What It's Like When Your New Medications Don't Work


Another four months, another disappointment when the labs have shown the new medication you’ve been dealing with for three to four months isn’t improving your condition. Yet you’ve endured all those months of horrid side effects and hopes of feeling better only to be disappointed yet again. This seems to be the repetitive cycle I cannot seem to escape.

For the last four years I’ve seen my rheumatologist every four months, and every four months there is a new medication to try because the previous one doesn’t do anything or only causes harm to another organ as a side effect, so even if it is helping I can’t continue because it’s harming me in another way. This cycle is draining not only physically but mentally and not to mention financially!

It can be depressing when your searching for that one medication to make you feel somewhat normal to only feel horrible from side effects then to hear the doctor tell you that there has been no improvement so we must move on to another medication. You feel as though you’ve wasted not only four months of your life, but also four months of feeling awful from added side effects put on top of the symptoms you’ve already been having. It can start to feel as though you have no hope, no medication is going to make the pain subside when all you want is some relief, and to feel somewhat normal for even just a day.

Oftentimes it’s so mentally and physically draining that I have to take breaks from the start of a new medication just to get myself in the right state of mind again to feel as though there is hope for continuing, and to let my body recoup from the side effects from the previous medication. This is usually a good four weeks. Then it’s back to the wait-and-see and hope-and-pray phase, praying that you start to feel better and hoping those next labs are improving!

It can sometimes start to feel overwhelming, but really, what choice do I have? I cannot stop trying — that will do me no good, and my loved ones no good. I just keep going, keep trying and hoping that the next medication will work, that I can find relief and hope for that somewhat normal life.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.