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Two years and my joints have never been the same.

I was on Interferon and the pills that go with it two years ago. During my treatment, I developed inflammation in all my joints, knees, neck, ankles, back, ect, and severe pain (Continuous pain that even strong pain meds would not help). I was trying to tuff it out, but I finally told my doctor I could not continue treatment because I was in too much pain. I went to a rheumatologist that prescribed steroids and the inflammation finally went away, and the really severe pain stopped. But my joints have not been the same since. Of course its not the crippling pain I had, but it still feels like my joints are somehow damaged. For a little over a month now, my knee that hurt the worst during my treatment has had extra pain in it, especially after midday, and it feels stiff. I have also noticed some swelling an when I poke the "bubble of swelling" that is on my knee cap it feels like liquid. So now I have water on the knee. I am 31 years old so I am not old enough to really have problems like that. I am of normal weight as well, so that is not a factor. I have also never had any injuries besides the issues when taking the interferon. So I believe this is connected to the issues I had while taking the medicine. In addition, the past two winters I have had mostly toes and sometimes fingers turn completely white and be numb for 5-20 minutes at a time when I was outside or even just got chilly inside. This did not happen before I took the medicine either.
      My question is has anyone had these kind of problems? Or any information on what's going on with me? I am heading back to the doctor again soon, but they were pretty stumped in the first place. They did many tests, but still did not know why that had happened. I have read that it can give you autoimmune disorders, but I am sure they checked for that. I am in no way a medical professional, but here it what I think could have happened if it is possible(So please tell me if it is). Autoimmune disorders make your immune system attack things like the one that attacks hair follicles, or rheumatoid  arthritis attacks joints. So since the medicine super charges your immune system is in possible my immune system attacked my joints while I was on the medicine because it sure felt like something was attacking them. Please let me know your thoughts.
           Thank you,
                Laura
3 Responses
1815939 tn?1377991799
Many of us are predisposed to Autoimmune Diseases because we have genetic markers for Autoimmune Diseases. Interferon treatment can trigger Autoimmune Diseases in people who are predisposed to them.

It is quite possible that Interferon treatment has triggered an Autoimmune Disease in you.

In addition, Autoimmune Diseases often like to bring along there "friends." So, a person can have 2 or 3 or more different Autoimmune Diseases at the same time.

The episodes of your fingers and toes turning white and numb when exposed to cold sounds like Raynauds Disease.  Raynauds is an Autoimmune Disease.

http://www.raynauds.org/

The joint pain, stiffness, and swelling  could be some type of Autoimmune Arthritis such as Rheumatouid Arthritis or Psoriatic Arthritis or Sjogren's Arthritis. It could also be caused by another Autoimmune Disorder which has joint manifestations.  

This site will link you to articles about various Autoimmune Diseases (and verious types of Autoimmune Arthritis):

http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Rheumatoid-Arthritis

My suggestion is to see a good Rheumatologist at a large university affiliated medical center. They should be the most up to date on tests and treatments. The Rheumatologist should order many blood tests to test you for all Autoimmune Diseases (not just s few of them). It is the combination of tests that can point to different Autoimmune Diseases. If they don't order the blood tests and see the pattern, they will miss some possible diseases.

There are effective treatments for many Autoimmune Diseases so it is important to get a diagnosis and get appropriate treatment.


As to your hypothesis, yes, Interferon ramps up the immune system and it is the Interferon which causes most of the symptoms associated with treatment. While a person is taking Interferon the symptoms can be attributed to the Interferon. When treatment is over, the symptoms will disappear in most people. However, if the person has an underlying Autoimmune Disease or the Interferon treatment triggered an Autoimmune Disease, the symptoms will continue. In Autoimmune Diseases the body is attacking itself and the production of Interferon is ramped up (just like it was when we were taking Interferon). It is the ramped up production of Interferon that is causing many of the symptoms in Autoimmune Diseases. Of course, each Autoimmune Disorder has its own set of malfunctioning cells in the body, but they all have Interferon overproduction in common. Eventually, the part of the body being attacked will start to deteriorate, causing even more symptoms. That is a very simplified explanation, but Interferon is definitely one of the players in Autoimmune Diseases and their symptoms.


In my case, I have had Sjogren's Disease for many years although I was not officially diagnosed until a year after I finished Interferon treatment. However, I can attest to the fact that many of the symptoms of Sjogren's are the same as those of Interferon treatment (joint pain, aches, fatigue, etc.). When I have Sjogren's flares, it feels like I am back on Interferon treatment.

Best of luck going forward.
1 Comments
Pooh!  Great answer, thank you!
317787 tn?1473358451
After treatment I had lots of aches and pains.  I tried everything.  Poohs advice is excellent! I took her advice but did not have anything.  I think that tx takes a lot out of our body.
I found out that many of us are deficient in magnesium which can cause the aching and pains.  Then started Vitamin D again I was deficient.   I started looking foradditional  help for myself.  Someone on here spoke about a non inflammatory diet. Something called Paleo.  I started taking systemic enzymes.  Enzymes are an important part of our body.  I read that our guts are about 80% of our health, started taking probiotics. I also found a study that said interferon reduced our dopamine (feel good chemicals) levels.  I started taking L'Tyrosine.  The difference has been amazing.  It took me years to feel better, physically and mentally.  Unfortunately on the way I had normal/excessive speedbumps of life.  I had some idea that because I had HCV for 30 years that I would not have another bad thing happen in my life, ha ha  
I hope you can find something to help you
Avatar universal
Thank you.
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