[Member Discussions and Questions] Advice Needed for Plaquenil Vs Methotrexate Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

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January 2, 2013

One Chick is looking for your advice on medication:

My Rheumatologist recommended Methotrexate for my RA which I haven’t started taking yet because I was waiting until after the holidays in case I have side effects…however she mentioned Plaquenil but she felt the Methotrexate is better for my RA. I am nervous to start taking such a potent medicine and was wondering what chicks out there thought about Plaquenil? Has anyone ever started on Methotrexate and then went to the more milder and took the Plaquenil? I would rather take something less potent long-term but I also want to be pain-free as i have a 3 year old and a 3 month old!!

Thanks in advance for your help (((pain-free internet hugs))) Wishing you all a wonderful day!

What our members have said so far:

Belinda – I started on Methotrexate , increased to max oral dose within 2 months then plaquenil and sulphasalazine were added to the mix. Yes, it’s a chemo drug but we only have a low dosage. It seems to be the starting drug of choice. After the first few weeks, I hardly noticed any side effects. Research, think about it. Being a long term thing you have to feel comfortable. Mind you I felt sick with anxiety about taking it on the day I had it but that’s also eased with time. Good luck!

Nina – I said no to methotrexate and yes to first sulfasalazine and after that to plaquenil. Plaquenil worked really well for me, took away the final 30% of the pain that the sulfasalazine wasn’t covering. Only side effect I had from plaquenil was that it made me curly hair a lot straighter. I wasn’t happy with that, but in the scheme of things, it was a pretty first world problem. Good luck!

Karen – My teen has RA. And she takes methotrexate. Only nausea and initially vomiting until her body adapted to it. Then it’s been pretty plain sailing. She gets bloods tested 4 weekly and dependent on levels is fine to keep going. Only 2 x has her mtx had to be stopped to allow liver levels to return to normal and that was several years ago. She has been taking Methotrexate for 8 years

Marla – I take a combination of both. 8 methotrexate at one time, once a week and 2 plaquinel twice a day. Make sure you have a scrip for folic acid to ease the Methotrexate side effects. Also, make sure if you start plaquinel, that you keep up on the required eye exams. As there are side effects with long term use of this drug as well. But you have to weigh it out; sometimes a chance at a better lifestyle and less pain, out  weighs the side effects.

Danielle – I take the methotrexate and plaquenil together. The injection once a week 25 mg and the plaquenil twice a day everyday. I started out with the oral methotrexate taking ten pills once a week and I was still having a lot of issues so my rheumy added the plaquenil and I seem to be doing better just still having problems with inflammation.

KT – Depends what you want … Are you breast feeding? Personally Methotrexate has been a saviour (in conjunction with humira). I firmly believe I wouldn’t be walking without my meds. It’s all about preventing the long term damage. But at the end of the day you have to be happy with your decision as you are the one who has to swallow them. Way back at the start dr put me on plaquenil and added Methotrexate . Then swapped plaquenil for humira

Tracey – I reacted quite badly to Plaquenil, stomach cramps, diarrhea, pain, nausea. Have been offered methotrexate too, am putting it off as long as possible.

Kay – I take plaquenil and sulfasalazine, have been taking plaquenil for approx a year, it hasn’t really helped all that much really unfortunately but I’ve had no side effects from it and can take it while breastfeeding. My rheumy wants me to start Methotrexate but I am still not sure and can’t start taking it til my little man is weaned, he’s still fully b/fed at 14 months! Good luck:)

Clare – I started on Methotrexate but it made my hair fall out . I was moved on to hydroxychloroquine and sulphasalazine and have been on the combination for the last 8 years . Looking to change now as my body no longer seems to be responding to these drugs xx

Carolyn – I agree with Belinda. Have been on Methotrexate for about 3 years. Built it up slowly for a couple of months too and am taking 8 tablets once a week. I have not had any side effects at all. Get regular blood tests so its reassuring that they are keeping an eye on liver function etc. Arthritis has been fine too and not many flare ups. Good luck. xx

Melissa – I started on Methotrexate and Plaquenil. I quit Methotrexate very quickly due to vomiting and nausea. I’ve been on Plaquenil for 5 years in combination with Enbrel, then to Remicade, and now Humira. I am never “pain free”, but I manage a pretty normal lifestyle.

Natelle – I take both methotrexate low dose oral and plaquenil and have been doing this for about 12 months it has halted the progression of RA I still get pain but my immune system is down so I pick up bugs…I do get tired from the mtx for 3 days

Susan – I’ve gone from Methotrexate to plaquenil..and i like it so much better! I take it with enbrel.

Jennie – I’ve been on Plaquenil for 15 years with no side effects. I do Methotrexate shots once a week…I was on the pills but they made me feel sick the whole time and I lost 45 lbs! But on the Methotrexate shots, which I find relatively painless to do, I get no side effects that I notice after about a year.

Evelyn – That was the first meds I received for my RA and it was fantastic, worked great, but started getting high liver numbers and had to switch to another med. I have tried approx 4 different meds, I got allergic to them or they did nothing. I just started the Humira shots and somewhat working, I still feel some pain, but not as bad. But I also read that it takes some time, so that is what I am doing. God willing it will work. Good Look and as Maria said get the prescription for the folic acid it will help the stomach.

Rebecca – Like you, i was terrified of Methotrexate . It got to where i would have taken *anything* to stop the pain. This past Saturday was week 9 of my Methotrexate …6 tablets. I also take folic acid. Taking the Methotrexate  was the best thing I’ve done. I’m having definite improvement. Just remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Wishing you the best.

Courtney – I take Methotrexate injections (.8 cc weekly) and plaquinel (hydroxychloroquin) they use plaquenil for treating malaria all the time, and the only side affects I’ve ever had are nausea and tiredness. Methotrexate is the worse of the two if you ask me, but you eventually adapt to it and your Doctor can help you adjust your dosage so that you have fewer side affects.

Becki – I as on Methotrexate and Plaquenil and Enbrel. On the Methotrexate I started with 3 pills a week when I stopped taking the Methotrexate I was up to 12 pills a week. I’m still on the Plaquenil 2 daily.I no longer take Enbrel. I’m on Cimzia. But to be honest Cimzia not helping so I will be on something else after my next appt. I’m still looking for that rainbow that will help me manage my life. I will find it it is just taking a long time to find.

Dana – I take 5 Methotrexate weekly plus folic acid. Haven’t had any problems and been taking for 4 years now. Good luck .

Carrie – I’ve only had mild reactions to the Methotrexate (I do injectable), but horrific, violent reactions to both Plaquenil and Sulfasalazine. I have been off and on it since I was 12. I am now 34.

Teresa – I took plaquenil and sulfasalazine first with limited success, no side effects other than terribly dry eyes that blur my vision sometimes. Have dropped the sulfasalazine and added methotrexate. Symptoms have improved so far on a low dose. Only have slight nausea and lethargy after weekly dose. It is daunting to take something that is considered so ‘toxic’ but the alternative is to let the RA do its damage..

Abbie – I have been on Methotrexate in the past but traced badly to it. Am currently taking Plaquenil (and have been for 7 months now) but its definitely not controlling my symptoms. Going back to the Rheumy on Fri and hoping for a change to my meds x

Mel – As you can see everyone reacts to medications differently. I’ve heard that methotrexate has worked well for some people, but for me it never worked and caused huge side effects I was fine on plaque nil but it wasn’t enough to deal with pain an inflammation. You’re not really going to know whether it will work for you unless you try it. If you do, just make sure you take note of any side effects and don’t feel pressured to continue it if it’s not working and the side effects are bad. I agree injection produce less side effects. I felt very nauseous and was a zombie the day after I’d take it orally. Good luck!

