that depression is not a character flaw. It is a real illness that needs some kind of intervention. Im not saying you have depression, but so many with fibro do and so many with RA do. It doesn't matter which came 1st, either. None of this is your fault. People don't understand these illnesses and might say hurtful or stupid things to you, try not to take it to heart.

I am very, very fortunate that the 1st drugs I tried have helped me greatly. I can play and take care of my grandchildren and while I might be exhausted at the end of the day, it is with good reason. I still have a few mild flares a year, but to me that is remission. It is possible to get back to a regular life. I hope you get to be as lucky as me.

Take care.

04/30/2012 08:36 AM
Posts: 10865
VIP Member

Rheumy started me on Plaqunil and pred. Six weeks later I went to MTX oral and no pred. Months later used MTX shots and was very happy side effects vanished. Tired several NSAIDs and always had pain meds. Also, pred bursts as needed. Eventually tried bio...Enbrel. Next step was to use Orencia.

RAD meds have been on hold a long long time. Except for the occassional pred bursts and pain meds.

The key is finding "your" combo. It can be done. Usually after several attempts of this and that meds.

Stay hopeful...your's is right around the corner.

Oh yes, much as Paula said depression goes hand and hand with chronic illnesses. Do not overlook this crucial illness for it will halt any progression of getting better with other illnesses.



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