Saturday, September 06, 2008

Arthritis Drugs Linked to Risks From Infection

Why do people continually place their faith in drugs? Rheumatoid arthritis medications have been shown to cause fatal fungal infections because they lower the body's immune function. RA is considered to be an autoimmune disease producing lots of painful inflammation.

This is quite easy to treat naturally. An anti-inflammatory diet consisting of lots of greens, cold water fish like salmon and sardines, almonds, etc. combined with the elimination of all white sugar, aritificial sweeteners, white flour, white rice, etc.

Most importantly is a good detox program to chelate the garbage out of the body. The reason the joints are inflamed in RA is that the body stores excess toxins in the fat and joints when it is overloaded and cannot eliminate in the usual ways.

You don't need to risk a 20% chance of death by prescription drugs just because you have rheumatoid arthritis!

September 5, 2008 NYT
Arthritis Drugs Linked to Risks From Infection

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration ordered stronger warnings Thursday on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other serious illnesses, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

The drugs — Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia — work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking the body. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment provides relief from swollen and painful joints, but it is “a double-edged sword,” said Dr. Jeffrey Siegel of the drug agency. That is because the drugs also lower the body’s defenses to infections.

Dr. Siegel, who heads the office that oversees arthritis drugs, said the agency became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis. Of 240 cases reported to the agency in which patients taking one of the four drugs developed this infection, 45 died. That is about 20 percent.

The infection, which mimics the flu, is prevalent in the middle part of the country. It can have grave consequences if it is not caught and spreads from the respiratory system to other organs.
Dr. Siegel said the investigation began with a single case of a woman who was taking one of the drugs and later died of histoplasmosis. Delving into the case, doctors at the agency found that the woman had been sick with the fungal infection for a long time. Patients should call their doctors if they develop persistent
fever, cough, shortness of breath or fatigue, which can be signs of the fungal infection.

Separately, the agency is investigating a possible link between the four medications and cancer in young patients. The agency said earlier this year that it had received 30 reports of cancers, mainly lymphomas, in patients who began taking the medications when they were 18 or younger. That investigation is expected to take the rest of the year.

Humira is sold by Abbott Laboratories; Cimzia by UCB; Enbrel by Amgen Inc. and Wyeth; and Remicade by Centocor, a unit of Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough Inc.


Isabelle said...

The study doesn't say that 20% of patients taking one of those drugs died. It says that of the 240 people who developed histoplasmosis, 20% died. It does not state what percentage of patients taking these drugs developed histoplasmosis, nor do it state what conditions were controlled for.

Granted, this is a frightening story, but I think you have overstated the case.

Reuven M. Rosenberg, D.C. said...

Isabelle: I stand corrected and thanks for picking up on my mistake. I read lots of articles and this one I skimmed over too quickly.

How many people in all contracted histoplasmosis? Was it significantly more than 240? Even 20% of 240 patients dying is a very scary scenario.