Has anyone tried Arava?

My husband had first started taking MTX pills, when first diagnosed with PsA. Side effects were so bad, so he went on the MTX injections now for about a year. Very nasty side effects with the injections to including, migraine type headaches, severe insomnia, diarrhea, deep muscle pain, nausea, and nasty mood swings. Unfortunately, it did nothing to reduce the often debilitating pain he has. Finally, after I went with him to his appointments, the Rheumy agreed MTX may not be the right treatment for him. Thank goodness for small mercies!! He has suggested that hubby take nothing at all for one month. This will tell if MTX actually helped at all, a bit, or more than he realized. Hubby said he feels so much better being off the weekly MTX injections, as all the side effects have mostly dissipated, but his pain level is still bad, with or without MTX. He takes 375mg. of Naprosen 4x a day for pain. It does so very little. He works at a hard physical job and he is 61 and is unable to retire until he's 65.

Anyways, after the month of not taking anything, he is to start on Arava pills. As explained to us, it is another DMARD, with very similar side effects as MTX. That alone doesn't sound encouraging, side effect wise. I guess one never knows how it will be until you try it. It will also cost us about $200 more out of pocket, that our insurance plan will not cover. I am on disability, so that is a lot for us.

I would appreciate anyone's opinion on how the did on Arava and what side effects they had, and how helpful was this medication to them. Was it any better than MTX?

Humera & Embrel were suggested for possible use later, but has already warned us that may insurances do not cover it. They cost $20,000 or more per year to take!! If they are not covered, then he certainly will not be taking them!!

Everything has become overwhelming & often, rather discouraging. I know things can be so much worse. My husbands health has gone down hill quickly over the past 2 years since finally being diagnosed with PsA. He had symptoms for quite a few years prior, but was always told it was OA! I am a nurse, but am disabled from a back injury I sustained in 1998 at work. So I do have some knowledge!! So, he finally insisted with his GP, his so called OA was much worse, nothing was helping, and that he had to come home early everyday from work due to the severe pain. When he was finally seen by the Rheumy, he told the doc he thought it was PsA. The doc smiled and said, well you're right!!! Who told you!? He said my wife, a NURSE!!! Made me feel good despite being unable to practice for quite a few years!

Sorry I am long winded here. I have no one else to talk to regarding this, let alone no one to talk to about my disabling chronic nerve pain from my nursing injury. On bad days, I feel like I had lost everything. In many ways I have. I have lost all my friends since I am not working, lost my career, lost a second income, lost my own car to be able to go out, and most of all, lost my passion about life. My whole life I have always been a caregiver. Still am, caring for my MIL, but at least she is in LTC. My 2 sons moved back home as well. My parents have been deceased a long time. My 3 cats are what keep me sane!! My hubby has no interest to go put with me anymore. People often forget you can feel and be alone, even in a house full of people!! Doing the basics for me is about all I can manage to do now & I need to get that done early in the day. Things fall so behind around the house. Hubby comes home from work and plops himself on the sofa for the evening in exhaustion. I now have had to pick up the slack. I just can't manage anymore. We have no help from anyone. We have a very small family, most useless. So few friends and they have health issues to. It really sucks a lot of the time. I get so low sometimes, as I feel so isolated and alone with no support of any kind. I am sure many of you feel the same way. It's not a happy feeling. Support from family or friends s a BIG thing in dealing with any disease process.Don't mean to dump my feelings on you here. It's one of those days. I can usually pull myself out and look at the positives, but as you all know, that is not always so easy. Just too much on our plates besides so many other things. Just like we all have!

Sorry, didn't mean to bare all here, just came out. I guess because you are the so few who can actually understand what I mean!!

I would appreciate any input anyone can give me regarding their use of Arava. Any other suggestions would be appreciated to! We've done all the basics and typical things already.

Thanks so much for listening! Hope I may get some info about Arava & how well it worked for you.

Hope you have a good weekend!

Louise :)

Hi Louise, as part of my long history of medicines that weren’t right for me, Arava is one of them. The standard dose worked for the PsA, however I got the worst loose stools. (sorry a bit gross) so my rheumy put me on lthe lower dose which did not work at all
I am sorry to hear that it is so hard to get the cost of the biologics covered. This disease is bad enough without the worry of not being able to access the medicine we need!
I live in australia, so I cannot help you with insurance issues.
I hope rings get easier for you and your husband.
Louise :slight_smile:

Thank God for this site eh! We can share our stories/joys/sadness/challenges etc without feeling like whiners or whingers. This is our virtual "'family'" - the one that understands us and allows us to vent without being judgemental! Especially when our real families are not being as supportive & understanding as they should (which can be more often than we like!) I'm so happy I found this site and if it wasn't for people like yourself sharing your feelings I would feel very much alone.

I , like Louise, tried Arava (in a LONG history of trialling & failing meds). I actually felt BETTER on ARAVA than any of the other meds!! For about 2 months I felt like a new woman, much less pain & better mobility , much less psoriasis lesions. Of course, I still felt continually nauseous & experienced intermittent diarrhoea, but had felt that with EVERY drug since starting my PSA journey so just kept putting up with it (foolishly, as it turned out in the long run!) and, besides, I could do to lose some weight, right?

Then, I became SUPER ill over a couple of days- had a blood test and I actually had Hepatitis- then my specialist informed me it was caused by the ARAVA. So, that had to go too. Then it took a few months for my liver to stabilise enough for me to commence new treatment.

Also, like Louise, I live in Australia so sadly cannot help you with your insurance issues either, but I know there are heaps of people on this site who can!

Hang in there, and let us know how you go please