Many RA patients receive an excellent response from their RA treatments. But a substantial portion of us, perhaps as many as 30%, struggle to find effective treatments. Roth and Finckh (2009) found that 20-40% of RA patients failed to respond to the popular TNF inhibitors. In one recently published study in China, only 25% of patients achieved remission status (Lu, Li, Zhao, & Li, 2013).1 Such cases are called “refractory” or resistant to treatment. According to Webster’s Medical Dictionary,
“Refractory disease is defined as failure to attain a predefined target, which is now accepted to be remission or, at least, a low disease activity state.” 2
I seem to be such a refractory case and have even been labeled as such by my rheumatologist. I’ve been on 15 different RA medications since being diagnosed in early 2009 (see list below).
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