No quick fix
If I have learned one thing living with psoriatic arthritis, it is that there is no quick fix. There is no immediate response to medicine. No “take this and you will feel better.” There is no easy answer to the question of medicine. There is no clear way to figure out which of the possible medicines will work the best, or for how long it may work.
Out goes Remicade
After my most recent Remicade infusion, which ended up being infusion #?, I was still having reactions. Despite the IV pretreatments of Benedryl and steroids, I had throat and tongue swelling. On top of that, the Remicade was not stopping the progression of the disease at that point. After much consideration, my doctor and I decided that perhaps Remicade wasn’t going to be the one for me at this time. Honestly, after leaving this appointment, I felt so defeated. I had invested so much time, energy, and yes- money- into this treatment that I was very upset when it became clear that it wasn’t going to work for me.
In comes Simponi Aria
After weighing pros and cons of several different medicines, I decided to give Simponi Aria infusions (also called Golimumab) a shot (haha). Simponi actually comes in two forms, a self-administered shot given once a month, and an infusion through IV given every 8 weeks. The shot is referred to as Simponi, while the infusion is called Simponi Aria. Medscape has a great page with information on the similarities and differences of the two forms.
Simponi Aria, like Remicade, is also a TNF inhibitor (also called anti-TNF) designed to fight inflammation and suppress the immune system’s attack on the joints, ligaments, muscles,and organs. The possible side effects are also similar (and equally as horrifying)- skin cancer, lymphoma, lupus, sepsis…and the list goes on. This is serious stuff folks.
With all biologics, I had a run of starter doses before moving on to a maintenance schedule. In the case of Simponi Aria, I had one infusion, then a second 4 weeks later, before moving onto the every 8 weeks schedule.
So far, I’ve completed my starter doses and so far, so good. No reactions yet. After my most recent infusion (#2) I felt like I had a terrible flu. I was achy, feverish, and downright blah. I went straight home, took a nice nap. And when I woke up….whoa! I haven’t felt that good in 6 months. I kept getting up and walking around, marveling at the lack of my usual aches and pains with every step. I was astounded! I prayed that it would last….
The day after Simponi Aria
Then the next day I woke up. I opened my eyes and like I do everyday, assessed the situation. Ugh. My feet ache. My left knee is sore. My hips are tender. On up to my hands, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Ugh. It’s back.
However, the simple fact that I had nearly 12 hours of awesomeness is good enough for me to hang on to. It is enough to give me the hope I need to continue with the treatment. So for now, I’ll take it.
Current meds to treat my psoriatic arthritis
On to the boring part. Here is what I currently use to treat my psoriatic arthritis.
- Simponi Aria Infusions
- Arava (leflunomide) DMARD designed to act as an immunosuppressant -20 mg
- Diclofenac -twice a day for pain
Who is driving your car?
Treating psoriatic arthritis is not a linear path, it is filled with ups, downs, 90 degrees turns, and if I’m lucky I might see a few straight aways. But I know that if I keep God in the driver’s seat, He will not let me stray. Everyone has their own journey to take. But I really believe that the most important question, in whatever adventures your journey takes you on, is “Who Is Driving Your Car?”