Ask the Rheumatologist: Latest Answer
Iris from Edmonton asks: I have been getting gold injections for rheumatoid arthritis for 35 years, with great results. I think I want to quit. Is it safe for me to quit the gold injections “cold turkey?”
When it comes to quitting most medications for arthritis, it is considered safe to just stop them. You do not need to do it slowly over time. This would apply to gold, which was the literal “gold standard” for treating RA years ago, but also to options like methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, and the biologics. The only one to be very cautious with is prednisone, which in most cases should NOT be stopped suddenly without input from your physician.
All that said, it is usually best to discuss with your rheumatologist prior to making this decision. While safe, stopping medication does not mean there will not be consequences. In particular, your rheumatologist can discuss with you the risk of your RA becoming active again when you stop your medication, and perhaps can provide strategies to help reduce those risks.