Rheumatoid Arthritis and life after four weeks of Enbrel


enbrel2It’s update time.  I know that Enbrel can take 3-4 months to work, but many people have given me personal feedback that they knew much quicker if a biological was going to work for them.

So…this isn’t my final conclusions, its an update.  How things are going after four weeks.

I believe Enbrel is helping.

I believe that on average my pain levels are reduced by about 30%.

I know that doesn’t sound like much, but it really is.

30% means that the moderate to severe pain in the morning is moderate.  And becomes mild within an hour, rather than three…or never.

30% means I am sleeping through the night most nights, instead of being woken by pain and then unable to return to sleep.  I am finding that Monday nights and Tuesday nights I tend to wake more.  I think that’s because Wednesday is Enbrel day, and its wearing off.

30% means I am down to 13mg of prednisone.  And I am still able to exercise at the gym most days.  I have tapered prednisone many, many times now.  And I am currently tapering a 1 mg every two weeks.  Nice and slow.  But regardless, I always hit 12mg and become couch bound. That’s the line.  I’m still 1mg away from there…but I believe that when I taper down to 12mg next week I will still be walking.  That is pretty amazing.  We’ll see whether I am still working out in the gym, and whether I can still lift any weight, or need to concentration on bodyweight exercises and stretching alone.  I am definitely lifting less right now, and not able to work for as long.  I am weaker and have less stamina.  So I am absolutely feeling the prednisone taper.  But each week gives Enbrel another week to build up in my system and do its thing.

30% is still a very long, long way from pain free.  I am still in pain every day…all day.  But there could still be a lot of improvement to come!

Now for the flip side of the coin – side effects.  Avid readers of this blog will know I have experienced some weird and wonderful and even life threatening side effects.  So what’s the deal with Enbrel?

A headache.

Low grade, nagging, but totally manageable, headache.  Worst on Thursdays and Fridays (post Wedneday shot).  But it does fade as the week goes on.

So I’m a fan.  Enbrel is my friend.  I am sure it is helping…and while the improvement is not spectacular, it is certainly enough to make taking the shot worthwhile.  Especially because I still have a lot of hope for more improvement.  The other benefit is that I am taking less oxycodone.  Most days I only take 10mg now…instead of 20mg or even 60mg.

Tomorrow is shot number five.  And I’m looking forward to it!


  1. I’m glad to hear that you are seeing results this quickly, and it sounds wise to cut back on your other drugs as you go along. Congratulations for getting the pred down so far. That will make a big difference for the future. It’s methotrexate night here, so no fun except for the chocolate cookies.

    • I used to hate methotrexate night! I feel for you, Annette. I hope the chocolate cookies take the edge off for you…dark chocolate is my feel good remedy :). It definately feels good to be able to lower my pred dose. The litmus test will be next week, when I taper down to 12mg!

  2. I am so thrilled to read this update. I am staying hopeful with you for further improvement as it settles into your system. There’s so much joy in reading that a med is working well for someone who has struggled to hard to find something that suits them.

    • Thanks Gillian. Its certainly been a long road! And while its not ‘magic’ I’ll take any improvement I can get, and make the most of it!


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