Magazine article Drug Topics

Why New Drugs Are Needed: A Patient Speaks

Magazine article Drug Topics

Why New Drugs Are Needed: A Patient Speaks

Article excerpt

Michelle Conti, 38, has had rheumatoid arthritis for about 12 years. She earlier had to drop out of medical school because of this but is now poised to graduate, as a physician's assistant, next June. "My symptoms started in 1984, when my left knee swelled," she explained. "They put me on nonsteroidals from the very beginning-and crutches and exercises. At one point, the orthopedic surgeon noticed my fingers were different colors, and he sent me to a rheumatologist.

"It took about a year to get the specific diagnosis. During that time, I started getting stiff all over, and my joints started aching. I was started on Motrin at a maximum dose, and this went on for four or five months, and I started getting sicker and sicker, losing more weight, and my fingers swelled. I was started on prednisone and Plaquenil as well as an NSAID. With the prednisone, I felt much better, although I felt the side effects right away. I turned a blue-black color and had to discontinue the Plaquenil.

"Later, I was put on injectable gold, and I had to abandon that because I got rectal bleeding, which is not a real common side effect. With oral gold, I developed diarrhea, so I was put in the hospital and begun on methotrexate. …

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