Joint_Decis_4CCreakyJoints launched an interactive program in conjunction with Janssen Biotech, Inc. to help patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis become more present in their own care.

The second chat, called “Know Your Options: Making Informed Decisions About RA Treatments” featured Dr. Laurie Ferguson (a health psychologist), Dr. Rebecca Callis (a rheumatologist), and Matt Iseman (an RA patient, and stand-up comedian).

The discussion focused on the various types of treatments that are available for RA, although no specific brands were mentioned. Unfortunately, because RA is a progressive disease, joint damage is not reversible with treatment. But early treatment is the best way to prevent the disease from causing further joint damage.

An important question that started the chat was who has the most impact in treatment decisions. The results were interesting. Rheumatologists and the patient’s own research comprised 80% of responses, while information provided by the doctor or another health professional comprised just 20% of respondents.

For those of you who couldn’t attend here are some highlights:

  • One size doesn’t fit all – According to Dr. Callis, there is no one size fits all approach for treating RA. It is not clear what medications will work for some and not for others, so there is a lot of trial and error. Personal factors also play a role in whether treatments work or not.
  • Medication types – The main types of treatments for RA are Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) and Biologics. Typically, your doctor will start you on DMARDs and if those do not work, they will switch to a biologic. Biologics are typically given either by subcutaneous injection or IV infusion.

Of the people who took part in the chat, 72% were currently on a biologic medication, 12% had been on s a biologic in the past, 8% were thinking about trying a biologic, and 8% had neither been on nor were thinking about a biologic treatment.

  • Don’t get discouraged when a treatment doesn’t work – One of the most frustrating experiences in coping with RA is when a treatment does not work, but Dr. Callis said that you should not be afraid or ashamed to tell your doctor when a treatment isn’t working as well as you had hoped it would. It is the goal of your doctor to find a treatment that works for you.
  • Practical advice – Make sure that if you are giving self injections that you use safe practices and dispose of used needles and syringes in a sharps container. Sharps containers can be obtained from either your doctor, the manufacturer of your medication, or purchased in pharmacy or medical supply store.

 

Want to learn more? There are two more webinars in the Joint Decisions series: 

November 4, 2014 – “Benefit From Your Benefits: How to Make RA Treatment More Affordable” 

January 4, 2015 – “Right Track RA: Helpful Tips for Continued Success in the New Year”

All chats are from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST.

For more information and to register, visit CreakyJoints JointDecisions.

* It is important to note that these chats are not a substitute for medical advice. Always talk to your doctor before making significant changes to your treatment regimen.