Melissa was first diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis and later with rheumatoid arthritis. She was on methotrexate for about eight years. She has been on two Anti TNF treatments: etanercept (Enbrel) and adalimumab (Humira) and expects to be started on influximab soon.

Melissa lives at home with her Mum and Dad and was first diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) when she was five years of age. In her late teens she was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There is no history of any type of arthritis in her family.

Melissa was on methotrexate from the age of 8 to 12. It worked well but she experienced a lot of sickness. In 2003 her medication was changed to an anti-TNF treatment’ etanercept (Enbrel). In her experience Enbrel worked really well for about three years but then it became less efficient. Her medication was changed to another anti-TNF treatment’ Humira (adalimumab). Melissa says that it worked at first, but it didn’t work as well as the Enbrel did. She was on Humira for about two years. Doctors have recently switched her back to Enbrel while they wait for PCT approval for a new Anti-TNF treatment’ infliximab. Melissa knows that this new drug is given intravenously and that she will need to go to hospital to have it done. Her consultant explained that after having her first infliximab infusion she would need to come back to hospital two weeks later to have the second dose. She was also told that they can usually tell if infliximab works after two doses. She said, Everybody seems to get a reaction after two doses.

Melissa has accumulated a great deal of information and knowledge about her condition. She usually asks her consultant to supplement information with written material and she does a lot of research using the internet. She does not have a favourite site. She has done a lot of research on anti TNF treatments and she is aware that infliximab is the last anti-TNF medication that she can get on the NHS.

Melissa thinks that having a positive attitude helps her cope best. She admits that sometimes she gets frustrated and feels down but her mother and father are good at cheering her up. Both her parents are an important source of emotional support. Her mother is her full time carer.

Melissa has a great deal of experience in dealing with doctors and hospitals and her advice to them is that they need to listen to their patients. She describes herself as an expert of her condition because she is the one who knows what it is like to live with rheumatoid arthritis on an everyday basis.

Melissa took Enbrel (etanercept) for three years. At first Melissa was able to get out of her…

Age at interview 22

Gender Female

Age at diagnosis 5