Monday, April 12, 2010

Take exactly as directed

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the beginning of the year, I was extremely hesitant to begin taking any kind of medication for it because I was already taking several medication for my anxiety disorder and adding another one to the mix was not appealing at all. I was also hoping that I could find some magic diet, etc, that would help with the symptoms.

I filled the prescription for plaquenil, but left the unopened bottle sitting on my nightstand for over a week. It was a meeting with my primary physician to discuss my appointment with the rheumatologist that truly changed my mind. We talked about how the joints can still be deteriorationg even when someone has no pain or inflammation, which really scared me, and the plaquenil can help prevent that deterioration.

It can take up to six months to see results when starting Plaquenil, but symptoms can start to lessen before that. I actually began to experience less joint pain after a month, but still had the fatigue and fever.

I have not experienced any side effects, but I will have to see the eye doctor this summer to make sure there is no retina damage. The problematic thing about plaquenil is the process of taking it. I am really good about taking it in the morning because I have to take my other medication at the same time and if I forget those I get a migraine, so I never forget. I am having a hard time remembering to take it in the evening (most effective time is twelve hours apart) and had to set an alarm to remind me. I also found out that I must take it with a full meal or else I will become extremely nauseous. I tried taking it with a small portion and milk, but neither worked.

I realize that remembering to take a pill twice a day with a meal is not too much to ask when it could possibly help with a chronic illness, but then I came down with that nasty respiratory thing that I mentioned in an earlier post. Most evenings I went to sleep extremely early and missed the alarm. I also had no appetite after leaving work and even the thought of food made me feel sick to my stomach, so I could not take the plaquenil without making that worse.

This went on for almost two weeks. Almost the exact moment I felt over the illness, my joints started screaming at me. It could have something to do with being sick, but I have a feeling that if I hadn't missed so many evening doses, I would not have had such a bad flare.

It's been about a week since I began taking the plaquenil twice a day again and it definitely feels like I am starting over again, but I guess you could say I learned a lesson.

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