|Is the sulfasalazine working?|
Sulfasalazine is the most recent drug he has given me. It certainly made a difference to start with, but I can't tell if it's still doing anything that the rest of the drugs wouldn't do.
Dr K's solution?
I have to stop taking sulfasalazine for a month. If I get sick, I should start it again and see if it makes a difference. If I don't get sick, that's one drug I can take out of my cocktail.
Like most drugs for lupus, sulfasalazine was developed to treat something completely different. In this case the completely different thing was Crohn's disease. Dr K had thought it would help with my gut symptoms as well as my other lupus symptoms. He'd initially suggested that if it worked really well, I might be able to eat gluten and lactose again.
It never worked quite that well. I still had reflux when I ate or drank anything with lactose, and still had irritable bowel whenever I ate gluten... so that didn't help a lot. But it had initially seemed to help a bit with the general aches and pains and fatigue.
I've only stopped taking it for a couple of days - so far I haven't really noticed any difference. So maybe the rest of the drugs in my cocktail are enough without it.
But it leaves me with the question - is there any way to know which drugs are working and which are just surplus to need, without taking the risk of stopping a drug that might turn out to be very important indeed? Apparently, Dr K couldn't think of any.
So much of lupus treatment seems to be trial and error, with a treatment that makes a huge difference for one person either not helping or making things worse for another person. It's one of the many frustrations of living with an unpredictable and frustrating disease.