National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society

How long would a steroid injection normally last?

Hi again,

Todays questions :)
I was given my last injections in my knees 6 weeks ago now and wondered if that should have worn off by now? I suppose it's different for everyone.

I was lucky in a way as I was diagnosed very early, only 'flitting' pains for a year before my first flare after giving birth, first the steroids in my shoulders followed by my knees 5 weeks after. I have been on a comb of MTX, sulpha whatsistsname(!) and hydrox for 12 weeks now so I wonder if the meds are maybe starting to work or could I still be feeling the effects of the steroids....

I still have a lot of swollen joints but the main stiffness are in my hands, I have started to feel less stiff but more pain, is that what it's like generally for fellow sufferers?

Another question; X-rays were taken first visit to the consultant, when do they normally take the next? There was no permanent damage in the first one, if it is severe/aggresive would the damage happen within a few months?
I ask this as my DAS score was 7.8 and RF test 2010! (400 may be severe)

I will ask my consultant when I see him but I have no patience!

Thanks guys :)

ps; RA/Fibro - Julie, if you read this, thanks again for your advice on my previous question, I did reply but unsure whether you got it x

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9 replies

    James_F
    James_F

    Hello.
    I've never had individual injections in separate joints my GP and consultant prefer to offer a general intramuscular kenalog (sp?) injection in the bottom! The first time I had one it lasted a good four to six months, but the last one I had only lasted three weeks as flair up was so bad. Had one again yesterday as I could not move at all, feel so much more human today just hope this one last a bit longer. Would suggest if you are stiff all over that you ask about a Kenalog injection rather that going through the pain of having individual joint injection (which my consultant seems to think hurt and are not very long term solutions) Can't answer your other question but there seems to be a lot of wish people on here so I'm sure someone will! Regards Mel

    Wiliby
    Wiliby

    Thanks Mel, didn't know about a Kenalog injection so thats helpful, glad to hear your mobile again.
    I read your husbands first blog and felt so bad for you.

    I have a 6 month old baby also, my first flare when I stopped breastfeeding, what helped me reading your blog was that although you have had RA for 4 years, you still went on to have another baby. This may sound strange but that gave me comfort, I'm not sure how to explain; I think knowing how hard it must have been for you having your first child and then you went on to have your second, I admire that!

    I've just read your blog tonight, It's not silly being so happy about dressing yourself! I felt the same after my first injection, I remember that same night showing off because I could wiggle my fingers! :) x

    summer
    summer

    nice to see you blogging mel thats so postive and what a great answer.. best on average reult 3- 4 months

    Gina_K
    Gina_K

    Hi Wiliby,

    I had a woefully swollen knee initially and the consultant gave me my first steroid injection it was instant relief , and I never had a problem with that particular joint since! I have also had my hands, , wrists and shoulders done and I think that it can work permanently (disclaimer) sure I get little aches, especially wrists, because i am on a computer all day, but by and large, all swollen joints that I have had injected once or twice have stopped giving me trouble. I mainly had injections while they were trying to get the disease under control, which I think they have with a combination of MTX, Plaquinil & bi weekly humira injection. (fingers crossed). All my injections have been done under camera, aside from one or two very painful shoulder ones I got from a sadist! The hand & wrist bone ones were particularly great & sucessful.

    Good Luck with your treatment.

    xxxx

    Wiliby
    Wiliby

    Hi Gina, I did think it was strange that my knees were the worst then after my first injection, totally no pain or stiffness there whatsoever, ah hopefully will remain that way.
    I do hope I get Humira :) x

    mand
    mand

    Hi Angela, I've had many joint injections over the years I stopped counting around 60+, but that was many years ago and much as been learned since then. For one, giving so many is just a waste of time and money. Going back to your question, like you said everyone is different I had relief from some but others were just a waste of time for me. However some people have had great relief from them for quite a while, you may be in that category, I hope so.
    I too often found it was pain that overwhelmed me, Mel is probably right a Depo injection (as I know them,same thing) might suit you better as it gives all over relief. Nothing lasts forever though but they can be great to see you through a flare.
    As for x-rays they will only be performed again if you have an ongoing problem with that joint, and even an MRI if nothing conclusive shows o a normal x-ray. Damage to the joint happens over a period of time when your RA is not controlled leading to inflammation which damages the joint. I doubt your joint is damaged from the ra it depends how well its been controlled in the past.
    Hope that helps in some way,
    Mandy xx

    Wiliby
    Wiliby

    Thanks Mandy,
    I don't think I will have damage yet either, as I said, was lucky to be diagnosed so early.
    Interesting about x-ray though, I don't know why I don't ask my consultant, I just sit there like a nodding dog then soon as I get out I remember all I had to ask!
    Just glad of all the help I get here :) x

    Sheila_G
    Sheila_G

    Hi Wiliby

    How long is a piece of string? I have had many injections into my joints some more than once. The efficacy and length of time varies a lot. Sometimes they don't work at all, sometimes for a week or two and sometimes for ever. As I said I have had to have inj in some joints several times but I had injections in both elbows about about 5 years ago and have never had a 'real' problem with them since. As for x rays, I think they will only take them again when you are having a problem with the specific area. I don't think they do them as a matter of course as with everything medical it is better not to have than have if not necessary. Good luck

    Gina_K
    Gina_K

    I think the standard practise where I live in Ireland is to Xray your hands & feet on initoa; diagnosis, so they have a baseline to compare in years to come for a measurement of progression. I think thats what i was told (I think) I was probably nodding away at the time.

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