Edie – Plaquenil is most effective for more mild RA & is pretty benign. If you are showing signs of erosion, you def need to bring out the big guns-in the long run, may benefit from Methotrexate with a biologic. If you DON’T have damage, you may be able to avoid Methotrexate . My personal rule of thumb is to start conservative & then adjust. All the best!

Sabine – I am on both (and some more meds) if you plan your Methotrexate right you can try to take them so you have the worst side affects at night! I hope you find a way that fits for you

Sarah – I had a lot of side effects and felt worn down from the once weekly dosage in which methotrexate is given. I also lost hair and had chronic ear aches and runny noses. I switched to plaquenil and Laflumanide (like Methotrexate but you take daily which was better and less of a shock to my system) its important to remember a few things…every medicine reacts differently for different people. What may be the best thing ever to one person and changed their life may have made another sick and #2 is I see many people and have experienced myself many people have to try several different medicines, combinations, and dosages until they find their right combo. Stay with/ on your doctor until you get it.

Becky – When I was first diagnosed with RA and OA..they started me out on Plaquenil, worked good for a few years then I started taking methotrexate ( 6 pills every Wed) and went thru mild side effects but with the Lords blessing I have done very well on it .

Elaine – Everyone is different as to what works for them, I’m a firm believer in starting with aggressive treatment as long as its monitored well with blood tests, it was 16 years before i was given methotrexate and €,m very disabled because the rheumy i had was so old fashioned in the way he treated ra, so try the methotrexate.

Linda – I’ve been on plaq since march went to rheumy on fri n he’s adding sulfasalazine. No prob wi plaq cept it not strong enough. So will now be on both

Emily – I am also on Methotrexate a few side affects, nothing too major nausea,.. A little hair loss/thinning and weaker nails BUT had made a difference to my mobility, I also have a monthly biologic of actemra among other things,… Good luck x

Monica – I take Methotrexate .8 injection weekly. Suppose to take Folic Acid. Took sulfa with no success many years ago, then everything else. I can tell you that Methotrexate is awful!!!!!!!!!! Just the anxiety the day before thinking I have to take it the next day causes nausea and vomiting. If I see anything looks like chicken broth (cause that’s what Mtx color/texture reminds me of); nausea and vomiting. It’s horrible. Say no to Methotrexate for as long as you can. My question is, do I have to take it the rest of my life????

Lisa – I started on plaquenil then they added sulfasalazine within 6 months Methotrexate injections didn’t notice any difference added enbrel to the mix no change stopped enbrel now on infusion rutiximab along with Methotrexate plaq and sulfasalazine blood improving pain not you have to choose what is right for you but would if you choose to get the injections tablets seem to upset a lot of peoples stomachs and cause further issues mine did good luck x x x

Lourika – I started on sulfasalixzine, but got skin rash from it, then changed to plaquenil that didn’t do much. Started on Methotrexate and stayed on it for more than a year, but was horribly sick while on it and pain was even worse than before. Horrible headaches, nightmares, dizziness, fogginess, depression, you name it. Turned out I was allergic to it. Rheumy changed me to the injectable, but reactions was still the same. While on Methotrexate I started with Enbrel which also gave me terrible headaches, but did help a little bit, then got changed to Cimzia as rheumy said its not working as it should. Was on cimzia for 4 months, 3 and a half of which together with mtx, the last without it. Felt sooooo much better the 2 weeks without Methotrexate , but by then rheumy stopped cimzia prescription to change me to Orencia infusions. Through all I kept using plaquenil. Been 5 weeks since my last cimzia injection. Was in horrible pain the past 3 weeks. Worse than ever. Getting my first Orencia infusion on Saturday. I’m just so glad I don’t take that horrible Methotrexate anymore, lost at least a year of my life because of it. Instead of making me better it made me worse. Can’t say the plaquenil is really doing anything for me good or bad. Good luck for whatever you choose xx

CJ – I inject Methotrexate . Absolutely hate it so much that I don’t take it on schedule. Strangely I rather hurt than sticking a needle with a fluid that makes me feel like s##t! I can’t take any anti inflammatory orally.

Kristine – ((((((.GLUTEN FREE )))))). People !!

Caroline – Hi ,i also have RA, I am currently taking 20 mgs of methotrexate along with sulfasalazine, diclofenac, and sleeping tablets. Methotrexate was making me feel very sick,but when my rheumatologist added sulfasalazine the sickness feeling subsided a little. I have never heard of Plaquenil before. I recently have had the worst pain ever since being diagnosed 2 years ago, i think what would the pain be like without all the meds, so put up with taking meds even if i get sickness as side effects. Cant imagine ever being pain free again. Seeing my Dr this month to maybe change meds as had to have steroid injection over the Xmas holidays.

Tracey – I am back on plaquenil after being off it for around 18 months. For me it does cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, but I have had good relief from plaquenil in the past and am hoping it will kick in again soon. I was also taking Celebrex with it but finding that causes considerable weight gain. Mtx is the next option for me and I am also hesitant as the side effects it has with my mother.

Elizabeth – Ask your DR about Arava. Methotrexate was not an option for me because of a blood disorder. I have been on Arava and Plaquinel for 2 years. Except for my straight hair getting curly no other side effects. When I do have an occasional flare I take a prednisone taper.

Jan – Started with Methotrexate 10 yrs ago 6 tablets weekly

Michelle – My rheum started me on plaquenil with mobic as an antiinflammatory. After about six months on the plaquenil, with out much relief, he switched me to 6 tabs once a week of Methotrexate and increased my anti-inflammatory to diclofenac. I had a lot more success with Methotrexate , though after a year my dosage was increased to 8 tabs of Methotrexate . I have been able to stop taking the diclofenac and have been using just ibuprofen as needed for pain. I’ve been on the 8 tab dosage of Methotrexate for about a year now, and have some flares, but not as bad as before. Make sure your Dr prescribed you folic acid also (or you can get it over the counter) as the Methotrexate will leach the folic acid out of your system, which can cause hair loss and can cause heart problems, also.

Conni – I take both, plaquenil daily and Methotrexate one a week injection at night. I also take folic acid and have no side effects. They help me a lot.

Donna – I took the pills from diagnosis in 9/2009 until 1/2012 then I switched to injections. It was the best thing I’ve done!! NO side effects!!

Jodie – My daughter is 18 and has had RA for 3 years she is on Mtx inj weekly and Plaquenil and Naproxen. Without the Methotrexate she has terrible flare ups and nodules everywhere. We find these meds work for her and thankfully the Methotrexate does not have too many side affects for her. She sees her Rheumy every 3 months and always is having blood tests to keep on top of it. The Plaquenil for her has no side affects. Good luck to you

Sharna – I’ve taken the plaquenil, they tried that first because it was classed as ‘safe’ while breastfeeding because my son was only 7 weeks old but it never worked so they moved me onto sulfasalazine. I’ve been on 3000 mgs of sulfasalazine since august and I am still flaring up all the time but for only short periods at a time. He suggested Methotrexate at my last appointment and I am so scared, mostly because I am only 23 and if we ever want to have anymore children I have to go off of it for 3 months before TTC. I am about 85% sure I don’t want anymore and my husband 100% but we are still sooo young, anything could change Also I heard if you are sick you can not have then injection until you are better?

Laura – Best practice for beginning tx for ra is Methotrexate and plaquenil together–however generic plaquenil does not have same coating as brand so i got ill until back on brand name. Been on both for 25 years and enbrel– take folic acid and drink LOTS water to help liver and kidneys. Stay off steroids as much as possible.

