Allison’s story – rheumatoid arthritis and anti-TNF
Allison developed severe rheumatoid arthritis when she was 40. After her condition failed to respond to methotrexate, she was put on infusions of infliximab, which also proved unsuccessful.
A patient first at the early arthritis clinic in Leeds, then the remission clinic, Allison’s doctors pushed to get her onto a second anti-TNF therapy, etanercept.
Etanercept had been so effective in controlling her rheumatoid arthritis that she and her medical team tried reducing the dose so she could come off the drug completely at some stage – and be in drug-free remission.
'I've gone from being extremely ill, taking lots of painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), wearing splints on both wrists and having to give up work for six months, to going back to work full time and even going to the gym,' says Allison, a manager at a further education college in Leeds.
'I've been left with some joint damage and restricted mobility, but it's been a massive turnaround. Etanercept is the only thing that has controlled my rheumatoid arthritis. For the past three years I have been living a reasonably normal life with the odd flare-up.'
Allison tried once before to give up medication but her condition flared up after a few months. However, there has been such a drastic improvement that it's worth another try in the future.