Saturday, August 8, 2009

Playing the Odds

We find, in the latest issue of MS Focus, that the upcoming oral drug, Cladrabine, has proven very effective in treating MS. However, it is also found that some people using the drug have developed significantly increased risk of serious infection and cancer.

All righty then. Lemme see now . . . uh yeah, I hereby withdraw my enthusiasm.

The funny thing is that this little caveat should be conveyed in such neutral seeming tone (like Oh by the way, perhaps we should mention). Research, as it seems to me, becomes enamored at itself, overly impressed with its achievements, under appreciative of the odds that the same could kill.

If you have MS, and if you go to a neurologist, chances are pretty much 100 percent that you will be put on the latest regimen of injections--despite the fact that the same will make you sick, or cause otherwise unnatural sorts of reactions--and if you are obstinate enough to refuse, you will be made to feel stupid, and careless, and maybe even fired from the particular clinic. Why? Because you have insulted the latest wisdom of medicine, and you have failed to appreciate the cutting edge reputation of your clinic.

Doctors are convincing as hell, and a person who is fearful, who is suffering, seeks to place his faith in the nearest hope.

We see the same thing with chemotherapy every day. That is the treatment. You got cancer, now you got to have the treatment. Period. That's how it is done.


As far as I know, it killed by brother, my father, and my mother, and more quickly so than the cancer itself would have done.

I started out on Avonex. It was the best, I was told. At first you might suffer some side effects--flu-like symptoms, aches, chills, fevers--but these would likely fade and then for the most part disappear within a month or two.

For more than a year I patiently endured being sick as a dog every Thursday and Friday. I alternately shivered and burned, I endured aches in my legs that felt like broken bones, I walked around in a fog thicker than any that MS on its own had previously caused.

For you see, I wanted to do the right thing. I had a responsibility to myself and to my family. To shun the benefit of being 30 percent less likely to have a new attack of MS would be tantamount to sheer carelessness. Would it not?

And so that's how it works, folks. Now I am on Copaxone, which does not cause flu-like illness. It only causes burning or itching of the skin, bruises and weird raised welts, and sometimes, if you hit a bad spot with the needle, a feeling like you have shot yourself there with a small caliber pistol. So much better.

Or is it?

One often reads, in researching Copaxone, that exactly why it works is not exactly known. Interesting. Exactly what else, I wonder, is not exactly known about it?

And what are these persistent, itchy lumps that sometimes develop beneath injection sites? I put the question once to a Copaxone Rep over the phone. Well . . . you guessed it. It is not exactly known.

It is said that prayer has been shown in blind trials to produce curative results in test group being prayed for. It is not exactly known why.

What I'm wondering now is whether the percentage here is comparable to that gained in the medicinal results. Thirty percent, after all, is not all that much to shout about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

30 percent is a crap shoot, in my opinion. I am better off doing what I am doing and I can probably get better odds. I'm not doing so bad on diet and supplements and prn drugs. No DMD's for me. The side effects alone scared me away.

I was on Cladribine in the late 1970's for "acute MS" as it was called then. The drug was chemotheraphy then, and it still is. I think MSer's should carefully investigate the side effects of each DMD to decide if it is worth the gamble for them.

Just think, if there were no DMD's for docs to offer to us, and there was say, prunes....they'd be offering that to patients as a treatment. Whatever is in their bag of tricks is what gets offered. Each doc has their own pet DMD too that they push. Just amazing to me.

I hope people read your blog and mine and do their homework.

Good post.