Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rituxan for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a pain that has no cure! There is a biologic medicine called Rituxan that may offer some relief, and so I am scheduled to have my first IV next Monday 9/21/09. All the information about it is at www.rituxan.com.

The infusion is given at an oncologist's office. Oncologists are not just for cancer. I will be in a room lined with people in recliners receiving a variety of IV medications, some for arthritis, most for cancer. We watch tv, read, knit. My medication will take about four hours (or more) to receive. It's given in stages, small amounts at a time so I won't have a strong reaction. We are instructed toeat breakfast, bring lunch and bring a blanket (the room is cold). There are a variety of side-effects, some horrible and deadly, but more common are itching, chills and a headache.

I had to have a negative TB test, take a flu shot, and have bloodwork, which have all been taken care of. Now it is up to the insurance company to set a price, which I think will be 20% of the infusion price. I hope it will be lower, as the price for biological therapies are usually astronomical.

I'll keep you posted.

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