A few weeks before I write this article now, nothing seemed to exist when I searched for information about what to do about the meds I am taking for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some of the same meds are used to treat Crohns, Lyme Disease, and PSA, but my own issue is RA. And no one seemed to be able to say what I should do in order to make myself less succeptible to Covid-19. At least that was the case until Coronavirus became a major concern in America. But it's still very individual and confusing. Here's what I learned.
Since I am on three drugs for my RA, I am at more at risk to be brought down by Covid-19. My doctor said that I had the immune system of an AIDS patient, but I'm not sure if that's entirely accurate. Or maybe it was when I first started the treatments. All three of my drugs suppress my immune system, but it seems that one in particular (which my doctor calls the devil) creates more problems for me.
I'm on what might be considered a standard RA drug concoction: Methotrexate, Humira, and Prednisone. Prednisone is the devil drug that my primary physician recently described as a shotgun, and it's the one (and other corticosteroids) that can make me more succeptible to Covid-19. The goal would be to be on Methotrexate alone, or that and Humira, if necessary, but without Prednisone, especially now.
Initially, I was on 60 mg of the steroid in order to make daily life bearable. I am now down to 5 mg and hoping to drop that to 2.5 mg as Covid-19 starts to really spread. If I can bring it down to 0 and still function, it might be my best chance to be able to fight the virus. I have read that some doctors will recommend suspending the other drugs once a virus takes hold, and I'll have to ask my own doctor if I ever get to that point. Since I take Methotrexate once a week, I'd skip one or two weeks while fighting the virus. Again, I'm not a doctor and don't know that's what my own doctor will tell me, but it's one possible solution.
Since I already had the plan to decrease my Prednisone, I'm doing what my doctor recommended. If that's where you are in your journey, consider this a good time to wean yourself off the steroid. If not, talk to your doctor. I'll probably be trying out some of the other anti-inflamatories that all kinds of people have recommended to see if one of those natural remedies can make up for the relief I get from Prednisone. And exercise, and a positive attitude, I suppose.
I was able to stop using the Prednisone completely. Daily life includes a certain level of pain that I have decided is worth the confidence I feel that my body has a chance to fight infection better than if I was still taking the drug. I added fish oil and turmeric. I had been on ginger, too. I have not yet gone back to glucosemene, but that's on the list.