Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Improving, slowly but surely

Here's where I am now:
Down to taking Minocin 100 mg once a day, Monday thru Friday only.
For the last couple of weeks I have alternated between the REGULAR Minocin capsules and the Minocin MR, taking the MR on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since I have a bunch to use up before they expire, I now am taking them this week on Mon Wed Fri, with regular Minocin on Tuesday and Thursday. So far, so good. No flares in a long time. Starting to eat more normally again, including the foods that cause flares when I am sensitive.

I met with my Rheumatologist a couple weeks ago, and told him what had happened. He stated" Sulfa drugs will exacerbate Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus or the like". Great, wish I had known that BEFORE I was prescribed a sulfa drug (Bactrim). And I wish that my urologist had been aware of that! So those of you with RA, be SURE to list SULFA DRUGS as one of the drugs which you MUST NOT TAKE due to SEVERE REACTIONS.  It was as though I had invited the Chinese Army of Rheumatoid Factor bad guys into my body...suddenly BIG FLARES one after another. This also exposed the weaker drugs...the new Vibramycin Dissolvable tablets and the Minocin Modified Release capsules.  Only the standard Minocin capsules were able to fight this back down to nothing.

A week before meeting with my Rheumie, I had a complete set of blood tests taken, including the RA factor plus another test (ANTI CCP) which is supposed to be a better indicator of whether or not you have RA. In 2006, when first diagnosed, my Anti CCP level was 23.  In 2009 my Anti CCP level was 38 (normal is 1 to 6). Two weeks ago it was 102!!! My Rheumatoid Factor in 2009 was 15.8 (high end of normal, and indicates very little inflammation). This time my RF was again 15.8.  ALL OTHER tests (liver, kidney, heart function and all that) were in the completely normal range.  I do not know if the high Anti CCP is higher because of the recent incidence with the sulfa drug, it will be interesting to see what it is next year.

In another couple of weeks, if all continues as it has been, I will drop back to 1 capsule of Minocin on Mon, Wed, Friday. At this time, I am not taking any Vibramycin as the brand product is ridiculously expensive (for a drug that has been around for FIFTY YEARS!!) ($12 per capsule minimum price I could find in the US...not available at all from overseas). However, I may try again in  a few months to do the alternating between the two drugs, one month at a time. I just feel that it is easier on my kidneys and liver to not be subjected constantly to the same exact drug, if possible. Just my theory.