Treatment is dependent on:
- The type of ANCA Vasculitis
- The organs affected
- Other medical conditions you may have
Treatments may use one or more of these medication combinations:
- Corticosteroids: Prednisone is a type of steroid that can be given by IV or in pill form. They help slow down the autoimmune response in ANCA Vasculitis. Other names may include methyl prednisone or Medrol.
- Biologic Therapy: Rituximab is a biologic protein chimeric monoclonal antibody drug that attacks the B- cells, which are the precursors to cells that make antibodies. This type of treatment is considered a form of passive immunotherapy. This only suppresses one part of the immune system.
- Immunosuppressive Drugs: These drugs inhibit or prevent activity of the immune system. Some drugs include cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, azathioprine, and mycophenolate mofetil. Make sure you drink a lot of water while on this medication.
- Antibiotics: Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole are antibiotics used in the treatment of a variety of bacterial infections that kill foreign bodies in the nose, upper and lower respiratory tract, renal and urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract , skin and wounds. Some names are Bactrim, Bactrimel, Co-trimoxazole, Cotrim, Septrin, Septra, Sulfatrim, Biseptol, and Trisul.
- Plasmapheresis: An important use of plasmapheresis is in the therapy that removes the ANCA from the blood, where the rapid removal of disease-causing auto-antibodies from the circulation is required in addition to other medical therapy to help prevent further damage.
Finding a Primary Care Provider
The Primary Care Provider, who may be a primary care or family practice physician, is who you see for general checkups and when you get sick.
A doctor with special training in diseases such as ANCA Vasculitis is called a Nephrologists or Rheumatologist. Your primary care doctor may also be the one who refers you to one of these specialists.
Other health care providers who may work in collaboration with your physician may include an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT), Dermatologist, audiologist and Ophthalmologists.
If you are looking for a new doctor, your visit should include some time for you to get to know each other. Make sure you feel comfortable talking about the details of your health and lifestyle with this doctor. You might ask them:
- Do you have special training in ANCA Vasculitis?
- Are most of your patient’s people with ANCA Vasculitis? What type of Vasculitis do you treat mostly?
- How many people do you treat with ANCA Vasculitis per year?
- What tests will you do at regular office visits? How often do these need to be completed?
- What days are you not here? Who covers on nights and weekends?
- What are your fees for treatment? What insurance plans do you accept?
- Are you associated with other ANCA Vasculitis professionals? Do you have ANCA vasculitis health care team?
- How do you keep up with the latest advances in treatment for ANCA Vasculitis?
Your doctor's support is important. Your insurance plan may require you to get the doctor's referral for visits to the other health professionals on the team.
Before you leave the office, ask the staff about other details, such as how long wait patients usually have. Does the doctor's schedule run on time? Is there a set call-in time when you can talk to the doctor on the phone? What is the billing policy?
After the visit, ask yourself:
- Did the doctor really listen to my concerns?
- Was the doctor concerned about my ANCA Vasculitis?
- Did the doctor answer my questions?
Finding (and sticking with) a Pharmacist
A pharmacist has a wealth of information on medicines: what’s in them and how they interact with each other. Pharmacists are highly trained professionals who must know about the chemistry of the products they dispense and what effects, both good and bad, medications have on the body. Therefore, they can also give advice on whether and how any medication you take for your ANCA Vasculitis or other conditions could or will affect your treatment program.
It is important to find a pharmacy you like and to stick with it. This way, the pharmacist can keep an accurate and up-to-date profile of your medical history, allergies, and medications.
Pharmacists do more than just fill your prescriptions. They alert you to potential common or severe side effects of drugs you are prescribed. With each new prescription, they can review your medication profile to see if any of your current medications might interact with your new prescription. So, in addition to asking your ANCA Vasculitis care provider, you can ask your pharmacist to recommend over-the-counter medicines for colds or other minor illnesses.