How long before medication works for RA: How long... - NRAS

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How long before medication works for RA


How long before medication works

My sister was diagnosed with RA recently she has had other auto immune issues as well. She has been on Methotrexate for a month now and still has not relief. It is hard because I can't fix it and want to help

27 Replies

Hello, I also started Methotrexate and have been on it a month. I go back to dr January. I’m gonna ask questions this time. I also have SLE and other immune issues plus just got diagnosed with Hep C too. Good luck to your sister.

Thank you, she goes back to her dr in January as well. We live in San Diego. She has been on prednisone for several years as she has GC as well and lost part of her sight because of it

How long? It might be days to just a couple of weeks. Steroids work fast as do non-steroidals. Biologicals can take from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

Long time since I first went on methotrexate, but as I recall it took about 8 weeks before I had noticeable relief and a couple of weeks more for maximum effect.

The drs. say three months for you to really notice a difference,some do before that,but that is the advice the medics tell you.xxxx

Hi I would give it another month. 6 weeks and see wot side effects are .there are a few of those drugs out there and not all take or work for people keep an eye on it .if not helping (and side effects are bad I would stop with gps advice take care

As the others say up to 12 weeks

They may add another DMARD if not enough.

Hiya Brizzle29, welcome. All the blurb says anything up to 12 weeks or more but experiences can differ from person to person. I've been on MTX 8 years so it's not easy to remember, plus I was on double therapy with hydroxychloroquine, but certainly by the time I stopped that the MTX was working so maybe 8 weeks or so. Often subtle changes are noticed first but as she's only been taking it 4 weeks I'd say another 4 & she should be seeing some improvement. I know it probably seems an age when you really need it but none of the DMARDs are fast acting unfortunately. Maybe if she's really struggling her Rheumy or GP could prescribe an NSAID or short course of steroids or general steroid injection until the MTX is thought to have reached it's potential? When I first started treatment I was prescribed my DMARD (HCQ) a short course of oral steroids & 2 NSAIDs, one to take nightly & the other for when I thought it was needed. This is quite common as both the steroids & NSAID work on the inflammation & in turn pain until the DMARD takes over.

Can I say how kind of you it is to be asking on behalf of your sister, but please do suggest she joins us if she thinks it'd help to have the support of others who've been exactly where she is, at the beginning of treatment. It can feel very lonely, every scary early on if you don't know anyone else with RD.

Thank you. I am trying to get her to join, she has had different auto immune issued for several years, and this on just threw her, she is trying to wrap her head around it.

It is quite common if you have one autoimmune disease you have a tendency to collect others, thyroiditis or Hashimoto's & Vasculitis are just two for example. We have members here who not only have RD but also other AD's too so she's not alone unfortunately.

I’ve being on methotrexate for 7 months had to stop twice but I think took mine few months before I started to notice any difference but then it’s hard to say has on other pills with them but then everyone is different what took a while with me could take weeks with someone else hope it works out for her x

It takes 8-12 weeks for methotrexate to start working. That's my experience, and what the official info says. I found I only began to notice anything at all after about 10-12 weeks, and then felt a gradual improvement steadily over the next year.

The first year is quite difficult - it's usual to feel anxiety and also usual to have to try different medications before you get the combination that works for you. As NMH suggests, do encourage your sister to join the group :)

After 8 weeks I noticed some good improvement and after 12 a real difference. The waiting game is very hard. I wish it worked sooner.

I found it took 3 months before I started to feel better and a couple more before it took full effect.

Thank you! I appreciate all replies, it is hard for me because I can't fix it, and make her comfortable. We are very close, 13 months apart in age and we share a mobil home

I agree with all the comments. Im now on a cocktail of drugs which started with Methotrexate 13months ago and hoping to be told im in remission this spring. I think its really hard for people to watch their loved ones with RD. This forum has helped me hugely. I joined a few months ago. Even if your sister is not quite at the place in her head yet to join, people on here will help to support you also until she is ready. She maybe receptive to some of the things you read on here to be relayed to her.

All the best and its great she has you as an advocate.

We all understand what she’s going through and feeling like and it’s hard to explain to ppl who don’t have it.i no do try and I other ppl do but then I try not to let ppl no when in pain but find this group has ppl who do no how and it’s nice to no your not alone xx

What are her symptoms? Does she have "weird" ones that don't fit typical RA? Many times Lyme disease is misdiagnosed as RA.

in reply to Ag27

Her wrists and ankles are swollen and hurt, she also has other auto immune issues as well

Hi, 12 weeks is usually quoted however it also depends of the dosage if it is working or not, it maybe that the dosage needs to be increased if it is not working, obviously blood tests will help to give you an answer.

I was told it takes up to 12 weeks by my Rheumatologist. I felt positive effects I think around 6 to 8 weeks. But it took a good few months before the fatigue lifted and then that came suddenly over a 48 hr period. 80% of the fatigue lifted!

in reply to Joy_1

yes the fatigue is hard for her, and the brain fog, hopefully it will get better

in reply to Brizzle29

Yes I'm sure we'd all agree, the fatigue and brain fog is v hard indeed. When mine lifted over that 48 hr period it was if someone had turned the light back on again.

Wishing your sister all the best.


Everyone has been so great! Another question my sister's RA doc now has her on hydroxychloroquine to help with the methotrexate, anyone know if this is a good combination? Of course she overwhelmed with all this medication she has to be on. She still takes a low dose of predisone. Thank you

As I said in my reply above I was on HCQ/MTX double therapy, it's quite normal to be on double therapy or even triple therapy of DMARDs & I think this one is probably the most common so there's nothing to be concerned about from that point of view. Her Rheumy will be trying to bring her under control as soon as poss hence the addition of HCQ. We may sound glib about numerous meds but the truth is some of us have been on many, many meds in order to find the right combination, it's unfortunately a try-it-&-see sort of disease, there's no one treatment that everyone responds positively to so do assure her she's not unusual! It must seem like a lot of meds if she's not needed much more than the odd paracetamol, we understand.

Just as a bit of advice being new to the forum, if you have another query different to the original one it's probably best to start another post. You see the original question was how long does it take meds to work & your new query is about adding another med, you'll probably receive more replies starting another thread. Hope that helps? 😊

Oh, I ok, thank you, still figuring this out. I am trying to get her to join as I think it would be helpful

I know, that's why I hoped you didn't mind me saying. Sometimes trying to be helpful can backfire on you! Do tell your sister she'd be made most welcome if she chooses to join us.

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