Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Itchy itchy scratchy

Yesterday US News and World Report published an article about the link between shingles and some of the common biologics used to treat Psoriatic Arthritis. Apparently it's been demonstrated that older folks with Rheumatoid Arthritis who were on anti-TNF drugs (Humira being one, and also Remicade) were twice as likely to develop herpes zoster (aka shingles). The link to the news article is here.

Now, N=1 of course, I can report that since being on Humira I've had 4 cold sores. 4 cold sores in 4 months. My usual rate of cold sores is about 1 every two years. Herpes in the mouth is herpes simplex 1 (usually), and herpes zoster is herpes type 3... they are slightly different viruses in the Herpesviridae family. But I think I can say that because I am now immunosuppressed, my body is less likely to be able to control a "creepy" virus like herpes (the Greek word herpein means "to creep").

What I was pleased to see is the news article I cite above is that the FDA is going to commit a lot more time to studying these Anti-TNF drugs so many of us are using. They are life-savers for many, but we need to be sure they are safe.

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