I started taking Enbrel in mid February. I saw the doctor after one month, and then scheduled an appointment for three months later (end of June). I'm trying to figure out if it's really working well enough.
So first off, no real issues with it. Mild injection site reactions, redness and warmth. They are just at the site, and appear 24-48 hours after injection. I know that it is working, and it is probably working better than I think. It's all a bit confusing, as I usually have a big flare this time of year. I'm having an increase of symptoms, but considering how bad it usually is, and that it's not new joints this year (so far), it's a pretty big difference. Yet the Enbrel only seems to cover me for about half the week. I inject Friday mornings. By Saturday morning I realize that I'm doing fairly well. But by Tuesday or thereabouts, I'm having an increase in joint pain. It's not really doing much to touch my fatigue, except to say that I am usually more fatigued during a flare, and am not this spring. Fatigue, just not excessive.
Big picture, it seems to be keeping me stable, when I'm usually on a downhill slide this time of year. Is it enough? Keep at it, and give it a few more months to see if I start to get an even better impact? This is my first biologic. I'm also on plaquenil, leflunomide, and diclofenac (an NSAID).
Enbrel was a wonder drug for me when it was working. Even then I felt a need for it a couple of days before my injection was scheduled. Enbrel wa quick to start working for me and made me feel "well". So I imagine it has a lot of work to do for you right now given this is when you typically have a big flare and because you're also on some other helpful drugs.
I think that this "how go is good enough" decision is one of the hardest ones to make vis-a-vis medications. I know it baffles me to know when you're supposed to throw in the white towel on a drug. And there can't be any hard and fast rules because, as we all like to remind each other all the time, everyone has a different experience.
Perhaps your doctor can shed some light on it--that is if you feel like you can wait that long.
Oh--and are you using the auto-injector? I used to get big bruises from that but the syringe was much easier on me.
Good luck getting your head round all this!
I'm with you both, how good is good enough?
After failing to get any response on Humira last year I eventually had my first Simponi injection on March 1st. By the end of the first week I started to feel better, lifting fatigue and lessening joint pain. Then the next two weeks I felt AMAZING, I haven't felt that well in years, then it all crashed. April 1st injection, nothing. Still better than I was pre-Simponi ...... but am I being greedy wanting to feel amazing again ....... or even a little bit amazing ...... or a little bit amazing but not all the time?
I’m glad that it’s going pretty well…no side effects, etc…
I think that Enbrel works fairly quickl for most folks that take it (anecdotal), but I feel like I need to be on a bio for a bit before I call it quits. Does that make sense? Also, both bios I have tried have tended to fade just prior to my next dose. We have heard of this often from others here as well. That makes me think that it’s not all that uncommon. I was feeling pretty okay before spring hit, and now I feel like I am fighting a flare too. I wasn’t having any pain related to my joints, but now? Oh, boy! It might just be the time of year. An idea might be to wait until the weather is more consistent before you really judge the Enbrel.
Grumpy Cat- That's pretty much what I was figuring. As long as I wasn't worse, and I can see that there is an impact, I may as well ride out the flare. Late June is sufficiently late for me to be over the worst of my springtime flare, and hopefully be much better.
It did start working right away. The good news is that I haven't been knocked back badly so far this spring, and that seems to be courtesy of the Enbrel. I have a lot more joint pain creeping in, and some inflammation. I'm still on all of the other meds to "cover" me while the Enbrel is building up more in my system. The goal is to drop one, probably the plaquenil, next time I see the rheumatologist.
And Jane, yes, I'm using the auto-injector. Just one bruise using it, and that was the first time. Since then, no problems with it. I'm sure it will happen again, but so far it's been okay.
Lovemydogs- I was wondering about that, if a tighter dosing schedule would work. I think I do need to give it the full 4 months it will be by the next time that I go in. I'm wondering if I need to just talk to the nurse about it before then, just to get it in my record too.