After experiencing side effects to three of the comman drugs given for RA, my consultant decided to put me on Cimzia. I went through all the necessary tests nd started my course with a double dose on a Monday. The results were very good. The next day my hands were not so stiff and I continued to improve through the week.
I was a bit surprised to get a call the next Sunday saying the nurse was coming the following day to give my the next dose. The packet said 2 weeks but I thought they knew what they were doing. I had the dose and the RA continued to improve. However, the following Wednesday I woke early and could not get out of bed. Worse, I lost control of my bladder. An ambulance was called and I was off to Kings College Hospital A & E . There they found a high fever and suspected either a chest or urine infection. I was transferred to the ward and over the next few days had various tests including an MRI.
I turned out I had salmonella poisoning that had found it's way into the spine and caused some fractures. I was treated with a high dosage of IV antibiotics for 12 weeks and was in hospital for a total of 14 weeks. For some of those weeks I was forbidden to rise above 30 degrees which meant some weeks lying flat on my back. The result of this was I could only just about walk with a frame wearing a back brace which was really uncomfortable. After some intensive physiotherapy, I was at last allowed home where I am gradually improving.
My RA seems to be settled thankfully, though walking again is a long slow process. The consultant explained that because of the Cimzia, my immune system was so low causing the salmonella to have it's devastating effect. Whether this was exacerbated by the early dose or not, I don't know.
As for medication, the rheumatologists are not going to prescribe anything until I have finished the latest course of antibiotics in 5 and a half months time.