Jodie – I was on Methotrexate and it helped for about 18 months but then started going rapidly down hill. Have been on plaquenil for a couple of years now and I love it, rarely have flares and have had no side effects (apart from occasional diarrhea if I take it when drinking)

Jan – Started Methotrexate 10 yrs ago (6 tablets weekly). Had the usual side effects (hair thinning, nausea, fatigue). After 8 yrs, started having confusion & brain fog…had to stay off of Methotrexate. Tried Arava & had terrible itching skin reaction that took almost 1 yr to clear up (ad only taken the med for 18 days). On sulfasalazine now for 4 months…doing OK with no side effects. Also on a biologic + many other meds. My RA pain & inflammation is better on the sulfa for the most part, but when I have pain it is more intense than before.  My ra is stable and i am relatively pain free– am on relafen too. Breakthrough pain i have Tramadol– rare i need it.

Laura – MTX never helped me, I been dealing with RA for 10 years now & I have already took all the first 5 or 6 common drugs. none helped me much…Enbrel helped me more than anything it worked for 5 yrs then all of a sudden stopped working I was put on Humira it barely touched my pain & stiffness. Started Remicade Infusions 2 years ago, & it has been a life saver for me I was in a wheelchair before starting it & now I can pretty much do what I want I just have to take it slow & to rest & not over do things. Good luck to you!

Nicole – I was on Plaqanil for about a year before moving on the Mtx oral 20 mg once a week and weaning off the Plaqanil. I also felt a little apprehensive about taking it but once i started it and had next to no side affects (apart from making me tired the day after taking it) i was much better off with more frequent pain free days. Good luck and i hope it works for you like it has for me.

Amy – My Rheumy tried Plaquinel and for me it didn’t work. If it had worked he had warned me about long term Plaquinel use. If you use that you need to see your eye doc every year and tell them you are on the drug. It can lead to blindness but it is preventable. He said eye docs will know what signs to look for and if the start of the damage is noticed the med can be stopped and you will be fine. I was also on Methotrexate for some time. It did seem to help and the only side effect I had was mouth sores. To help with the mouth sores the Rheumy put me on folic acid. Still got mouth sores though. Once I started on Humira he tried to start me back on the Methotrexate but I had a reaction to the combo. Rheumy said he had never seen my reaction before but it cleared up soon after stopping the Methotrexate. Now I am just on Humira and Relefan.

Isabel – I’m MTX and sulfasalazine. I was worried about taking them too, but tried lots of combinations and this one works for me at the moment. I too would be crippled without them. Always go for your blood tests.

Carolyn – I was on plaquenil for a year when I was first diagnosed. It helped but wasn’t enough so my rheumy switched me to MTX 25 mg orally..While nausea,brain fog and fatigue went with it, it worked better for my symptoms. I added Humira a year later and got my life back. MTX by injection is much better than oral as far as side effects go.

Diane – I tried plaquinel, it was horrible. On Humira and MTX , I still feel horrible. I’m at my wits end and ready to give up. I flew and ended up with pneumonia and had to stop taking both…lost my hair too. I’m only 52 and my life is not what I planned for. take pain meds too, percocet and flexeril.

Jojo – I’ve been on methotrexate injections for 1 year and also been on plaquinel for 9 months…..i would suggest stay off em if you can…they will slow down the disease but they have horrible side effects…and you will feel ill like your so weak and unstable the whole time your on em…but it will slow down the progression of the r.a….good luck…

Chrissie – I am on MTX and Humira which has worked well for me with relatively little side effects. MTX was OK for me on its own for quite a while but after having my son I needed more so they added Humira.

Lisa – I take both actually. Most important prior to starting Plaquenil is to have a base line Visual Field test and dilated eye exam Plaquenil can cause problems with the retina. Although I was a ophthalmology assistant for years I rarely saw it happen.

Arleda – I have taken Methotrexate for about a year and Orencia for about two yrs. doing great. Took a few yrs to find the right combo. Use to take prednisone for two yrs. now off that only use as needed for flare ups. Hope to get off Methotrexate soon. Hope you find the right combo for you soon. Sometimes it takes a while.

Lisa – Now my rheum has added Orencia IV as well. Finally getting some relief

Lisa – I was still feeling so drained though until about a month ago when I started drinking these protein shakes from Body by Vi. I’m back to feeling human again Good luck and gentle hugs

Chrissie – sorry pressed enter too quick… meant to also say I was on Methotrexate with plaquinel for a bit and I felt awfully sick but it had no effect on my RA so I came off it. Unfortunately we can’t predict how you will react to a particular drug and that’s what ultimately matters as everyone reacts differently. Just remember you can always stop a drug if it doesn’t work for you or its side effects are too unpleasant, Make sure you go for regular monitoring and they will pick up if anything bad is happening that means you have to stop. Methotrexate & Humira changed my life.

Jolie – Taking the meds is preferable to Joint pain and damage. I started on sulfasalazine and plaquenil but both made me violently sick. Plaquenil was too mild and did not control the progression of my RA. I have been on Methotrexate for 7 years( first 6 yrs was oral tablets and the last year has been injectable) and have had several side effects but it has controlled the RA and I benefit from taking it with pretty decent mobility and not a lot of pain. Most RA sufferers experience flares in varying degrees and durations no matter what drug combo they are taking. Blood work every 3 months to check my liver function and WBC are necessary. You must advocate for yourself and ensure your rheumy provides you with proper care. Good luck!!

Stevie – my dear girl it always a hard decision to make but i have been on methotrexate for roughly 19 years now and the difference it has made to me pain wise and what i am able to do, i don’t think if i even wanted too i could go back to a less potent drug as the difference to my life is too much to change i too have a 3 year old and only just cope now so if i changed my meds it would b even worse. you really have to weigh up your life and what you would like to accomplish how you would like to live and make the decision from there, just remember though all the advice from everyone may be totally different from what you would experience so on a whole it is best too go with what works for you girl. xoxoxoxoo

Sarah – I just started Methotrexate on Sunday. I am also taking Plaquenil. My Rheumy says they work well together. I am for good results.

Patricia – I have been on methotrexate since 08, the pills gave me nausea after a couple yr, so now I take injections with no side effects,mildly hair loss, button hair is so thick it will never be missed. I thought it wasn’t working once..them got an infection n had to miss 2 Doses…..oh! I could Really tell! My pain level was really bad and mobility was evenness Decreased. I did take folic acid n now take leucovorin which really helps! Well wishes to you.
Stephanie – I have been taking Plaquenil for only a few months but I have already noticed relief from the joint pain. The only side effect has been an upset stomach.

Shelley – I take 200 mg. Plaquenil twice a day and Methotrexate x 7 pills, once a week. Once I added the Methotrexate there was a huge difference in the symptoms! Good Luck!

Lina – I’m on both Plaquenil & Methotrexate  injections and I feel the injections help way more than the Plaquenil tablets

Laila – Plaquenil did nothing much for me, except gave me a severe reaction to an antibiotic that was prescribed for a UTI…. I ended up in ER for 2 days…. So not taking Plaquenil any more. I only take Prednisone now and acetaminophen … Will begin taking Methotrexate  or Enbrel later this month….now that I have insurance that will pay for it. (mostly anyway)…

Jan – I took Methotrexate years ago but got to a point that I can no longer take it. I had one reaction, one time – I threw up but was not sure it was the Methotrexate . Take it while you can because there comes a point with nearly all the meds that you have to switch to something else. And it will make you feel better…

Tarren – I am taking both plaquinel and methotrexate, and have no effects at all. Just remember to take the folic acid, not on the day if the mtx and you should be fine xx
Joan – I am taking both Methotrexate and Plaquenil but at one half the usual dose for each. And not having side effects which are often dose dependent. So discuss that option with your health care provider. You may need the higher dose initially to control symptoms which was my case. Best wishes. Set priorities. Conserve energy Delegate. Accept help. 9 Methotrexate tablets and 200 mg twice a day of the plaquinel xx

Penny – I.suggest doing what Dr. recommends. That is what your are paying him/her for.
Kristen – My rheumy started me on plaque il first then added Methotrexate when plaquenil seemed to be doing absolutely nothing. Methotrexate has helped me SO MUCH. I cannot even express my love for that drug. It makes me function. I do sometimes get nauseated but it’s nothing zofran can’t tame. It has made my quality of life LIVABLE. Best of luck to you!

Pennie – Diagnosed at 19 I began taking plaquenil along with NSAIDS, but they did nothing for me and I feared the side affects Plaquenil could have on my vision. I switched to Methotrexate injections and pills along with enbrel for 7 yrs until I got off all meds to get pregnant. After my pregnancy I switched to humira and methotrexate for 7 years until they no longer worked and my organs began being affected by my RA. I ended up in a coma and the docs all agreed I needed to get off methotrexate. I’m now taking Orencia and Imuran. I’m 39 now. I’ve had RA for a lil more than 19 years. Methotrexate worked for awhile, injections seemed to work best. Main side affect was hair loss, but I have thick curly hair so it actually was a help to not have so much. Good Luck!!!

Dee – A serious disease needs a serious drug so if your doctor thinks you need to start there trust their judgement. That is why you see them isn’t it? Unfortunate they add on or increase your meds, I don’t think anyone ever goes backwards. Good luck.

Helen – I am on inj. Which I find very good. Was on plaquenil but had eye issues. I give my own inj. You can work out your own timing. The pills made me very sick, vomiting blood etc. good luck

Rachel – I started on plaquenil because I didn’t want to start on Methotrexate since it was so harsh. My rheumy supported that choice as you can always add or change meds if it doesn’t work.

Janelle – Klein I have started with max and plaquenil both since I was diagnosed 3 years ago my side effects were mild most fatigue I am now on Enbrel with plaquenil . Good luck pain free hugs

Amber – I went straight to Methotrexate , but plaquenil was added after a couple of years when max dose still wasn’t helping as much as he wanted. I had side effects on mtx, the kind you aren’t /supposed/ to get because of the folic acid-nausea, hair loss were the biggest. I continued to take it, anyway as it helped me feel better, enough so that I felt the side effects were worth it for the years I took it, because my RA was so bad. I’m sure your rheumy suggested it because it makes a large difference to many who take it, I would take it again, if I had to. Best of luck. =]

Linda – I took both for 1 year and then went off Methotrexate because of side effects. Doing great now!

Jennifer – I refused to take take the Methotrexate as my first med after being diagnosed. I thought it was too aggressive. A Cancer drug for RA? SO, I went on Sulfasalazine, and got sick as a dog. Off of that on to Plaquenil and sick again. I would rather be in pain management than that sick. I stopped seeing my Rheumy and stuck with my GP. He sent me to a Pain management Dr who wouldn’t treat me unless I went back to a Rheumy. I refused. I couldn’t function or take care of my family. On to Prednisone and had heart Palps. I stayed on Mobic for quite a while but it never helped that much. Nothing takes away the pain and flares totally. I won’t go on Biologics because I’m too afraid. If I ever ended up getting lymphoma or some other serious side effect, I don’t think I could handle it. RA is enough for me. I know I’m not treating the damage but I feel like that stuff is like injecting poison. I’m so happy for everyone whom it has helped, truly. But we each must make decisions that are right for us. The only way to know is to give it a try love. Wishing you success and gentle hugs (( )). BTW: I only take Extra strength Tylenol and when the pain is too much I take a percocet.

Nancy – I have been taking Methotrexate for 18 years. Still working full time. No serious gastrointestinal problems. Still have a head full of hair. It works for me.

Elizabeth – I started on the Methotrexate since I was told that it many times better addresses the inflammation of RA. My rheumy has mentioned starting me on Plaquenil but so far hasn’t done that. I did have some side effects to begin with with the Methotrexate …but it leveled off after 2 mo. or so. Be sure with that that you also have your rheumy prescribe Folic Acid!!

Kelly – I’ve been taking Methotrexate for over 20 yrs now with no problems. I’ve found that the combination of Methotrexate and plaquenil work very well for me. I do take other medication as well, but the plaquenil or Methotrexate on their own didn’t work as well as both together. Good luck!

Lynna – Was on Methotrexate a short time since I had side effects…mainly lost 1/2 my hair volume and major nausea…now on Orencia, Plaquenil, & Mobic…which allows me to continue working. Good Luck! Ten year survivor!

Cheryl – You will be faced with various medication decisions over the years and what works for others may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to try something for a while and if it doesn’t work you can change. I used Mtx for three years and it worked but eventually I had to quit it and change to something else. Plaquenil works for many people but I could not take it because it caused me to have side effects. You can do this! Read everything you can and ask your rheumatologist questions if you have them.

Sharon – I take Plaquenil for my RA and have on and off for 7 years now. One draw back to Plaquenil is it takes 3 months to get completely in your system and get the most benefits from it. So if you are in a full flare up with major pain, this is not the medication for you. I use it to control the mine flare ups I have now from October to may. Then go off it for the summer months.

Melissa – I started off on Methotrexate and prednisone. Which took away mainly all of my symptoms almost immediately. I stopped the prednisone and Methotrexate alone was working well. Then after 5 weeks on it I developed pneumonia out of the blue in the middle of summer. I was afraid it was too strong for me and my rheumy let me switch to plaquenil. I’ve been on it alone 4 months now and so far, so good. It’s hard to tell because I was not in a flare when starting it and so far have not had any flares. The only side effects of plaquenil were stomach issues the first 3 days or so and crazy dreams the first 2 months bit that has went away too. I agree with you. Start mild and save the stronger meds for later if needed. Good luck.

Tammy – Hmm, I was told Plaquenil was “milder” than Methotrexate . They started me on that first, but I developed a rash from it so I had to take Methotrexate . Been on it for 7+ years and am hoping I don’t have to go to the DMARDs.

Shelley – Jennifer I agree with you and it’s as if you read my mind except I haven’t tried the Methotrexate drug yet, too scared and my hair is super thin on top and can’t lose my hair plus all the other side effects. I know each person is different, but its a harsh drug and I am only 41. I have been on Plaq twice and didn’t do anything for me. Nervous about losing my color vision was on my mind with that one but I stayed on it for two years and got my eyes checked twice a year. My RA but me on Gabapetin at night for my Fibromyalgia and that has been a blessing. He increased my Effexor for pain but that doesn’t help. Down south here they don’t like giving narcotics at all. I have been put on Mobic and see how that does. My past RA wanted to put me on the Sulfz drug but i didn’t go that route. when I move back home thinking about seeing a Natural Path Doc and see what they say. Best of luck sweetie. (Pain free hugs your way).

Sandra – I’ve taken both & the methotrexate by far worked better for me. The plaquenil can take up to 6 months to even start working.

Felicia – I took Methotrexate for years until I couldn’t take the stomach sickness any more. Now I take Humira and areva, doing much better

Patty – Just started Methotrexate –I waited til after the holidays, too, mostly cuz you can’t drink while on it, apparently! I have been avoiding Methotrexate for a couple of years, but now the RA is so bad that I will try anything! I wish us both (all) luck!

Michelle – I second Tammy’s comments above. My rheumy said Plaquenil is a much milder drug than the others; she uses it to supplement my other meds. I take Methotrexate , plaquenil, and Enbrel. I do have nausea on some days but no joint pain at all.

Cindy – I started on Methotrexate then added plaquenil as the Methotrexate was not helping enough. Eventually I had to stop taking the Methotrexate because of blood cell counts that were off. It was working pretty good though. I am now self injecting Simponi for a year and it has not been working well for a few months. Still on plaquenil and folic acid, and quite a few others as I have Fibromyalgia too.

Linda – I take methotrexate and plaquenil and don’t have any stomach problems. My doc says I will be on plaquenil forever. My blood work numbers look good now but I still have pain and stiffness.

Mary – I am only on the plaquenil, and it took about 5 months to kick in. I haven’t noticed much about pain management, but the swelling is down and my feet are a size smaller. I tried the mtx without any benefits, just problems with the liver. I also tried enbrel and humira without any results.

Raeanna – I took both at the same time. It made my stomach a little queasy. I still take it along with Norel. It does take a whole for it to get into your system. Start taking it now, so u can get some relief sooner.

Julie – I am on Methotrexate and prednisone. The only side effects I have with Methotrexate is when I first started taking it, I would be a tiny bit nauseous for a day or two on the day of the week I took it. Sometimes I get a slight headache on the day I took it also. Methotrexate is a lifesaver for me. It keeps me from being in horrible pain all the time, and it also keeps me from being tired all the time. I haven’t had any bad side effects from it. I wouldn’t go on Plaquenil because the side of effect of blindness scared the heck out of me.

Nicole – Each person reacts differently to Methotrexate …it made me very sick to my stomach….I also tried the injectable version of Methotrexate (supposed to be easier on the tummy) just remember it was used as chemo (or still is) your hair may fall out and you may feel the side effects I felt….with a 3 yr old and a 3 month old the first time you take it I would make sure you have help on hand and take it at night just in case….most docs recommend you take Methotrexate with any medicine for RA to help slow the progression…I have tried it all and now am at the point I only get an Orencia infusion once every 4 weeks the rest makes me sick or does nothing for me…the one med that didn’t make me sick and is supposed to be a good supplement is Imuran you might ask about that good luck…I’m here if you ever have any questions as well I’m sure all of us are…whine cry whatever you need

Becky – I have been taking Methotrexate and prednisone for years 2 years . My RA has been severe, both meds have helped but I have damage in my ankles that has caused me to have to wear prosthetic braces and still maybe some surgery. The mtx made me very sick and my Dr switched me from pills to injections which still made me sick. Once my body got use to the drug it doesn’t effect me at all now. I also take remicade infusions every six weeks. It is working well for me.

Liz – I’ve been on Methotrexate for 15 yrs. and haven’t had any problems. I take Orencia self injection weekly. In the past I’ve been on Humira, Enbrel, Arava, Leflunimide, Plaquenil, Prednisone. Plaquenil gave me bad headaches and really affected my vision. At this point I’m not sure the combination of meds I’m on is working anymore, have been in real bad pain and nothing seems to help. It may also be my fibromyalgia. See my Rheumy next week, lets see what happens. Best of luck to you; try and stay away prednisone, I put on lots of weight, use only foe flare ups.

Amanda – Methotrexate made me very sick, my hair started falling out, and I had sores on my arms (BUT, every medication is different with everyone) — Now I take Humira and Sulfasalazine, plus prednisone.

Mindy – You honestly cant judge your decision based on what others say! They put me in Humira from the start, it nearly killed me…seriously!! I now have permanent nerve damage from it. However Lots of people take it and love it! I take Sulfasalazine & gabapentin and it works…no I’m not pain free but I can function! I refuse to take Methotrexate , I lost a ton of hair on Sulfasalazine in the beginning, my stomach hurt but all tolerable! I also lean on God, a lot!! There is no medicine without side effects…not even Tylenol! Good luck & God Bless!

Janet – I took Methotrexate for several years and I lost a lot of my hair and had some other slighter side effects. I am currently taking Arava, Plaquenil, & Methoprednisonal. I have taken about everything at one time or another. I think it all depends on your body and what it needs to work for you! Good luck with whatever you try.

Rhonda – I take Methotrexate . 8 a week.. Not really any side affects besides a little hair loss . Not working though.. At dr at the moment to discuss adding a IV of some sort. Wish me luck! I hurt everyday. . Would love to have a pain free day . Haven’t had that in a while… Like two years

Fiona – My daughter has been taking Methotrexate since she was 3 for stills disease, she’s 12 now but now she may have problems with her liver as her bloods have come back haywire… A bit worried as here in uk we don’t have much alternative

Patricia – I was on Methotrexate & Plaquenil with Humira when I was 1st dx with RA 3 yrs ago. I had no bad side effects, except that my hair was falling out. My Rheumy took me off the Methotrexate & Plaquenil. I only take Humira every other week & Prednisone daily & I’ve been in remission for 20 months already. The last time I was to my Rheumy was Oct 2012 & he doesn’t want to see me til April 2013. I am so blessed that I feel so good. I hope I stay this way!!

Kayla – I started on plaquenil and it made me so sick I lost 30 lbs in less than 2 months. No major issues since I switched to Methotrexate , just initial fatigue and headaches

Kelly – I take plaquenil and it does work for me. I was on Methotrexate too and it was too hard on me. I had many side effects that out weighed the benefits. Just see what works for you! We are all different with our meds. Best wishes honey!

Debbie – Plaquenil is my hero!

Patricia – I took methotrexate as my first treatment 8 years ago with little help ,the side effects, though different with everyone were great with me but the loss of hair was bothersome and with little relief my doc started me on enbrel .This med was wonderful, I had a lot of good happening but I developed frequent sinus infections so was taken off. I started simponi and was on this med for about a year and started it with mtx as well, I developed uti s frequently and had hearing issues resulting in tinnitus from the mtx. I was then placed on humira with no help . Side effects are my best results it seems. I now am on cimzia with cymbalta for generalized pain and take Tramadol for pain two times per day. Asa cream to joints and alo voltaran cream to my neck. I have AS. as well as osteo. I am hoping to maintain this med regime now ….never know what will work for you. Everyone’s different. Good luck with your treatment.I live with pain everyday, but if the level can be less its a win!!

Sally – I started on Methotrexate , but had a lot of side effects so came off it after 6 months. Been on plaquenil for a year & feeling better but still flaring if I push myself too much ( like ironing anything more than 2 items!)

Debi – I am on Methotrexate & Plaquenil for 4 yrs now. NO serious side effects, stomach gets a little upset but my joints don’t hurt. I’ve had to go up in dose lately 7 pills for Methotrexate . Everyone is different, what might work for one might not work for you. I want to stay on meds that will cause the least damage but help with the joint pain and will keep my joints from becoming damaged. Try it out if it doesn’t work for you switch up.

Heather – I find Methotrexate works better than plaquenil. I think the main problem with mtx is it causes nausea, but your doctor can give you folic acid and compazine to counteract that.

MaryColleen – Plaquenil helped my skin clear up. I had a butterfly looking rash on my face a few years ago and the doctor thought I had lupus, but I think everything was just so inflamed from my joints, my skin wanted in on the action. Anyhow, it worked on my inflamed skin and feeling like a pad of melting butter half the time and it did help my joints, but after a while it didn’t do it’s thing anymore and I started to heat up again.

Mary – I started out on plaquenil, but after a while it just wasn’t working. Switched to methotrexate without a problem. Stayed on methotrexate for over 6 years….never had any concerns. I took extra good care of my liver (very little alcohol….lots of milk thistle). It worked well for me!

Robin – I took Plaquenil years ago with no relief. My second RA doctor recommended stronger meds early on to get the RA in remission and to prevent joint damage. I am having good results on Orencia self inject and Methotrexate . Your specialist is key in your treatment. Hopefully he/she is someone that will take the time to talk to you about your concerns. I wish you the best in health for the new year.

Carol – I’m sure I can’t add much to the list of good advice above. I’ve been on Methotrexate for over 20 years, first in oral form and now in injectible form. It’s a good, solid, first-line medication that works well for many, many patients. I also put off taking it for a long time because I was afraid of it. My rheumy didn’t push and waited for me to come around, which I eventually did. Methotrexate didn’t totally take away my flares (which happened about twice a year and in times of high stress), but it slowed down how fast and viciously they struck, giving me time to get in to the rheumy before things got out of control. After adding enbrel to the Methotrexate a few years ago, I haven’t had a bad flare since. Plaquenil didn’t do much for me, but every patient is different and it works for a lot of people. Oral Methotrexate side effects can lessen over time; if you have initial hair fallout, it may not be bad and eventually grows back. I never lost my hair. My only lingering side effect was nausea if I didn’t take it with enough food. Now that I’m on injectible I have virtually no nausea. Enbrel has had zero side effects for me, though I did switch to the crystallized, self-mixed form of it because it doesn’t sting. Methotrexate doesn’t sting at all. Drink lots and lots of water the day before, day of, and day after your mtx dose – it may help with the side effects. And take extra folic acid on your non-Methotrexate days. Good luck!!

Pete – I take Methotrexate and enbrel. It works

Melissa – I used to take plaquenil and it worked great for me. I was on it for about 6 years. And then one day it just stopped working and the arthritis spread all through my body. I hate methotrexate! It was awful!! It made my my eyeballs hurt soooo bad. I had to wear sunglasses when using the computer, because it made my eyes hurt so bad. It felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head. And also, it made my hair fall out like crazy. I don’t care how much pain I”m ever in, I refuse to sacrifice my hair for pain relief.

Pamela – I actually started plaquenil first saw some improvement after 6 weeks. I have progressive RA so eventually methotrexate and enbrel were added. But plaquenil is a good place to start

Amy – I take both. But my RA has been a challenge. Methotrexate is a lil scary but I’ve had good luck for 19 years.

Freda – Methotrexate works !! it is a wonder drug for RA !! I couldn’t hardly walk and within 1 month I was feeling back to normal !! I have been on Methotrexate for 18 years !!

Bekah – I only take Plaquenil because of serious allergy issues to methotrexate…I have damage after five years that cannot be reversed…..We are currently looking into other methods that I can do but I have no medical insurance and the gov’t hospital i attend for my RA and Lupus does not cover you with biologics…Its a very serious issue for me..I wish you the best..

Heather – I have taken methotrexate for a little over a year. I was quite scared to start on it, and I still don’t like taking it, but for me, it’s a difference in walking and enjoying life, or being pretty much home bound and using a cane. I chose taking the meds for the quality of life. I take a different anti inflammatory med.. Prior to the methotrexate, it really didn’t make much of a difference. You have to choose what feels right for you. I encourage you to put some trust in your Rheumatologist. RA is scary no matter what meds you take or don’t take. I have found my Rheumatolgist to be the one person who truly understands what I am going through and is there to help.

Tasha – Plaquenil has been the only medication I’ve taken for 3 years but when it seemed to stop working so Dr suggested stronger meds. I DO NOT want to start the trend of adding meds on top of meds and never knowing what med is actually working. Very frustrating. So, I decided to change my diet… No meat, no sugar, and no complex carbs. Pineapple every morning and kale everyday. It WORKED! I am still taking plaquenil with no flare ups. Before I changed my diet I was in pain everyday and had to stop working out, running, and I was getting depressed. you will find what works for you.

Carol – I’ve taken Methotrexate for 13 years, have never had a problem.

Kameron – Thank you all so much for your comments and help. You’ve really helped me in making my decision. I think starting the methotrexate will be the best thing for me and my family for now. What time of the day do you recommend taking it? Again thank you all I really appreciate you guys sharing your experiences

Regina – One drug may work for one person where it may not work for someone else. Sometimes the cons of the Med outweigh the odds. If your doctor recommended Methotrexate I’d take it just to see how it works. You can always go off it and try something else.

Andrea – Plaquenil was the solution for me. I stayed nauseous and overall felt worse on Methotrexate than I did before the meds, hence, defeated the entire purpose. Some people can handle the Methotrexate , but I couldn’t. Plaquenil works great for me, just beware of the horrible gas it gives you.

Robin – I am on Plaquenil and Methotrexate . It works for my Lupus and RA

Jan – Took Methotrexate until my liver didn’t like it so much, now on Plaquenil and it does absolutely nothing to help. I had no side effects at all from Methotrexate other than my hair thinning. Arava is also an option for some.

Pat – Methotrexate made me sick, I felt the quality of life leave me and my hair also started falling out. I now take enbrel and it works 50/50 now and I need to find something else. Good luck

Deborah – Methotrexate has been my life saver. I was having a problem working, walking, just functioning with pain and swelling but since I’ve been on methotrexate I am doing much better. You do have to keep check on your liver and limit your drinking alcohol to as little as possible.

Callie – I have a 3 yr. old and a 5 week old. I am currently a stay at home mom. I was diagnosed after the birth of baby#1 so in order to have baby#2 I was very limited on what I could take. I started plaquenil a month or two before I got pregnant. I didn’t notice any changes in my flare until I was about 4 months along. For about 3 weeks I felt great and then everything went down hill after that. I was one of the minority of women who did not go into remission during pregnancy. It was the worse I’ve ever felt in my life and every month it got worse. I could have gone on prednisone 5 mg while pregnant but I was already feeling guilty I was exposing the baby to plaquenil. I’ve had problems breastfeeding so now that I’m not giving her breast milk I’m going to have to look at more meds as I don’t think the plaquenil is working now. I might add prednisone 10 mgs every other day and/or something stronger than ibuprofen, which is the only other thing I can take besides the plaquenil. I would go in baby steps and maybe add something to the plaquenil if it’s not working after a few months before you jump to something else. Methotrexate scares me.

LaToya – I used to take Methotrexate for 4 years but recently got tired of the constant itching and red rashes I would often get but it does really depend on the person because one of my old co workers was on it for years for Lupus an she never had side effects but it only worked when taken with other meds like Humira or Remicade but I was taking it with Rituxan which I’m still on but I also tired Plaquenil an had to go to the emergency room for serious rashes and itching but I would just say try it for yourself because they both work it just depends on if the side effects out weigh the pain an how much you can bare but good luck!

Jessica – It really depends on the person that is taking it…everyone reacts different. I choose to deal with the illness over the side-effects..My doctor put me on both Methotrexate and Plaquenil..I had a shingles outbreak within two weeks. I had internal shingles for a year before it finally disappeared. I’m not trying to scare you..that’s just reality. What works for one doesn’t the may have great results from it. Needless to say, I am terrified to take any other meds because of the shingles I had…and the doctor actually is on my side about it. Anyway that is what happened to me.

Joann – I take plaquenil for lichen Planus-( mouth) which I got cuz of my cidp . It works for me but must take every day-no side effects here . Good luck girl

Deborah – I have been on mtx for 5 yrs, no side affect a all, like Jess said, everyone is different, good luck and god bless us all

Shelly – Methotrexate is my best friend and enemy. It has reduced my pain to a manageable state (I can move!) but, I do have a couple days of a “hangover” after my dose which is no fun. However luckily, I do not suffer from nausea or any other side effects (even at 20 mg which is my dose). I also find that it wears off before my next dose. My rheumatologist just added Humira because Methotrexate hasn’t been cutting it alone. Though I understand your fears (I used to cry every time I took Methotrexate ), my advice would be to give it a try. Also, try not to excessively read/worry about side effects. Everyone responds differently and the majority do well with Methotrexate or it wouldn’t be prescribed. Best wishes!

