**Important message from A. Robert Franco, MD**
I often find that patients that come to see me for diagnosis and treatment for rheumatic diseases have already started on antibiotic treatment. Although this may be helpful to the patient, it would be best when applicable to have the appropriate work-up PRIOR to starting on antibiotic treatment. I am referring especially to the mycoplasma and chlamydia PCR test (genetic fingerprint).
Antibiotics may render this test negative and thereby often making useless this great diagnostic tool, especially in view of the fact that patients will be obliged to use antibiotics for several years exposing themselves to some potential toxic side effects. If you have already started antibiotics, you should continue and consider going off for 4 weeks prior to your visit to the Arthritis Center of Riverside, or your physician's office where these tests may be ordered.
If it is possible to do the above, you will increase your chances of confirming the infectious cause of your rheumatic disease. Even more so by doing the test prior too initiating antibiotic treatment, your insurance company will be more likely to authorize and pay for IV treatment if you have a positive mycoplasma PCR test.