On anti-TNF therapy; Cimzia and on medication for breathlessness. She attributes her breathing difficulties to another RA drug, methotrexate. Christinesays that living with RA is not her main health issue, but breathing problems do affect her physically and sometimes emotionally.
Christine was diagnosed in 2005 and since then she has taken several different medications to try and control her RA. Her experience with RA medications suggests that they have either not worked; or they have worked for a while; or were discontinued because of their side effects. She is currently on anti-TNF therapy; Cimzia, which has significantly improved her condition. One main reason why she preferred Cimzia over other anti-TNF medication was that she found the handle of the pre-filled syringes easy to use for someone with restricted hand mobility. Before Cimzia, and among other symptoms, Christine suffered from stiff, painful and very swollen hands.
For about six months and prior to anti-TNF therapy, Christine was given no RA medication. Her previous drug; Leflunomide had worked well for a while but then it became ineffective and gave her very unpleasant side effects. Christine explains that doctors wanted her to eliminate any traces of Leflunomide in her body before she started on anti-TNF medication. During her detox; period Christine was having predniselone to alleviate her symptoms of breathlessness.
After taking methotrexate for about two years, Christine began to suffer from breathlessness – something she never experienced before she took this drug. She is convinced that methotrexate is to blame for her breathing problems. She says those doctors, and after establishing that she doesn’t smoke, are at a lost as to what caused it and always asked if she has taken methotrexate. She is on inhalers but their benefits wear off before she is due the next dosage. At the time of the interview, Christine was due to start using a nebulizer machine at home.
Christine stressed that the care she has received from her rheumatology hospital is second to none; in terms of efficiency, medical care excellence and health-professional-patient communication but, in comparison, she is disappointed with the level of care she has received at her local hospital that is dealing with her breathing problems. One of her main criticism is that they are too slow at liaising with her GP. Her GP, on the other hand, was described as a very good support.
Christine says that living with RA is not her main health issue, but breathing problems do affect her physically and sometimes emotionally.