Saturday, 9 October 2010

Mini flare

Hmm so I'm 3 months into starting plaquenil. From what I've been told, if it works for me it's supposed to start kicking in about now, with the maximum effect being reached at 6 months.

I've got my 3 month check up at the hospital in 2 weeks and I know they'll ask me if I think it's helping. Trouble is, I have no idea.

As I've said before, I've had a pretty good 6 months with only minor complaints. This past week I've had the worst 'mini flare' I've had since april and it affected my foot and right hand but I thought it was going to get a lot worse and last weeks like it did last winter, instead it fizzled out after about 2-3 days. So I wonder whether that was the plaquenil helping?? Or maybe it was just a mini one anyway. I have no idea.. how do you know if a med is working or if it's just the natural ebb and flow of the disease??


  1. Hard to say when exactly you know that a med is working. For me, it's always been sortof retrospective - you realize that you've only had a 2 or 3 day flare, and that you don't feel quite so bad, you're not so stiff in the morning. Then you might think back a bit and you can associate it to the change of medication, diet, lifestyle, all of the above. For me, I walked down the stairs this morning after getting out of bed and the right knee didn't have the usual pain associated with coming down stairs. So I think "perhaps the dieting IS helping the knee pain" or maybe the injectible methotrexate really does make a difference. Whatever it is, I am thankful.

    Baby steps.

    Good luck.

  2. I don't really have advice for you. When I have gone on medications I have been pretty severe and can tell whether they work or not with little difficulty. I guess you could say that you are doing fine so either the RA isn't acting up much or the plaquenil is working.

  3. CFTC, yeah I think that's one of the difficulties, we're always trying to look for a pattern. I'm trying to figure out if I feel better after plaqunil, or after cutting out lots of meat, or after exercising more. I really don't know. I think the RA just does what it wants and it might all be a coincidence. But maybe not. I have no idea. :/

    Cathy, your post makes me feel grateful. I should just be thankful and not worry why this and why that. Thank you.

  4. This is a good question. I have switched meds twice in the last year. I hurt everyday but for me, the real tell tale signs show up after physically exerting myself. I can tell if a med is working or not by how I feel after a rough 12 hour shift at work, or the day after a 140+ mile ride.
    Just as an outside observation, I would tend to think that the Plaquenil is doing pretty good from you being able to complete your 51 mile bicycle ride. No way I could do that.

  5. I tend to go by if I'm having more good days than bad days (good being a relative term). It seems like it's such a slow, on-going process, that, like CFTC Admin says, is generally seen in retrospect.

    Ditto with what Tharr said, that's awesome on your bike ride!

  6. It can be difficult sometimes to tell if meds are working. You may have a good couple of weeks then get hit with a debilitating flare. I've gone through 3 biologics with some relief then they seemed to quit working. The last one I was on, I had a bad reaction after an infusion.

    I am now starting all over again. I am on Arava and prednisone for now. I am hoping to start Actemra soon.

    The plaquenil may be helping you, so I would continue to use it. Sometimes you slowly get back to living life that you don't realize how bad things were before...

  7. Thanks guys, I think it's just another case of 'wait and see'. I think my rheumy will just tell me to wait it out until 6 months and then decide if I want to add mtx or something to it. We'll see. But yes, I am lucky to be able to do my bike riding and I am concentrating on today, trying not to worry about tomorrow. :)