Enbrel and Flareups

By talltennisgal Latest Activity December 25, 2010 at 3:32 pm Views 5,854 Replies 11 Likes 1


I was wondering if any of you Enbrel "veterans" can answer a question for me. I have been on Enbrel for 5 months and have had amazing results literally since the day after my first injection. I was taking MTX and Plaquenil for 2.5 years before the Enbrel but it was not doing the job and joint damage was progressing. When I started the Enbrel, my doctor upped my dosage of MTX from 10mg to 15mg and totally whacked out my WBC. I have been on Enbrel and Plaquenil since early September. Recently I have had some minor joint aches in my hands…mainly a left thumb that feels like I jammed it (but I didn't). I was wondering if this is pretty normal…to have some minor ups and downs even on Enbrel. I do NOT want to go back on the MTX. I don't miss the mouth sores, nausea and acid reflux. I would, of course, go back to the 10 mg. a week if I absolutely need to. Any input would be appreciated!

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Replies (11 replies)

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  • BILL 47
    BILL 47 February 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm   

    Just to clarify my last post, it was durig the time I was on Humara that I joined weight watchers and began to exercise. I welcome any advise or hearing about what you've done, its hard to find people with ra to talk to. Thanks Bill

  • BILL 47
    BILL 47 February 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm   

    Hi Im new to this site and its my first time in a RA forum. I'm 47 and was diagnosed 15yrs ago at 32. It started out as migratory pain in a shoulder for a couple of days, then that would subside then my elbow would hurt, then an ankle and so on. After many tests I was diagnosed with RA when they noticed a high rhuematiod factor in a blood test. By this time it was no longer migratory, all the major joints were inflammed and painfull.
    I was prescibed 10mg of prednisone daily, 20mg of plaquinel daily with motrin 800 as needed (which was needed alot). It made things barely tolerable. It wasn't untill I was given methotrexate 10mg weekly that I noticed major relief.
    At about 8yrs into the disease the pain increased. My Dr. increased my methotrexate to 15 mg per week I stopped taking plaquinel and started on Humara, at first intervienously then weekly self injections. That seemed to work for a few years. Then my elbows became very sore. I was switched to enbrel about a year ago and have noticed some improvement. I also cut my prednisone down to 5 mg weekly.
    It wasn't untill I joined wieght watchers and really regulated what I ate low sugar,salt and fat, more lean meat fruits and vegetables and lots of water, that I really started to feel better. I could actually run!! Which is something I thought I could never do again! About 2yrs ago I was in a motorcycle accident and broke my shoulder. During the 3 mos of recovery mostly the sitting I stopped weight watchers and got back into my old habits. I'm back to feeling so so. Ive just started to eat healthy again and some light exercise (got a ways to go) but the most pain relief I've ever had was when I decided to have heathy life style.

  • egbrown
    egbrown February 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm   


  • sofado
    sofado January 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm   

    I understand your concerns about MTX. I used to take a huge amount orally and it was terrible. When (years later) my Dr. diagnosed me with arthritis and said I needed to go on MTX again I cried right there in his office. We talked about it and then he prescribed the injectable form of it. I do not have the nasty side effects with it at all! That's my experience - that's what my dr. said to expect as well. I was elated :)

  • MannyBudz
    MannyBudz January 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm   

    I was on Embrel, it worked at first but then not so much, I was happy to get off it because I have problems injecting myself. I have since swithced to Orencia, and let me tell you what a difference it has made for me. Having had RA since age 9, I'm now 53, Orencia has been the best med for me, and best of all I don't have to inject myself, I go to outpatient once a month and the nurses inject through an IV. I also take Celebrex. The combination of the two allows me to work full time and live as normal a life as RA allows. No sports of course but I'm able to walk pain free.

  • talltennisgal
    talltennisgal January 4, 2011 at 6:31 am   

    Thanks, its seems from what I have read so far, what needs to be adjusted is my expectations. The low dose of prednisone seems to be calming my flare. Will see what the doctor says today.

  • talltennisgal
    talltennisgal December 31, 2010 at 9:48 am   

    My doc put me on 5mg Pred until I see him next week. It has already helped a little, thank goodness. I am going to play some tennis this afternoon!

  • tharr
    tharr December 25, 2010 at 4:03 pm   

    Hello, I took Enbrel/MTX combo for 5 1/2 years before it started losing its effectiveness for me. I had amazing results with it, but unfortunately, minor flare ups were a common thing for me. They were rarely ever severe ones and most lasted a day to three at most. By the way, I was taking five 2.5mg MTX pills each week, I have not tried the injectable MTX. I understand it is easier on your system, but I have made it without any problems taking the pills.
    The cold greatly affects my hands and feet, especially cold and moisture together. You might try Voltaren Gel on your hands for relief.

  • talltennisgal
    talltennisgal December 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm   

    Thanks! I will try that. My biggest fear is always the advancing disease. I will do whatever it takes to keep it away as long as I can. I am very active. I play tennis at least 3-4 times a week. I appreciate your response, especially on Christmas day! I am new to this board. Nice to meet you!

  • tharr
    tharr December 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm   

    That's a fear for most of us. I know looking back over the last 6-8 years, I can see that my RA progressed with me, I don't like it but I just go on and enjoy life all that I can. It's great that you play tennis and are still active. I still workout with weights 3x/week and ride my motorcycles as much as I can. Nice to met you too.

  • Paul FL
    Paul FL January 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm   

    Yes, I had a flair-up after about two months of using Enbrel. But in the long run Enbrel and a another prescription seems to be the best for all my RA issues.

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