Friday, February 20, 2009

Psoriasis drug has a new warning

I think all of us who have psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are grateful for the scientists and companies out there who are trying to find cures for our diseases. Thank you, biotech and biopharm.

However, yesterday's news the FDA is putting out a public health advisory about Raptiva (a psoriasis drug) because it has been linked to a fatal brain infection makes me wish that we were focusing as much on prevention as treatment.

The European FDA is pulling the drug altogether.

From WebMD (italics mine):
Raptiva is a once-weekly injection for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic (whole body) therapy or phototherapy. Raptiva suppresses T-cells, which are part of the immune system, to curb psoriasis. Suppressing T-cells increases a patient's susceptibility to infections.
When I expressed concern to one of my doctors about taking strong drugs potentially for the rest of my life, he held his hands out like a scale. On the one hand, the symptoms and risks of Psoriatic Arthritis. On the other hand, side effects and risks of the treatment.

"You have to weigh all the elements, all the plusses and negatives of treatment vs. non-treatment" he said. "Which is worse? It isn't that simple".

I couldn't agree more.

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