A couple of weeks ago I revealed that I was going to be put on a new anti-TNF drug, and I can now reveal (drumroll, please) that it is… Etanercept (or trade name Enbrel, as everyone seems to insist on calling it at the hospital).
I can’t start it for a few weeks, so now I’m just waiting it out. I have twelve days of Prednisolone to get me through this medication lull, of which I am currently on day seven. Then after that, I have about four weeks on my own.
Prednisolone appears to have gone straight to my knees and I’m walking around with that superhuman glow only something that’s going to give you a moonface can provide. I’m not letting my magical knees go to my head though as I know this time next week I’ll probably be in a very different state.
I’ve been on Etanercept (trade name Enbrel) before, between 2003 and 2007, when it was virtually a brand new drug. At that time it didn’t work very well on its own and I was on methotrexate as well until 2007 (bar a few weeks when I had shingles in 2006).
I’m quite excited about it all, but I had forgotten (or perhaps never realised at the time) all the checks that have to go into being put on a drug like this. On Wednesday I was in the hospital for two and a half hours, in which I had:
– An hour with my rheumatology nurse going through everything with me
– A chest X-ray to check if I have been in contact with TB
– A blood test to check if I have been in contact with TB
– A blood test to check everything else.
I also provided the world’s smallest urine sample. I was a very busy bee indeed.
I had really built up starting this new drug in my head – arranging when I would get deliveries of Etanercept (trade name Enbrel) alone was a whole admin feast of entertainment while I sat in the waiting room – all for it to come to an anti-climax. You see, you can’t start a drug like Etanercept straight away. I have to go back in four weeks for another joint count.
A joint count, for those not in the know, appears to be being prodded at and asked if the joint in question is tender or painful. I’ve also got a lot of reading material to get through – including a self-injecting guide and diary, and a biological treatment card for when I start.
I don’t remember it being like this first time around, but I am pleased that the pen to inject with is purple, as that is my favourite colour. Every cloud, eh?
Meet Collette and other friendly folk on Arthur’s Place Social, our Facebook Group
(Any opinions expressed in Collette’s blog are not necessarily shared by Arthur’s Place. Nothing that you read in Collette’s blog constitutes medical advice.)