Five years taking medicinal Thunder God Vine (mTGV)
I have carefully noted the important moments of my treatment while taking mTGV and rated every day my symptoms and pain on a scale from 1 to 10.
I also kept all my blood test results.
The experience of taking mTGV is similar to that of many treatments: it took some time to kick in and needed adjustment.
My previous treatment for a year was a conventional high dose Methotrexate 25mg/wk injections + 5mg Prednisone/day + Folic acid + Naproxen 550 now and then.
I stopped taking Methotrexate during a period of 2 months before switching, reason why the Prednisone is high in the beginning, I was in a lot of pain.
I haven’t changed anything else in my lifestyle. You can read more of my journey with RA since I declared on My Rheumatoid Arthritis Journey page.
This is my personal experience. It could be different for someone else.
The 1 to 10 scale
I use the scale of 1 to 10 the other way round most people do, I think it’s more positive to give myself a good rating when I perform well.
Chart 1 : getting better after 4 weeks
My first prescription was a low dose of mTGV at 1mg/kg/day. For me it was 70mg/day = 7 tablets, as my weight is around 67kg.
As you can see the level of my rating (the yellow line) is slowly growing, while in the meantime I have been able to lower the Prednisone daily dose from the 10mg/day I was initially taking, to 3,75mg/day. I was steadily getting better.
When I tried to cut the Prednisone to 2,5mg, my body reacted strongly against, dropping my rating from 8 to 5.
The doctor said to not withdraw so fast and that I could move up to mTGV 90mg/day, because I was feeling great and my blood tests were good. So I went back to 3,75mg Prednisone/day and 90mg/day mTGV.
The next thing is not on the chart, I was feeling so good and relieved I found it not useful to continue rating myself further. The pain was gone, no affected joints, at least when rating 9, which was the case most of the time.
Important to mention some of the symptoms were still there: a reduced ongoing morning stiffness and some fatigue.
Chart 2 : stabilizing after 4 months
Taking Thunder God Vine helps me reach a low level of activity of the disease after 4 months.
This is week n°16 so it’s already 4 months.
I’m taking medicinal TGV 90mg/day together with Prednisone 3,75mg/day. I’m doing really good and I want to post it to my Facebook so I start rating myself again.
My daily rating is 8 or 9. I am now evaluating rates at 8,5 or 9,5 because the plain 8 or 9s do not reflect the subtle variations I experience when it comes to fatigue and morning stiffness.
I try to lower Prednisone again. Two weeks later with 3 bad days rating 6 I decide it is not worth breaking the virtuous cycle I seemed to be in and go back on 3,75mg.
Chart 3 : remission after 6 months
mTGV induced remission after 6 months of treatment, which was the point where I was able to resume a normal work life.
At one point, I started taking mTGV 100mg/day (10 tablets). By the way, 90mg/day is usually a maximum.
This chart was the last I made, in October 2016, when I tried again to lower the Prednisone from 3,75 to 2,5mg/day. As you can see, it’s OK but made my rating sometimes drop to 8. Going back to 3,75mg was feeling more comfortable.
I tried to replace it with Naproxen which is a commonly prescribed NSAID in RA and it does the trick. The thing is my stomach doesn’t like it and I needed to take antacids along with it, so I made my choice to stick to low dose Prednisone 3,75mg/day.
It reflects my experience from April 2016 on: remission rating at 9 or 9,5. By remission I mean I had (almost) no more symptoms, including no more fatigue and morning stiffness.
Today after five years taking Thunder God Vine
I am still in a remission today, so that’s 5 complete years. My days all rate 10, as things kept improving further on the 2nd year of taking.
I know I still still have RA because in some periods I am more loose on dosage. These episodes result after some time in a soft joint here or there which quickly puts me back on tracks.
Currently, my medication is as follow : mTGV 100mg/day + 2,5mg/day Prednisone.
I am not taking anything else (supplements or NSAIDs). I am pain free and have exactly the same energy I used to have. I work again since April 2016.
Sometimes, I have episode where I am more tired, with an overall uncomfortable feel that can last for up to 15 days. I identify these periods as flares.
End of May 2018 I have experienced the return of symptoms after a period of 2 weeks when I have taken mTGV very irregularly. The situation returned to normal after a week or so.
During the summer 2017 I also experienced the return of symptoms after 15 days when I stopped taking altogether during 17 day to “give it a try”. It took about 10 days after that to return to normal.
These experience tends to suggest that efficacy is closely related to dose.