Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good Bye Shingles- Hello Another MS Drug

I decided to use this famous image by Andy Warhol in my post because I just recently watched two  documentaries  about him.  I could go on for hours about why I agree that he was the greatest artist of the second half of the 20th century  and that there has been no new art since his death.

It only took 4 months but my shingles have finally cleared up . Once again I say : If  you are over 40 get vaccinated for shingles!!

Reading the news this morning I see that there is another new MS drug, called Tecifidor. As usual it is being heralded as a significant treatment for MS, with studies claiming it can reduce relapses by 53%. Serious side effects are  possible reduction in white cell counts and  fetal harm, which means it should not be used by pregnant women. Less serious side effects are  stomach and  bowel disruptions.

Did you know that drug companies earned over $14 billion from MS drugs last year? It is expected that this drug will bring in about 2-3 billion yearly.

All these drugs and yet where is the proof that they work? By work, I mean stop or slow progression.
My research; including reading several MS blogs and reading medical journals has led me to the conclusion that none of these drugs really work.

If you feel that they work for you, great. I'm certainly not going to say "Hey don't take MS drugs!"

 But, let's look at the claims made for this newest drug. How can they   say that relapses can be reduced by as much as 53%, given that relapses are so random, so unpredictable? I could take this drug and maybe only have one relapse during the time I use it, however, maybe I would have only had one relapse if I hadn't used it.  And how can they say this based on control groups. One group is using the drug, another is taking a placebo. They still don't know what the rate of relapse is or could be for either group..

MS progresses. It does so at different rates and  in different  ways. The way it progresses for me will be very different from the way it does for another person.  Relapsing/ remitting MS becomes secondary MS, most of the time, but not all the time. Progressive MS is rare, but it happens.  Having MS does not mean you will end up in a wheelchair, but it can.

So I live with uncertainty and I feel this is used as leverage to promote drugs that will not really improve my quality of life very much, if at all.

Only a few more weeks to go till retirement!  I also received news that I have a house available where I want to move to.  I'm excited and nervous and looking forward.