Hi and advice needed!

Jfrosty
Jfrosty Member Posts: 6
edited 21. Apr 2016, 11:56 in Say Hello Archive
Hello everyone, I'm James -29 and currently living up on Scotland. I've got a type of RA but I don't think they're 100% on the exact type. So far been given steroid injections in to my hip where the main problem is, I was getting flare ups on and off for 2 years but now I've had it for 2 months straight. I've been prescribed sulfasalazine but been avoiding it as it can effect fertility and my wife and I are trying to get pregnant. But the pains to much now so I'm booked in for blood tests and to start it. Just wondering how anyone else taking sulfasalazine got on? Bit of a life story but would appreciate any help!!!

Thankyou

Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,080
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi James

    Welcome to the forums where I'm sure you will get a lot of help and good advice from all the lovely people on here.

    It is a little quiet being the weekend, but I'm sure that someone will be along shortly to help.

    We are here if you need any support to do with using the forums. Many of the mods have some of the many varieties of arthritis and we all know about the feelings that go along with having it.

    Do read and post across the different topics that you will find here.
    All best wishes
    Mod Bryn
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,242
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello James and welcome from me too. There are lots of types of inflammatory arthritis. Sticking a label on the exact one can be difficult (or impossible) but, as the medication is much the same whichever we have, if doesn't matter too much.

    Many people try to avoid the DMARDS (Disease Modifying Anti Rheumatic Drugs) but really it's best to take them as soon as possible to keep the disease in check.

    I'm afraid you're unlikely to get much feedback on sulf and male fertility though you could try on the Living With Arthritis forum. We've had the occasional man worried about DMARDS or biologics and fertility, or of the chance of them harming any baby conceived while they're on it, but very few and they tend not to hang around. There is some relatively good news I can give you. The very trustworthy Arthritis Research UK site seems to think all is not lost. http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/drugs/sulfasalazine/pregnancy.aspx I hope it works for you. I'm sure you'll have been told you need to give it several weeks to properly kick in. Good luck, on all fronts!
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Jfrosty
    Jfrosty Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you very much for the reply. The rheumatologist said this was the weakest course of action, wish I could avoid it but the last steroid injection did nothing. Yeah I was told it can take up to 3 months and can make you very prone to other infections. Out of options though!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,242
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    With RA, and all other autoimmune forms of arthritis, our immune systems are overactive and begin to attack our own bodies rather than any infections or bacteria that might have got in. The only way to keep the immune system dampened down is to take the DMARDS but, of course, suppressing our immune systems makes us prone to other infections.

    As much as possible, I keep away from anyone sneezing or coughing. I always use the alcohol gel provided in hospitals and docs' surgeries. (I've only to sign in on the touch screen and then watch all those unwell hands that do the same but don't use the gel, to realise how necessary it is.) I wash my hands far more than I used to and I carry my own little pot of antibac gel when eg on planes.

    My own experience with steroid jabs is that the more you have the less they work. And steroids, even as injections, bring their own problems.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've been taking sulph since 2002 and it hasn't done anything for my arthritis, I take it together with injected methotrexate and injected humira so I am immuno-suppressed times three. It's no big deal, I use wipes, hand gel and am assiduous about hand-washing, as is my husband. I have psoriatic arthritis (PsA) which started in 1997, the disease is now well-controlled but I started the meds far too late for them to make noticeable difference. A friend of mine also has PsA (luckily for him nowhere near as badly) and six tablets of sulph per day enables him to carry on as normal.

    We are often asked about fertility issues and the meds but usually by women (they have to stop everything in order to conceive). The best person to chat this over with is your rheumatologist, they should have the latest information. Steroids are useful but not in the long-term and there are many other meds you can take to control your condition. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Jfrosty
    Jfrosty Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I really appreciate all the replies. The rheumatologist wasn't very sympathetic really, I either take it or get my hip replaced. My next appointment is in June, booked in at the gp this week, still undecided what to do. My problems are no way near as bad as some of the people on this, but I'm not doing anything to control it at the moment.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Joint replacement may well help someone with OA alone but it won't address the underlying cause of your RA-type condition. There are around 300 kinds of inflammatory auto-immune conditions so precise diagnosis can be difficult, the meds to treat them, however, are the same. Any kind of arthritis is degenerative and progressive but with the auto-immune types medication is essential to slow both processes so the sooner you resolve this the better.

    With replacement joints it is not a case of 'I want so I shall have,' anything but. A certain level of damage has to be reached before surgery might be considered and that can take years to happen. Thanks to the damage caused by the PsA I was diagnosed with OA of the knees in April 2011, aged 52. Later that year I was refused new knees (despite bone-on-bone through 3/4 of each joint) because I was too young (a backhanded compliment if ever there was!) and a little overweight. I now have OA in both ankles and it's affecting both hips, all thanks to my poor gait. Hey-ho. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,242
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think that's a good move. I often find that talking things over with my GP is a good thing to do if I'm undecided or unhappy about a specialist's consultation. The GP has the letter so knows what went on and can sometimes throw more light on things. And be sympathetic if the consultant wasn't.

    However, GPs can't prescribe DMARDS except as instructed by the rheumatologist so the only other things he / she could suggest are either anti-inflammatories, which might help to control the symptoms but not the disease, or steroids (pills) which might even make you feel cured but are only masking the problem and bring a whole host of other problems in their wake when taken over a period of time.

    Remember, it's not just a matter of conceiving a child. You need to be as fit as possible for the next xxx years when raising them. It's tough. And wonderful :D
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Jfrosty
    Jfrosty Member Posts: 6
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    All good info thanks. I've got a lot to learn with this new enemy! The gp has the letter stating to start me on the sulfasalazine, but we decided to leave it a little longer to see if the flare up reduced like last time, however nothings changed and I've had this flare up for a few months now and so I'm booked in to get it underway. Hard to believe 12 months ago I completed a 26 miles hike!
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,242
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    26 miles is a fair whack but never say never. Who knows, once the sulf kicks in? Keep up with the blood tests and good luck with everything else.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran