Hope everyone has had a reasonably pain and bug free festive season. I haven’t been on the site much as I’ve been quite poorly for the last three weeks with this flu/virus/whatever that’s doing the rounds – I’ve never had anything this bad in my entire life, and still suffering some of the grotty symptoms!
What’s worrying me is whether this is a sign of things to come with methotrexate. I started on it around the end of May 2017, and since then I have had several infections: in August I dropped a heavy glass topped table on my foot, breaking three toes and losing a toenail, which led to me developing cellulitis which needed three lots of antibiotics to clear it. Since the beginning of November I have had a minor cold which cleared up quickly; an infection in my parotid gland which needed antibiotics; a tummy bug that lasted a full week; and now this virus which has just totally wiped me out since 18 December. As part of that I developed an inner ear infection for which I’ve just finished another course of antibiotics.
As you can imagine, I’m feeling quite sorry for myself and wondering whether it’s worth being on MTX if this is what it’s going to be like, considering I was previously relatively healthy, with maybe just one cold a year. I’ve been fortunate not to experience any side effects on MTX, although it does seem to intermittently affect my liver results enough to get my GP in a bit of a paddy while still being within the hospital’s acceptable range.
The immunosuppressant aspects of DMARDS was one of the things that held me back from taking them for some time, given that my psoriatic arthritis presented as only occasional flare-ups, sometimes only once a year/18 months, albeit these flare-ups were excruciatingly painful and no amount of painkillers helped. During 2016 though, the flare ups were becoming more frequent and affecting more than one joint at a time, and the prospect of the disease causing damage to my joints while not actively flaring convinced me it was time to start medication. However, now I’m not so sure….
Has anyone else experienced this level of susceptibility to infection on MTX or have I just been unlucky? Perhaps I could have done more to protect myself – although I naturally recoil from anybody coughing or sniffling, and wash my hands frequently, I haven’t been actively taking any other particular protective measures. Are there any ‘top tips’ for avoiding infection, eg are hand sanitiser gels worthwhile and are some better than others?
I’m due to see the rheumatologist on 16 January and trying to collect my thoughts on whether I should continue on MTX and would really appreciate any words of wisdom from the group!