The Rheumatology Department provides care to people with a wide range of conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system, in addition to a number of systemic autoimmune disorders.
Access to this service is via GP/ Physician referral. On all referrals, please state the reason for referral and give results of relevant laboratory/ radiology investigations.
Referrals to the Rheumatology Department can be made via Healthlink or by writing to:
St James’s Hospital
For patients with suspected new onset inflammatory arthritis please use the national Early Arthritis Referral Form www.isr.ie
The Rheumatology Nurse Advice Line (NAL) is available only to current patients of the rheumatology service. The helpline is intended to assist with the following items:
1. Advice regarding your arthritis and flare management
2. Advice regarding your medications, side effects, or other related concerns
3. Nursing (only) appointments queries
The helpline cannot facilitate the following:
The helpline is available to receive messages Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm.
Please do not leave a message outside these times as the helpline will not be attended to.
If you require urgent attention, please contact your GP or Out of Hours service.
Getting started on your medication
Your doctor may decide to start you on a medication to treat your rheumatological condition. A referral is sent to specialist nurses who will go through the process with you. They will discuss this medication with you, organise any further tests that may be required and review your progress in specialist clinics.
Many of these medications are covered by the Drugs Payment Scheme. For more information visit Drugs Payment Scheme to see if you are eligible for the scheme.
HighTech Prescriptions are valid for 6 months. If you are on a HighTech medication and require a repeat prescription from the Rheumatology team please see below:
Methotrexate is a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). DMARDs are used to treat inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Most DMARDs act by regulating the immune system. They are not speciﬁc painkillers, but they lessen the activity of arthritis by reducing swelling and stiffness - thereby reducing the pain.
There are other DMARDs that may be prescribed for you. Your rheumatology nurse will go through your medication with you in more detail.
Methotrexate comes in tablet and injection form. Please visit the links below to help you understand how to use your methotrexate injection pen.
Biologic therapies can be given as an infusion. Infusion therapy provides patients with medication administered intravenously. Your rheumatology infusion will be given in MACS . The day and time of your appointment will depend upon the kind of infusion you are going to have. Your rheumatology nurse will discuss this with you in more detail.
You will need your bloods monitored regularly and your rheumatology doctor or nurse will inform you of how often these tests are required. Patients are responsible for booking their own blood tests.
For more information on the service visit Outpatient Blood Testing
Alternatively, you may attend you GP for blood monitoring. Please fax results to 01 4284170 or email them to your consultant’s secretary.
Contact Hibernian @ Home on 01 460 4820 or 01 460 4792 if you are on the following medications:
Contact TCP on 1800 936 807 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are on the following medications:
Contact Novartis on 1800 303 510 or email email@example.com if you are on the following medications:
Contact Point of Care on 1800 200 573 or email www.abbviecare.ie if you are on the following medications:
Contact SRCL on 01 456 5796 if you are on the following medications:
Many people with a Rheumatological condition will experience flare ups. It is common for pain to flare-up even though you have been pacing, building up your activities and exercises gradually and practicing relaxation. This can be very frustrating, and make you feel like you have little control over your pain.
If flaring, please follow some of the advice suggested in the links below. If after following some of this basic advice and your symptoms do not improve then contact our Nurse helpline.
Treatment for arthritis goes beyond medication and the ability to self-manage your condition an essential part of your care.
Self-management is what a person does every day to manage their long-term health condition and involves managing the practical, physical and psychological impacts of disease.
Don’t forget to Mind Your Bones. Osteoporosis is a worldwide health issue and the most common skeletal disorder today, with an estimated 300,000 people in Ireland currently living with the condition. Many of the recommendations for inflammatory arthritis patients about protecting their bones and preventing osteoporosis are the same as the advice given to the general population.
A balanced diet forms the foundations of healthy eating and is for musculoskeletal health. Calcium and Vitamin D need to be taken in the right amounts throughout life, to help keep your bones healthy. Supplements can help ensure that you get adequate amounts of calcium each day.
The National Guidelines on Physical Activity recommend that adults take part in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on five days a week (or 150 minutes a week). Weight-bearing, resistance-style exercises are particularly important for bone and muscle health.
Regular exercise is proven to be one of the most effective treatments for arthritis. It can make a big difference to your bones and how you live with arthritis. Visit Arthritis Ireland to find out how exercise can help you improve your health and fitness without hurting your joints.
Smoking is bad for bones as well as the heart and lungs. Women who smoke tend to go through menopause earlier, resulting in earlier reduction in levels of the bone-preserving hormone estrogen and triggering earlier bone loss. In addition, people who smoke may absorb less calcium from their diets. If you want to quit we can offer support by referring you to Smoking Cessation
Alcohol also can have a negative effect on bone health. Those who drink heavily are more prone to bone loss and fracture, because of both poor nutrition and increased risk of falling. Always seek advice before drinking if you have a medical condition that may be worsened by alcohol or if you are on certain medication.
What can I do to protect myself?
One of the most important things you can do is to listen to advice from a credible source. For the most up to date information on the Coronavirus and the national roll-out of COVID 19 vaccines please visit www2.hse.ie/coronavirus and https://www2.hse.ie/screening-and-vaccinations/covid-19-vaccine/ .
Are you working from home?
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