Can RA be managed without medication

I'm due to start Methotrexate injections in 2 weeks following on from 6 weeks of Prednisolone having recently been diagnosed with RA.

I've seen that Methotrexate is considered the 'gold standard' but am anxious with the possible side effects and monitoring of the liver.

Is anyone using supplements instead of medication with any success?

Thank you


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    RA is caused by our overactive immune systems. They have to be dampened down, hence DMARDS such as methotrexate. It really can't be dealt with otherwise.

    I know most of us would prefer not to be meds dependent but this is a nasty, powerful disease which can affect not just joints but also internal organs if we don't get a grip on it. It needs strong meds to deal with it. Those strong meds weren't available when I was diagnosed in 1961. I wish they had been. Damage is done but I've been so much better since I started on methotrexate and hydroxychloroquine over 20 years ago.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • janiebin
    janiebin Member Posts: 52

    I agree with @stickywicket RA does need meds. I have been on methotrexate (tablets) for 14 years, I have not had injections and have suffered with very few side effects. You will have regular monitoring blood tests and you could also keep a diary of any changes worth mentioning so any concerns can be quickly noticed. If it does not suit you there are other meds the GP can prescribe.

    I tried turmeric for a few months but did not notice any benefit.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,600

    Just a further thought re monitoring of liver. I think all meds are processed in the liver and, if there is a liver problem, we are not necessarily aware of it. Hence the value of our regular blood tests which do test for ALT levels in the liver but also they test kidneys, haemoglobin levels and several other things I've forgotten. The only problem I've ever had with my bloods is very occasional low haemoglobin levels always sorted by a short course of iron tablets.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Jane68
    Jane68 Member Posts: 29

    Thank you both - I think it's just anxiety before starting the next lot of medication - it's a lot to process once diagnosed isn't it.

  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 605

    Hi @Jane68

    I'd agree with the others here. I'd never been one for taking medication, but after 10 months of extremely debilitating psoriatic arthritis, when the biologic kicked in it was transformational for me. I'm back to walking 50-60kms a week and I haven't had a painkiller in probably 6 months. I also use capsaicin cream on my shoulder and knee joints and lidocaine patches on my lower back when needed - I think that helps as well.

    I'd also agree with @janiebin that keeping a diary of day-to-day symptoms is a very good idea. It also helps keep track of previous and future appointments.