I’m Officially A Guinea Pig!

If you read my last post, you know that over the last 2.5 years, I’ve failed a number of different biologics.  TNF blockers were my last option, and as it turns out, I’m allergic to them.  So, it was looking like I was going to go back to Orencia, which was the best of the worst.

All that changed on November 7th when a new biologic (and the first ever available in pill form) was approved by the FDA.  It’s called Xeljanz.  As of yesterday, my insurance company approved me, so I will be the first patient in my doctor’s practice to start this new treatment.

I’ll admit that I’m more than a little apprehensive about starting a drug that’s brand new to the U.S. market.  However, I’m excited about the prospect of having something new to try, just when it seemed I was out of options – and would be forced to live with the joint damage I’m currently experiencing.

My pills should be here tomorrow, and I’ll be reporting on what happens and how it works as I go.  Wish me luck in the lab!


13 thoughts on “I’m Officially A Guinea Pig!

    • I have read it, and enjoyed it for sure! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by here. I just spent some time on your blog, and I love it. We’ve got some similar thoughts, from writing about the election (yay Obamacare!) and channeling Rocky Balboa from time to time. I’m here anytime you want to chat about RA. Great to virtually meet you!

  1. At my January 2012 appointment my doc and I will discuss the new pill form. I’ll will check back here to see how you’re tolerating it and it helps you. I hope it does.

  2. Annemarie McMahon says:

    Hey there,
    I was searching the web for others who are trying out Xeljanz and I found you. I, too, am the first patient in my Dr’s office to try it. I’ve been on since 12-14. I haven’t noticed any significant decrease in my inflammation and am having some stomach discomfort, but all in all I’m doing okay. What do you think so far?

    • Hi Annemarie,

      So sorry it’s taken me a bit to reply. I was able to go back to work a few months ago (yay Xeljanz!), and life has gotten a bit hectic! 🙂 I am definitely having good luck with Xeljanz! If you read my history, you can see how much I’ve struggled. I still have pretty significant synovitis in my ankles and knees (where my RA is worst), but I’ve been able to return to work after a year on disability, and I’m exercising as well. It’s not perfect, as I’m still on 8mg/daym of Medrol and 10mg/day of Percocet, in addition to Plaquenil and a couple of other drugs. But, my energy levels are up, and my blood work looks better than it has in years. I also struggled quite a bit with livedo reticularis, which has improved quite a bit for the first time in over a year. So, I’m calling Xeljanz a success for me! How’s it going for you?


  3. I have tried leaving you several messages..I am getting ready to start Orencia and am a little afriad of igh blood pressure problems and weight gain…Did you have any of these problems? Lynn

    • Hi Lynn,

      I hope Orencia is working well for you. Neither of those was a big problem for me with Orencia — weight gain has come, but really from Medrol. My blood pressure has been good overall, and I have a heart condition, so I monitor that. Hope you’re doing well!


  4. Laurel Cormier says:

    Hi, I am also brand new to Xeljanz. Today is Saturday November 5 and I started just yesterday. I would love to join you in tracking the experience with this medication. I have started with excitement thinking this may be a whole new lease on life (hopefully)

    • Hi Laurel, and thanks for reading! Unfortunately, Xeljanz didn’t work for me, but I hope it does for you. Please, please keep me posted on your progress. Sending you lots of luck and a few extra spoons! 🙂

  5. Stephen M says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I just found your blog after researching Xeljanz to treat my RA. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you. How long were you on it and did you experience any abnormal lab results while using it or other side effects? Good luck and thanks again for sharing your experience.

    • Hi Stephen,

      Xeljanz actually did a reasonable job with my disease progression and quality of life, but I had a terrible side effect. After a few months on that medication, I started gaining weight at Ata noticeable weight, so I couldn’t stay on it. 😕 I hope it works for you. Thanks so much for reading…best of luck to you!


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