How often for lab testing for Humira and Enbrel

** Originally posted by tetons **

I am curious how often everyone goes to get lab work done when taking the Enbrel or Humira injections? My doctors likes for me to see him every 4-5 weeks and get labs done on the day I see him. Is this normal or too often or too ittle and does it vary by physician preference? The reason I am asking is that I talked to someone today who gets labs done once a year who is on Enbrel?

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** Originally posted by MikeK **

Hi Tetons,

I'm a little surprised to hear that there's a doctor out there who only orders lab work once a year for a patient who is on a biologic. That's very risky in my opinion. All of the biologics have potentially serious potential side effects associated with them. Most people experience little or no side effects, but every once in a while you read about someone who developed a serious health issue that may be related to a medication such as Entrel or MTX. Frequent blood work may seem like over kill, but in my opinion, frequent blood work can identify a problem sooner rather then later.

Just $0.02.

Mike

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** Originally posted by Shawnster **

When I first started Enbrel my labs were done every 4 weeks or so. After a while we eventually went to every 3 months, then every 6 months. Until the Dr. knows how your body is going to react to the medication frequent blood work is an important thing.

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** Originally posted by ericw10 **

When I first started Enbrel my labs were done every 4 weeks or so. After a while we eventually went to every 3 months, then every 6 months. Until the Dr. knows how your body is going to react to the medication frequent blood work is an important thing.

Exactly. A doc that knows his stuff will check you prior to starting the bio for a baseline. Then again after the first month to be sure its not wiping out your immunity completely as some people's white cell count drops dramatically. If all is well, then they will do it at the next follow-up which is 3 months. If all looks good again and you are stable, most will say every 6 months is sufficient.

But Mike is right, to go an entire year on a bio without monitoring blood levels is crazy. If my doc ever suggested that, I would switch docs.

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** Originally posted by tetons **

I started in end of August and am still having lab work done every 4 weeks when I go for my monthly visits. I am gathering that most people do not see the doctor every month but every three months. My appointments are very short 5 minutes or less and just questions. I also fill out a questionnaire before going in. Never actually touches me or checks any joints. Only did that the first eval. Is this normal as well?

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** Originally posted by Sravaka **

When I walk into the lab, and the pharmacy, they know me by name cause I'm there so much. It sounds like your doc is doing what they should. One thing I do is make sure all my physicians, and myself, are sent copies of the results, just write their names in the send results area on the lab order sheet and write in "Patient" for yourself. This will keep everyone in the loop, avoid needless duplication of labs, and allow you to keep a file of results at home which I find extremely useful. Also, if you want anything else checked, like Vitamin D, just add it to the list by coloring in the little circle next to the test you want.

Sravaka

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** Originally posted by MikeK **

I am gathering that most people do not see the doctor every month but every three months. My appointments are very short 5 minutes or less and just questions. I also fill out a questionnaire before going in. Never actually touches me or checks any joints. Only did that the first eval. Is this normal as well?

My PA is mild and intermittent. (It's not as intermittent as it used to be and its affecting more and more joints.) I see my rheumy twice a year. (I'm supposed to let him know A.S.A.P. if I have any issue that lasts longer then three days.) My appointments last approximately 20 minutes and he manipulates all of my joints. He pays particular attention to any new issues that have come up since my last appointment.

My rheumy, my endrocinologist (I have a form of Hypothryoidism called Hashimoto's disease) and my PCP send each other copies of any bloodwork that has been ordered.

Mike

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