I had a list of questions all ready for a recent visit to my rheumatologist. But foremost on my mind was the fact that I just haven’t been feeling all that well since starting on Humira. Granted, I only had two injections since it was first prescribed. But I was hoping for a sign of some improvement. I mentioned that I read on the prescribing information sheet (those pages long, tiny font, highly technical insert nobody reads) and it mentioned that if the patient is not taking methotrexate, then Humira can be prescribed weekly instead of every other week. My doctor looked at me and said that was true and that he would change the prescription. I’m still waiting on insurance approval before starting weekly injections.
Since my stomach can’t handle oral NSAIDs of any kind (see earlier post), I asked about using Voltaren (diclofenac sodium). This is the first NSAID topical gel approved by the FDA. I read about it on various RA blogs and Terry from the blog Dual Sports Life recommended it. My rheumatologist smiled and said that it would be a good idea to try it. But then I wondered why I had to raise the topic and he didn’t offer this as a solution after all the problems with NSAIDs over the past year? On a side note, the Voltaren does make a difference on a flaring joint and I like it!
Both of these situations made me wonder who the prescribing doctor was in my case. It raised all sorts of questions in my mind like,
- What if I didn’t read a lot about RA?
- Why do I have to bring up issues and make suggestions during doctor appointments?
- What would happen if I was not my own advocate?
- Are all rheumatologists like this?
- Should I switch doctors?
- If I switch doctors, am I perceived as being a pest?
I’ve liked my rheumatologist up to this point because he has been quite aggressive at treating RA from the very beginning. But I also know that a positive doctor-patient relationship is critical to RA treatment.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbconsci/