My Experience With Humira And LDN
Before being diagnosed with AS (and fibromyalgia), I was the type of person who would only take medication if I felt it was absolutely, undoubtedly necessary. The idea of popping pills into my body just never sat right with me, but that all changed when the pain from my AS became completely intolerable. I was willing to do whatever it took to feel some sort of normalcy.
On the day of my diagnosis, my doctor said he wanted to start me on Humira. I knew what Humira was and what risks were involved because I had been researching AS for months, even though I didn’t have a diagnosis. I was 100% game. I did experience one small set back, which I will talk about in a later article, but I was able to start the Humira two weeks later.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and painless the Humira injections were. The first change I noticed from Humira was that my fatigue and brain fog had improved tremendously. The pain took a little bit longer, but within the second and third months, the pains in my hips and SI joints were beginning to subside. As that pain simmered down, I began to be able to differentiate my AS pain from a separate pain I had that ran through my legs and arms. This was definitely not AS pain, so I set up an appointment with my doctor.
Fibromyalgia and more medication
My doctor knew right off the bat that I had also developed fibromyalgia. I wasn’t surprised as I had a lot of symptoms that didn’t fully line up with AS. That day, he started me on Cymbalta. Whew. I have never experienced side effects like what I had that night. Hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, it was the absolute worst. Needless to say, we decided that one wasn’t going to be an option. We moved on to Lyrica, which also ended up being a flop.
Low-dose Naltrexone (LDN) for ankylosing spondylitis
At the time, a friend of mine had just been prescribed LDN for fibromyalgia by her functional medicine doctor. Neither one of us had heard of it, but when she told me about it I was instantly intrigued.
What is LDN?
LDN stands for low-dose Naltrexone.1 According to an article published by Medscape, Naltrexone given in 50 mg tablet doses is used to treat opioid and alcohol dependency. It’s been found that given in microdoses (1.5-12 mg) it actually works as an anti-inflammatory agent in the central nervous system.1 After reading up on it, I decided to give my doctor a call and see if maybe this could be an option for me.
To my surprise, my doctor was very well versed in the use of LDN and had many patients on it. She actually loved the idea of putting me on it, and for the first time in several months, I felt optimistic about something. LDN has to be specially compounded, so she sent my prescription to the nearest compounding pharmacy, and I was started on 3 mg daily.
My results with LDNLDN has been a total game-changer for me. Once I started it, I noticed major changes in my pain within a week. My AS pain had not been completely gone at this point, but the LDN seemed to relieve those lingering pains in my spine and hips, along with all the nerve pain I had. I can’t say that all of the pain is gone for good because I definitely still have flare-ups, but I feel as if I got a little bit more of my life back with the LDN.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?