Saturday, October 11, 2008

PRA update

Today isn't the greatest day, but things could be a lot worse. Right now my left knee and my right hand/wrist are bothering me. Not enough to take pain med for, but enough to notice.

Over the past few months I've been doing well. In early summer my symptoms started to intensify, but still not too bad. I had been having trouble with my stomach and difficulty swallowing, so my doc did a repeat gastroscopy to see if I might be having a reaction from the Doxycycline I'd been taking for the PRA. Fortunately I didn't have what he was concerned about (Eosinophilic esophagitis), I had another stricture, which was dilated. After the scope I restarted the Doxy and have been doing well on it.

Since the first of August I've been taking Doxycycline 100mg twice a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. This dose seems to be keeping symptoms mostly at bay without upsetting my stomach.

Over the past 2 weeks I've also been trying something different. My doc had given me Voltaren, which is an anti-inflammatory or NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Voltaren has been on the market for a long time, and according to my doc, safer than the newer NSAIDs. I'm not convinced of this....they all seem to cause problems related to heart disease. Because of this, I decided to try and get off the Voltaren and switch over to plain aspirin.

Aspirin is not felt to be a drug that leads to heart disease, in fact it's used to treat heart disease. I've also done some research and it appears that aspirin works just as well as the prescription NSAIDs. So, a couple of weeks ago I stopped my Voltaren and started taking aspirin. I'm taking the "enteric coated" aspiring, which makes it less upsetting on the stomach as it's not broken down until it hits the intestine. I also make sure to take it with food and lots of liquid to make sure it doesn't get stuck in my esophagus.

So, right now I'm taking aspirin 2-3 times a day at most and doing fairly well. I'm still having some pain, but mostly quite tolerable. I've also been using Arnica gel on my hands, and other areas as needed. It seems to be working, but doesn't last too long.

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