I’ve been quiet on here lately, because I’ve been busy having a flare up. My right elbow has been inflamed for quite some time (avid readers will remember I had a steroid injection in it back in October), but I had no pain so decided to muddle along until my next routine appointment. Unfortunately, after a weekend of random vomiting and generally being quite poorly and tired, the pain caught up with me.
Within two days I’d got an appointment with my GP, who put me on five days of oral steroids (Prednisolone) and co-dydramol for the pain, and was patiently awaiting my urgently-rescheduled appointment with my consultant. At this appointment, against my hopes to the contrary, I was told that I was at the beginning of a flare of my JIA. My consultant said he wanted me to go back on Methotrexate, but after a very grown-up discussion (Me: “Please don’t put me back on Methotrexate!” Doctor: “I really think it’s for the best.” M: “Please, no, I don’t want to!” *eyes tear up* D: “Why do you hate it so much?” M: “It’s small and yellow and makes me feel sick.” D: “Fine.”), we decided to try a new drug. Sulfasalazine, which is a medicine with too many vowels.
- Fever and sore throat
- Other symptoms of infection
- Unexplained bruising
- Orange urine
- Yellow tears
My biggest concern is the yellow tears, to be honest, as I am quite the emotional wreck at the moment (I’m blaming the flare up) – and to be fair, how are people going to know about the orange wee? It’s not like I’m writing a blog post about it! It can also stain my contact lenses yellow, which I’m quite intrigued by – my eyes are blue, but who knows how long this will last!
Sulfasalazine is a DMARD (Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug) like Methotrexate, but doesn’t seem quite as harsh in its lifestyle restrictions. For example, I’m still allowed to drink alcohol on it (wahey!). It’s meant to dampen down the actual disease rather than just treating the symptoms like a painkiller or anti-inflammatory would do, but it takes around 12 weeks to start working.
Starting a new drug, or going back onto a drug you haven’t been on for a while, is quite high maintenance. For the next eight weeks I have to get fortnightly blood tests done, for the four months after that I have to get them done monthly, and then it’s every three months for the rest of the time I’m on the medication. I am building up to the total dose of Sulfasalazine over the next four weeks, adding a tablet to my dose each week. It’s a drug I will eventually take twice each day, which I think is much better than a weekly medicine. This might seem strange, but there’s less chance I’ll forget when to take it if it’s something I’m doing at the same time every day. The tablets are also massive and sugar-coated, which is like a dream come true for me.
Okay, I don’t exactly have a normal person’s view about the size and frequency of tablets, but I’m feeling positive. I’ll keep you all posted.