How do I know my meds are working?

I was diagnosed with RA about 1 month ago. At that time my pain was quite bad and joints were swollen. But ESR and CRP were low. after one month of treatment, my pain and swelling are almost gone but ESR and CRP higher than before. Does that mean I'm worse than before or better? What is a better indicator of meds working - bloodwork or symptoms?

7 Replies

  • How much higher are your ESR and CRP?

  • Esr moved from 15 -> 26 and CRP moved from 2 -> 4.

  • Have you got a bug of any sort? ESR is just a general indicator and will increase if you have any sort of inflammatory response, whereas CRP is more specific. However a rise from 2-4 is very small and I wouldn't be concerned by it.

    My guess is that the ESR has gone up because of something unconnected to the RA and that if you are feeling better rejoice!

  • Hi there

    You can give the NRAS Helpline a call on 0800 298 7650 or email - the team have a wealth of information and should be able to help make things clearer for you in terms of what this means.

    Best wishes


  • So great that you're feeling better after only a month of treatment! Consider yourself lucky! It's good to monitor your labs and get a sense of what is normal for YOU (versus what labs consider normal). For example, for me, if my CRP goes above 2, then I'm probably in a flare (even though "normal" is anything below 8). My WBC routinely is below 4 (4 is the lower limit of normal), but it is never much above 4 and usually below 4 is when I am sick or have changed meds. So my doctor and I now know to be worried with a high "normal" CRP and to not worry about a low "abnormal" WBC.

    Honestly, how YOU feel is most important. Enjoy it.

  • Hey, thanks! That's very useful to know. How much of a lag does crp have with respect to symptoms?

  • I don't know. I do know that my CRP has gone up and down this past year (not by a lot and still below 3) and I haven't had any RA symptoms.

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