Personalising Treatment Plans
Dr. Irwin Lim
Choosing a medication to use to try to control the inflammatory arthritis can be actually quite difficult. While we have kind of cookbook formulas that we have tried and trusted, rheumatologists do understand that the same medication may not work for all patients. It’s important for you as a patient to realise that there are alternatives. It is important for you as a patient to actually tell your rheumatologist how you feel about that medication, about any side effects you may be experiencing, so that you can negotiate better solution. Because there are always alternatives.
Suzie Edward May
Author of ‘Arthritis, pregnancy and the path to parenthood’ (rheumatoid arthritis)
Treatment is, it’s an ongoing process and each person is going to respond differently to different medications. It’s not just about finding the drug that you’re going to stay on through your arthritis journey. It’s about changing and adapting and bringing in other medications and supporting your core medications over your arthritis journey. It’s important to work closely with your rheumatologist so that both the rheumatologist and yourself can get to a point where you can recognise when it’s important to change medications. When perhaps your disease is not being managed or controlled as well as it could be.
Medication for me I see is just as part of the whole process. As I see them they’re just a platform to work from. You can’t rely on them solely but you do need them as part of your care. For me personally they’ve been like a real jumpstart of my progress in terms of just alleviating a lot of the symptoms and allowing me to go out and be active and look after my body to manage the condition and without them I wouldn’t be in the space I am. But I don’t see them as the be all and end all as I mentioned before. You’ve got to look at them as part of the package.
This arthritis is manageable but I’d like to stress the point that it’s not just manageable by medication. I regard the medication as being something that helps me but you got to help yourself. If you’re overweight and you’re unfit and you’re relying upon some drug to give you a quality of life, then it’s not going to happen.