Sharon – I’m on Plaquenil it was the first drug 15 years ago I was put on. Down the road I was put on Methotrexate and it ate up my liver so now I am back on the Plaquenil with Orencia! Good luck!!

Hjordis – I am on infusion medicine every six weeks and it works very well. It’s affects started to run out about 4-6 days before each injection so I was prescribed Methotrexate in small doses to take once a week as well. I took 2 pills once a week for 3 weeks and had to stop. I was absolutely sick from it. instead of being achy and tired a few days before me Remicade injections I was vomiting,dizzy, sores in my mouth and became incredibly swollen in all joints and crazy pain 3-4 days a week after taking it. I wish you the best of luck with finding the right medicine for you.

Chris – i have been on plaquenil for 4 years now, i do not have any side effects except itchy dry scalp, that may not be due to the drugs, just the ra. i am going to see the doctor this month because the plaquenil is not enough anymore, the swelling is coming back in my hands and my wrist and elbows are very painful.


Debbie – I was on Methotrexate and Plaquenil together for many years, had some hair loss and nausea in beginning, it’s been 19 yrs., not on Plaquenil, I am on Orencia, 2 weeks now. Methotrexate alone does not work for me, never has.

Karyn – When first diagnosed my Rheumy gave me Plaquinel, it worked fine for about a year: I then started on Methotrexate and Humira for another year, had to advance to Remicade & Methotrexate ; built up a sensitivity to Remicade and switched to Orencia. Still on Methotrexate too. I do get the foggy head feeling but it is worth being able move and function pretty normally every day! Try what you want but be open to having to change meds as your disease will progress or stay in remission differently than anyone else’s! Good luck

Irene – take the plaquenil stay away from the Methotrexate , orencia is good !

Debi – I have been taking 3 pills once a week for years of Methotrexate . I do not get sick from it but I go off of it when I get the flu, cold, etc. I also take Humira injections twice a month. this combo works well for me but I am getting a blood test to ck. my liver every 6 weeks. Also, I used to be on a way higher dose and I cut it down. Prednisone works for me when I have a flare but I don’t take it everyday. Good luck. You need to ask the questions like you are doing and talk to your Dr. about your concerns. He knows the side effects and long term problems.

Kelly – My Dr wanted to go right to Methotrexate but after reading up on all the possible side effects I didn’t want any part of it. I started plaquinel 2 yrs ago and what a blessing it has been!!! Had little nausea at first but take the pill in a divided dose now without problems. go low first in my opinion,, if that doesn’t work, then move up to different… good luck!!!

Latausha – I refuse to take Methotrexate anymore my stomach was always upset and my hair was brittle now I’m on Remicade every 8 weeks& a low dose of steroids hope U find something that works!

Alicea – Gave me migraines. Plaquinel, that is. I use enbrel.

Staci – I’ve been on Methotrexate for over a year now with no serious side effects. I was very concerned because I had heard the horror stories of losing hair, gaining weight etc. Thankfully I’ve not experienced any of that. I do also take Mobic & a weekly Enbrel injection.

Teresa – I’ve been on Methotrexate , Plaquenil & low dose prednisone for 5 years now. Mild hair loss, occasional weird dreams (Mtx), but no other really bad side effects. Will flare sometime, then increase my steroids a little. Works for me. Get my blood checked every 3 months.

Joyce – I’ve had both and didn’t have side effects with either. IMHO, take the strongest meds to stop the progression of the disease. You want to stop the damage RA can do to your body.

Lori – I take both, Methotrexate and Plaquenil as well as voltaren and Enbrel. I have been very lucky to not have any problems with the meds. Also on Tramadol for pain

Denise – I would sleep for 48 hours after each dose, and my liver didn’t like it at all. I’m on humira now,.doing OK I guess…

Jennifer – Plaquenil worked well for me

Christine – I took both but then he changed everything around.

Stephanie – I took Methotrexate and it was wonderful. I never had any side effects . After I got my flares under control I switched to plaquinel and it did the job as well. The only bad thing I have to say on plaquinel is that it takes 3-6 months to build in your system before it starts working. If you can stand the wait I loved it.

Tanya – I have been on Methotrexate since being diagnosed (3 yrs) also take plaquenil and sulfasalazine. Did take my stomach a couple of months to get used to Methotrexate , but fine now and no other side effects. I am almost symptomless at moment so will reduce dose of Methotrexate slightly and see how I get on.

Audrey – I took Methotrexate and it made my liver bad so had to come off but my friend has been on it for ten years and a is well with her good luck

Kylie – I have been on plaquenil for 2 years now, August this year my dosage was halved and I now control my RA with diet, please Google grain free diet, I have only had 1 or 2 minor flare ups since June, also Google cellgevity, it’s a natural inflammatory supplement.

Nina – I have been on methotrexate for five years and I have to tell you it has been one of the most agreeable medicines I have taken and I have taken A LOT. I did experience pretty extreme nausea at the start of methotrexate but that went away when I upped my folic acid. Your doc will give you a prescription for both together–folic acid helps with the nausea!!! good luck!

Anna – I take Methotrexate and plaquenil i have taken for years,all meds have side effects to some point,i would do as your doctor suggested, and give it a try for at least three months to see how you feel on it, then if it doesn’t suit you have your doctor try the other,Good luck on any decision you make,,((((pain free hug))))))

Jacci – I have been on plaquenil since I was diagnosed (22 yrs) without an problems. I was also on Methotrexate for ten yrs., it caused liver damage now I’m off of it. Also on Remicade every six weeks. RA changes and you have to make changes along with it. Good Luck!!

Sherry – I tried plaquenil and it didn’t help at all. All it did was permanently mess up my eyesight. I have been on methotrexate for 5 years and it has worked. I am no longer bed-ridden.

Susanita – i been on Methotrexate from august…….take it in a positive way…some getting better some not…its very individual…the Ra makes you tired…the Methotrexate puts you a little down…but just don’t forget to take acid folic….calcium-aloe Vera…some good tea…and the day you have your Methotrexate shot take a rest… breast feeding….

Stephanie – I hate methotrexate, but I hate it less than joint damage. I’m only 27 and have had RA for 23 years…I’m hoping to keep avoiding surgeries and keep working! With kids, you need to view it as avoiding joint damage so that you can be there for them. Unfortunately, you also have to look at the side effects. Stay on top of your labs, but do what you need to do to stop the pain.

Robin – Methotrexate for 5 years Cimzia for 2. I walk 2 miles daily and haven’t had a surgery for a while lol. No problems at all, do injections and I am on 25 mg. weekly. No side effects to speak of, they pretty much went away after the first year (or else I got used to them). Thin hair but I can live with that.

Tara – I’d kick it hard with the Methotrexate first then if it calms down (make take a few years) you could try to go the milder route. I personally take Cimzia only and LOVE it.

Betsie – Methotrexate made me so sick I switched to Plaquinel and have had no problems since.

Sherri – I’ve been on Methotrexate and Plaquenil together for years w/ no problems. Also on Enbrel. It’s the recent addition of Prednisone for persistent feet pain that I don’t like taking.

