It’s important to remember that finding the right medicine for your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) might take time. But you should always keep an eye out for when it may be time to change treatments.
Setting Treatment Goals
When deciding if it's time to switch to a different treatment, many patients set treatment goals. These can include better symptom relief, reduced inflammation, and finding a treatment that works without methotrexate or other DMARDs. While setting treatment goals is important, setting personal goals can also be helpful for you and your rheumatologist. It can help you monitor your RA and how well your treatment is—or isn’t—working.
Here are a few examples of some treatment goals listed by other patients. Naturally, you’ll have your own list. Take it to your next appointment and discuss it with your rheumatologist.
I'd like to be able to:
- Take walks with my partner
- Get out of bed with less stiffness
- Cook dinner with less joint pain
Signs it may be time for a new treatment
In addition to considering whether or not you are reaching your personal treatment goals, here are some things to look for that may mean it’s time to talk to your rheumatologist about a different treatment.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I have increased difficulty doing daily activities?
- Have my RA symptoms returned even after taking medicine?
- Have I developed new symptoms, and are they happening more frequently?
- Is my treatment becoming less effective over time?
- Are the side effects of any of my current treatments too difficult to handle?
- Is there a way to treat my RA without DMARDs like methotrexate?
If you’ve answered yes to some of these questions, it may be time to ask your rheumatologist about a different treatment.
Track your RA symptoms from day to day to get a clear picture of what’s going on.