RA/OA Diagnosis

I am a 64 yo woman and have recently been diagnosed with RA and OA. My rheumatologist initially prescribed Methotrexate. After doing some research I was not comfortable taking the medication due to the side effects it can cause. After telling her of my reservations about the drug, I asked about Plaquenil, which is a medication my PC suggested. Then I did some research on Plaquenil, and wasn’t happy with that medication either, due to the potential side effects. I am at a loss as to what to do. My fingers are starting to show the arthritis with my knuckles beginning to get knotty! I am still fully functional; I have some minor pain, but it isn’t debilitating! I could use some advice. My brother actually suggested a functional medicine physician to see what he would recommend, and I found one about 20 miles from where I live. (Tennessee). But after contacting their office, and hearing all of the levels of care they provide, I was shocked by the cost! And I am not in a position financially to try functional medicine, and none of their fees are covered under our insurance, with is Tricare. Any advice anyone has would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!


  • noddingtonpete
    noddingtonpete Moderator Posts: 952

    Hello @LyndaG and welcome to the Community.

    What is it about Methotrexate that you don't like? I would have a look at the discussions on here (do a search using the magnifying glass symbol at the top) and see what others experiences are. Also take a look at the following from our website.

    I would talk it over with your doctor/consultant and see what drugs are best for you.

    Best wishes


    Need more help? - call our Helpline on0800 5200 520Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Hi @LyndaG

    Thank you for posting on our Online Community, we do hear this quite a lot on the Helpline from people calling because they are worried about taking Methotrexate, so it is more than understandable that you are concerned.

    Some people do choose not to take this drug and this is down to their choice, they manage their condition through exercise, so possibly a referral to see a physiotherapist, (we are unsure what that procedure would be for you because you live in Tennessee) other ways is through complementary treatment such as Fish body oil (omega 3) which is recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

    The only other reassurance that I can give you is from speaking to our caller we would say that 9 out of 10 people with this condition do get prescribed methotrexate for this condition and most people do not have any side effects, and because we are all different what may affect one person may not affect another, in the end it is your decision on what route to take, we hope that you come to the right decision soon and wish you all the best for the future.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,236
    edited 5. Dec 2023, 10:58

    Hi @LyndaG

    Tough isn't it? Problem is that most meds do have some sort of side effect potential, but not all of us get the side effects.

    Plaquenil (Hydroxychloroquine) is one of the milder meds to dampen down our immune systems, but here in the UK Methotrexate - or MTX - is considered the gold standard.

    A lot of us do try to improve our diets make them healthier (I am vegan for moral reasons) and try to improve our overall health.

    Wishing you luck

    Toni x