Cheryl – I tried Plaquenil and the Dr told me there is a rare, so rare I don’t even want 2 tell u but I have 2, tiny, tiny chance of a reaction that causes a full body rash. He’s like I have never had anyone have the reaction. Ok so no big deal. Yeah right. I actually got the full body rash. The worst part is that it was helping. So frustrating. I’m in a clinical study, it help but it’s still a problem. I also have fibro and other issues. 1 issue seems 2 in flair the other.

Gayle – I take Methotrexate in the evening so as to sleep through any sick feelings that I might get. Although, I only felt sick on the first couple of doses and not since then. I also take enbrel once a week and this combination has returned me to a normal person! I can’t believe how awesome this combo has worked for me. Good luck.

Katie – I was on plaquenil and simponi for the last 2 years until recently I went off because I’m pregnant. Thy are the magical combination for me started plaquenil first it worked really good but needed something else to wipe out the test of the symptoms. I was on Arava before that drug combo and didn’t like it because of the toxicity, if you aren’t comfortable with it go with your gut and search for another drug therapy combination…..remember you are your best care advocate:)

Kathy – I was on Methotrexate Plaquenil combo…worked OK…Lupus..RA..Fibro all bite..but as with anything that is life altering you have to weight it all out..and keep on top of your labs…I’m off most everything now. Trying to manage to keep my liver and eyesight..and sanity..the sanity is the hardest…good luck everyone..hugs

Cyndi – I have been ON ONLY it for 5 years and worked very well – very economical. As with all meds – I have days that are not good. I say it was as good as Remicade for me and far less expensive

Nikki – Methotrexate made me go bald on top of my head 3 times I lost my hair. I stopped taking it 4 yrs ago thank god. My hair is long and beautiful again. And it made me sick everyday.
Jennifer – I have been on both drugs – starting with the plaquenil about 4 years ago and then added the methotrexate 2 years ago. No major side effects other than nausea and occasional fungal infections. Both drugs are just maintaining my RA – not getting better or worse. I still have lots of pain so I take mobic as well every day.

Nikki – Now I take Enbrel once a week and diclofenac 75 mg a day and prednisone 5 mg a day along with gabapentin at night 100 mg and my GERD med lanszoprazole 30 mg in the morning and then if I get break through pain I can take Tramadol 50 to 100 mg or oxycodone 5 mg or 10 but they r gross. And flexeril 10 mg or Somas 350 mg for my muscle spasms. But I only take the first 5 meds mainly. (-;

Gayle – I take 9- once a week. I have had no problems at all. I have been taking it for the last 15 years. I have been fine. I took Tramadol and it did nothing for me. Oxycodone worked for me for pain pretty good.

Susanne – i am on both plaquenil & Methotrexate – they both do enough for me – I’m waiting to see my rheumy in two weeks to find out whats next…..unfortunately it takes 12 weeks to feel the full effect of any new medication….Meth was a great drug for me several years back – have been on Plaquenil for over two years now and Meth for the last 4 months – just gotta give anything a go to get mobile again – good luck hun – i believe the side effects outweigh being able to move again and find some normality in life

Michele – I started on plaquenil and after 6 months added methotrexate. The main side effect was nausea which tapered off after a few months. I did have mild hair loss which also stopped after a couple of months. We the had to add Remicade to the mix along with lots of other meds. After 7 years I’m still hanging in there. Just trust yourself to know what’s best-and don’t get hung up on reading all the literature. Good luck!

Tammy – I started on plaquenil for the first 3 months. It didn’t do much of anything. Rheumy added Methotrexate soon after, but I have had to increase my weekly pills to 8. The right dosage has not been found for me yet; I was diagnosed 2/2012.

Ellen – Plaquenil made my heart jump so I switched to sulfsalazine EC. I’ve taken Methotrexate for 14 years off and on. At first Methotrexate made me extremely tired. Now it doesn’t bother me. I’ve gone Vegan, very low fat, and my energy has increased greatly. Good luck. I’m so sorry you have to go through this.

Lindsey – Both have their pros and cons… Plaquenil can cause eye damage so it is important to get yearly retinal exams. Methotrexate can cause liver damage if you consume alcohol in excess or other illicit substances. I was started on Plaquenil at first and it helped a bit but I didn’t become “functional” until I was put on Methotrexate in combination with Plaquinel, Methotrexate , and Enbrel. Now I’m off the Plaquenil and just the Methotrexate and Enbrel. If your doc thinks Methotrexate is the best option it probably is. I went through months of pain waiting to see if the Plaquinel would be enough and ended up on Methotrexate anyway. Just remember with both you have to take care of yourself, with this disease you have to take care of yourself. The terminal goal is to prevent immediate progressive joint damage. Good luck in your choice!

Kate – I have been on Methotrexate for 5 years, no side effects, liver doing well, still have some flare ups now and then but it has been a god send for me, I have been able to lead a normal life, but everyone is different, what suits one may not be any good for someone else.

Tracey – When i finally got diagnosed in march 2012 i was put on methotrexate (initially 6 now 8 once a week) & plaquenil (1 a day) I was also put on prednisone for long enough for the methotrexate to kick in. Have extra folic acid over 3 days leading up to methotrexate dose. Very few problems walking now, but dose increased due to problems still going on with right arm and hand. DAS dropped from 4.96 to 4.56 in 9 months. I gather it’s normal routine in UK to start on med in this way. Bloods are monitored monthly eventually but fortnightly to start with. They hope to prevent damage to joints this way and kick it into remission ideally. Hate the sick feeling i get on methotrexate night but it wears off once body adjusts. Keeps me working so i can pay my bills and keep benefit cheats idle!!! Good luck.

Eva – In my experience, the Rheumys always start with the older meds (like Methotrexate and Plaqu) to give it a try. Also most insurances won’t pay for the newer more expensive $$$$$$$$$$$$ biologicals until the patients try the old stuff. Good luck girl!
Sue – I take mtx, sulfasalazine and cimzia. Been working but recently caught cold and Rheum said to stop taking meds until feeling better. Now not sure whether to restart because although I feel better still have little cough. Any suggestions?

Carolyn – I’ve been taking Methotrexate and Prednisone for 2 years now, they had to increase the Methotrexate but the pain is gone, but I’ve been getting a little sick on the stomach. But I feel really good, sometimes I forget I have RA. Good Luck! Keeping it Together with an Autoimmune Disease Many find better results with two or three DMARDs. I take Sulfasalazine and Methotrexate . If you can afford it/insurance will cover it, request a Vectra DA test. It will give your rheumy a better idea of which DMARDs/biologics will work best for you.

Jenny – Just read this and not sure if this will help but Plaquenil when I first got diagnosed and it work great for anoint 5 years. No side effects, and when I was on a flare doc added Prednisone and that help. This last flare I’m going through is more difficult so they gave me Methotrexate and got so sick with the first dose I can’t never take again. To me the drug is so scary but that’s what most doctors use. So now trying Sufasalazine with more or less little relieve. But is all about how your body reacts to see if a drug is OK for you. I would give Plaquenil a try first though. Good luck

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The above is a discussion created by a member and with member generated responses from our Facebook community ( put into a format so that the discussion can be archived for future answers needed by others in a searchable format while keeping member anonymity. Member provided information, statements and opinions do not reflect on or all individuals with Autoimmune Arthritis. We encourage all members to seek professional medical advice for any specific questions and concerns as this does not substitute competent medical care.

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  • Ashley

    May 27, 2015, 3:01 pm

    I take 400 mg of Plaquenil, 20mg of Arava, 10 mg of the Methotrexate once weekly, and 7 mg of prednisone. It took months of trial for my doctor to find this cocktail but so far it’s working. I don’t notice too many side effects. I rather be tired and nauseas and able to walk, dress, and bathe myself any day tho. I think you’ll see the benefits way out weigh the side effects. Best of luck.

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