Monday, November 24, 2014

This post is part of a blog ring this month, “Let’s Talk About Your Medicines” sponsored by The American Recall Center. Please visit to learn about important drug info, such as the newly discovered side effects of Xarelto, a medication used to prevent strokes and blood clots. 

As a Rheumatoid Arthritis patient, I take a lot of medications. Currently for my RA itself, I take Orencia IV, Methotrexate, Leucovorin, Naprosyn and Tramadol plus I have a couple of options for break through pain. Add to that three medications I need for my RA induced lung damage, three more medications for eye damage caused by RA and Sjogrens Syndrome, two more for migraines, one anti nauseant, one stomach coater plus two more emergency meds for allergic reactions and it seems like all I do is take pills and deal with side effects. Two of my medications themselves are to counteract the side effects of two other medications I take. In the beginning, figuring out when to take which medication was a daunting task. Thankfully my pharmacist sat down with me and we prepared a schedule that allows me to get the most benefit from my medications and spaces them out enough to avoid any cross reactions by accidently mixing two meds that shouldn’t be mixed. This just leaves me to deal with the side effects of the medications themselves. 

Some days dealing with side effects can seem like a full time job. As mentioned, two of my medications require that I take addition medications to counteract the side effects. Additionally many of my medications have fatigue as a side effect, in addition to the fatigue caused by the disease itself. As a result I am exhausted all the time. If I don’t get a full eight hours sleep plus a two hour nap in the afternoon, I can’t function. The fatigue is overwhelming. Unfortunately there isn’t much I can do other than to make sure I get the sleep I need to function. Some of my meds cause nausea so I take a stomach coater daily  and anti nauseant when needed. Sometimes I break into hives from my Orencia or Methotrexate. It doesn’t happen often enough to warrant me changed to a different medication but it is something I have to watch for and treat as needed.

I know some people who won’t put up with any or few side effects from their medications. As a result, they are constantly changing meds in order to find a drug that a) works for their condition and b) doesn’t make them feel sicker. Some people have refused treatment completely as they don’t want to deal with any side effects. For me, after going through what I have with my disease, as long as the medication is working and as long as I can find a work around either by taking a nap, or taking anti nauseants etc., I’m willing to put up with the side effects. Some of these drugs have literally saved my life so I’m not going to let some fatigue, hives and nausea get in the way. We all have to decide for ourselves how far we are willing to go to combat this disease. I encourage everyone to speak to their pharmacist about all the medications they take. Something as simple as a schedule change can go a long away to obtaining relief from side effects.


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