Newly diagnosed: I was diagnosed with RA last Friday... - NRAS


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Newly diagnosed


I was diagnosed with RA last Friday after nearly two years taking Prednisolone for a PMR diagnosis. The steroids caused me extensive damage ( glaucoma/muscle wastage/ weight gain/ Cushing's syndrome) there fore I am wary of taking another powerful drug. My consultant wants to prescribe Methatrexate. I am quite anxious about it as he has told me to think about it and advised that I should take it in a Friday night as I can expect to feel wiped out and nauseous for the first three months. I understand that it is used as a chemotherapy drug. My other concern is that I had pneumonia years ago and am prone to chest infections in the winter and I am concerned that taking the drug will make me more susceptible to chest conditions. Can anyone reassure me about living a normal life on this drug?

15 Replies

Well I've been on it for 8 years with no problems. And I have a history of having had TB, pneumonia (x2) and many bouts of bronchitis but have had no further problems with my lungs to date. We are each different, but it is not a given that you will have lung problems. The disease itself can also cause significant damage to heart and lungs, so you need to factor that in to your decision making too.

When used for chemotherapy it is at a hugely higher dosage - 35mg a day rather than our 20-25mg a week, so a very different matter. At the start I did feel rubbish the day after, but that has largely worn off and now as long as I plan a quiet morning then I'm fine.

Personally if I had to choose between prednisalone and Methotrexate I'd choose the MTX any day as I loathe pred. But it's your decision so only you can weigh up what is best for you.

Pange63 in reply to helixhelix

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. That's really reassuring


I've been on Methotrexate of varying doses for years. I've had tablets and injections. I lead a relatively normal life even though I have Bronchiectasis, Cancer (neither were connected to MTX at all). I have blood tests every 4 weeks to keep check on my liver mainly. Most people are anxious about starting it. I wasn't as I'd never heard of it before, and I took to it like a duck to water. I now take 3 x 5mg tablets as I also have Leflunomide. Also have Rituximab and Prednisolone for Vasculitis. Hope this helps you decide.

Pange63 in reply to Hidden

Thanks to you too for replying and reassuring me

I took Mtx for 7 years & it was a life saver.. ...I felt fine.

It suits many people, but they are just thankful & don't post & say how great it can be.

If I were you I'd stop reading about nasty side effects...after all aspirin can cause terrible problems...but people still take it.

I do hope it suits you....just make sure you take the Folic Acid every day except Mtx day, & keep your fluid intake up. You won't necessarily feel bad after taking it.....I didn't know anything about " side effects" & I didn't have them. I took it at night & if I felt sick I was asleep & by the time I woke up I was fine.

Good Luck!

Thank you. Sleeping through any adverse affects sounds sensible!

I took it with no problems until Rheumy decided to swap me to Leflunomide

Thank you Janice

I take Methotrexate and Pred (5mg). The methotrexate can make me slightly nauseous the next day, but ginger tea sorts it out fairly quickly. Apart from that, it's fine. Some people will always have side effects. It's a bit like the news, we only hear the bad bits. Good news doesn't make a good story!

Hi! I'm in the US but our treatment is the same here. I've had my 8th injection Sunday night (my choice to inject due to less side effects) and I must say it's been much easier than I thought it would be. The first 2 weeks, Monday after, I had some overwhelming fatigue where I could have taken multiple naps. A bit of nausea (not unbearable, and Gin Gins hard candy really helped!). But I also craved sweets. Crazy! By the 3rd week, I had maybe a few hours of fatigue. Now I'm pretty good! And I think it's finally making my joints feel better. Don't give up. And if your rheumy will let you, do injections!

Pange63 in reply to Pamgoddess

Great advice. Thank you!

Pamgoddess in reply to Pange63

You are certainly welcome! Good luck!

Hi! I am a new RA diagnosis. I tried it for a few months only, I lost nearly ALL my hair and STAYED sick. I took myself off it. No quality of life for me on that medication!

I was one of those who couldn’t handle it..,but Dr switched me to Leflunomide and I had no problems with that med!

Hidden in reply to Margo63

I'm on Leflunomide as well as MTX. Leflunomide can give you high blood pressurs. :-(

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