Living with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease (UCTD) has been a journey of ups and downs, marked by resilience and adaptation. Recently, I took a significant step in my treatment plan by transitioning from methotrexate to Abatacept (Orencia). This change has brought forth new possibilities, while the path of adjustment comes with its own set of challenges.

Methotrexate: The Battleground of Side Effects

Methotrexate (MTX) is taken once a week, initially I took this four months at a low dose. Then it was increased to ‘maximum’ low dose of 20mg. Taking MTX was in addition to the daily dose of Hydroxychloroquine and steroids.

MTX was a constant presence in my life. While it aimed to tame the UCTD symptoms, its side effects often left me feeling run down the day before or after I took it and came with nausea and other GI issues; which led to stomach ulcer and to taking protein-pump inhibitor (PPI).

A relentless battle ensued between the few days relief and the toll that methotrexate took on my well-being: this from a drug that is considered the first-line of medication for connective tissue diseases like mine.

The Promise of Abatacept (Orencia): A Glimpse of Hope

The introduction of Abatacept, also known as Orencia, marks a new chapter in my UCTD journey. This biologic medication operates in a different manner than methotrexate. Abatacept targets the immune system’s cells responsible for triggering inflammation, offering the promise of reduced disease activity and symptom relief.

The Transition: A Bumpy Road of Adjustment

Transitioning from methotrexate to Abatacept has not been without its challenges. The process of weaning off one medication and introducing another requires patience and adjustment. While the potential benefits of Abatacept are promising, the transition period has come with its own set of trials.

As the switch in medications took place, my joint pains surged. The intensity of these pains has made it difficult to find solace in sleep on some nights. While this temporary worsening of symptoms is disheartening, it’s important to remember that adjusting to a new medication often involves hurdles before the benefits become evident.

Finding Light Amidst Change

Embracing change in the realm of UCTD treatment is both a leap of faith and a step toward hope. While the road ahead might be bumpy, the potential relief and better quality of life that Abatacept promises make the journey worthwhile. As I navigate through this transition, I hold onto the belief that, like all changes, this shall lead to a brighter chapter in my battle against UCTD.

Tags: UCTD Medication

Hello ...

If you found this useful please let know me … it’s encouragement to keep writing.

I write about my personal experience living with UCTD. I was diagnosed with UCTD in 2019 and one thing I have noticed is a lack of information specific to UCTD.

read more

Meet the author

Photo for Damien Saunders
Damien Saunders
An experienced management consultant and business leader interested in digital transformation, product centred design and scaled agile. If I'm not writing about living with UCTD (an autoimmune disease), I'm probably listening to music, reading a book or learning more about wine.