Sticking with it
Do you sometimes forget to take your medication or occasionally just not feel up to it? You are not alone – only 30-35% of people with RA consistently take their treatments as prescribed.1
However taking your medication as prescribed will help keep your RA under control.2 If you need some help keeping to your treatment, you should speak to your rheumatologist as there are steps you can take to help make sticking to your treatment plan more manageable so it has less of an impact on your life. Don’t leave your treatment problems unspoken.
Few people find taking any kind of medication enjoyable, but following your RA treatment plan as prescribed is an important part of controlling your RA. Fitting your treatment into a busy lifestyle can sometimes be tough, and perhaps it can feel like you have to juggle your treatment with living and enjoying your life.
At times like this, it can be tempting to skip a dose; however you must try to persevere. Not taking medication is linked to RA progression2. Leaving your RA untreated can severely damage your joints; between 20 and 30 percent of people who do not treat their RA are permanently unable to work within two to three years of being diagnosed3. So although you may feel a bit better in the short term, skipping your treatment can result in your RA becoming worse and make getting on with your life harder.
If you ever feel tempted to not take your treatment as prescribed, you should speak to your rheumatologist or nurse. Speaking about your treatment difficulties can be tough, but you should not leave your concerns unspoken.
Use these top tips to help you remember to take your medication.
Keep a diary – writing down your appointment dates and when you need to take your medication can help you keep on top of your treatment. Use the TRACK Diary, which is ideal for helping you track your treatment.
Set a reminder on your phone – an alarm going off when you need to take your medication is a great prompt.
Get into a routine – adding your medication into your routine is a useful way of remembering to take your treatment at the times your rheumatologist has prescribed.
Ask for help – everyone needs a gentle reminder occasionally and asking a friend or family member to give you a little prompt when your treatment is due can be a real help.
I just can’t do it
If you’ve tried all the tips above and you still feel like you really can’t keep taking your medication, it is important you don’t just stop. You must keep taking your treatment as prescribed until you have a chance to speak to your rheumatologist. They will try to find a treatment that is more suited to you. However, in case of experiencing severe side effects you should stop treatment and report these to your rheumatologist or doctor.
Sometimes having someone to talk to is very helpful – so why not give Arthritis Care’s confidential helplines a ring: 0808 800 4050 Lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.
- Van den Bemt BJF et al. Expert Rev Clin 2012; 8(4):337-351.
- Fidder HH et al. World J Gastroenterol 2013; 19(27):4344-4350.
- Rindfleisch JA and Muller D. Am Fam Physician 2005; 72(6):1037-1049.