Thursday, January 16, 2014

Treatment Topic Thursday ...

Thursdays I will devote to talking about treatments, both conventional and unconventional. I will try to go in detail of each topic and hopefully you will find the information helpful. If there is a topic you would like me to research and post about I'd be happy to try to do that, just message me.

Today's topic is Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine). This is the first try drug for RA according to my doctor. They start here because it is the least likely of the RA treatment drugs to cause side effects. The interesting thing about this medication is that it's actual original use was as an anti-malarial drug.

It's used to treat the inflammation of both RA and Lupus.

Possible side effects -

abdominal cramps, diarrhea, heart problems, reduced appetite, headache, nausea & vomiting, altered eye pigmentation, acne, anemia, bleaching of hair, blisters in mouth and eyes, blood disorders, convulsions, significant vision difficulties, diminished reflexes, emotional changes, excessive coloring of the skin, hearing loss, hives, itching, liver problems or failure, loss of hair, muscle paralysis, weakness or atrophy, nightmares, psoriasis, reading difficulties, tinnitus, skin inflammation and scaling, skin rash, vertigo and weight loss

That huge list of side effects doesn't exactly seem "mild" to me. I have been on this drug now since my diagnosis in October. I have noticed no improvement in my symptoms as of yet though I was told improvement should be noticed in 6-8 weeks. My dose was increased in November after being on it for 6 full weeks. Still, no improvement has been seen. At my recent appointment i discussed with the doctor that I am seeing no improvement with all the drugs they have me on, including this one. In fact, I am feeling worse. She added another drug to my "cocktail" and wants to see if this one will help the others also work better. So, when i go back in February we will consider which drugs are or aren't helping and again adjust.

For me this is the frustrating part of being at the beginning of this process. A large list of medications to take daily, side effects you aren't sure are coming with this drug or that drug. And continued pain to the point you don't think ANY of it is helping.

Trying to stay positive is definitely an UPHILL battle for me right now. I pray daily for answers, for pain relief and for strength to do the things I have to do. This little saying was posted on Facebook the other day, it accurately describes how i feel many days lately.


  1. don't you love the "cocktails" that the doctors seem to think up? Drives me nuts. You are your own advocate :) Stay positive, and informed.