Àfter I caught my rheumy in what seems like a goof-up yesterday, I decided to do some extra checking. My rheumy told me several times in the past he was giving me plaquenil for my pain and to slow the progression of my ss. Yesterday he said he was only giving it to me for drymouth/eyes. So I decided to look it up again and was surprised with what I found. The following study showed the exact same results for plaquenil and placebo in treating SS:
I always thought my pain was being resistant to my meds when I wasn't being treated at all for it.
For a lot of these meds, it's recommended that at least 6 months are given to determine if the DMARDs are working. This study was 24 weeks, although it does make one question the efficacy. I found that it made a large difference in my fatigue. It didn't cure me of it, but improved it.
You may want to search this site for the discussion on this. We are lucky enough to have someone very knowledgeable in this field with us who explained it well.
One the common end, I can tell you that it did bother me too that the study was done for a shorter amount of time then it takes to start working. The medication has a very long track record as a disease modifier which means that you may be a great deal worse in the long run without it, but it doesn't mean that the disease will stop progressing totally. Also, it tends to work more for the fatigue as far as noticeable effects. I can say that my flair ups don't occur as often, get quite as severe or last as long as they did before the medicine really took hold. (I am very lucky that it works well for me)
It generally takes a long time for this medication to show any results- the sad thing is that it can take the person even longer to figure out if it's doing anything for them. Track how you are doing and if you hadn't been doing this before then try to write up a brief summary of how you felt before you began taking it. After you've been on this medication- or any other- go back and compare. Medications work a bit differently for everyone, but you should notice something after 6 months to a year for this particular one. I read the article and they simply did not do the study for long enough time.
As for your pain, plaquenil can help, but it may not be enough for you depending on what you are dealing with. Discuss your pain levels with your doctor and give the medication (and yourself) some time.
Keep researching, keep asking questions and keep speaking up for yourself.
I took plaquinil for almost 2 years so it had plenty of time to reach its maximum benefits. My flare ups are getting to the point they are just shy of running into each other. I guess I am just lucky that way.