Sorting it all Out Michael Kaplan's random stuff of dubious value Be sure to read the disclaimer here first!
More non-technical content....
You know the step you miss at the bottom of the stairs, or the one you try to take that is not there at the top? It takes your breath away. Kind of like today's news did. I'll explain...
I am taking Copaxone every day, for my MS. It's like taking Insulin or something.
I used to take Avonex and to be frank I liked the schedule better (just once a week). But I'd kind of feel like I had the flu for the next 36 hours, which kind of stunk, if you know what I mean.
So I was biding my time with the Copaxone.
Though some time this month I was going to be switching to the new drug that used to be called Antegren but was then renamed to Tysabri.
I was kind of annoyed at the wait (the hospital wanted to set up stuff and the infusions have to be in the doctor's office). But a drug that you only have to take once a month seemed like a dream some true, you know?
But then everything changed.
Yesterday morning, my brother-in-law forwarded me an article through email and asked if I had heard about it -- a headline today on cnn.com. It read MS drug pulled after patient dies. The drug companies (Biogen Idec and Elan Pharmaceuticals) voluntarily pulled Tysabri for an investigation after one patient died and another contracted Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), a rare but often fatal disease of the central nervous system. Both patients were taking Avonex and Tysabri together for over two years.
My first thought was how terrible that was. And I will admit my second thought was that maybe that would have been me some day, if they had actually rushed through that process stuff at the UWMC neurology clinic a bit faster.
The stock both companies reportedly dropped on the news (small wonder, huh?).
Now tonight, I am looking at this Copaxone syringe and wondering if I am taking my life into my hands by falling into this trap that the drug companies have set up. It's a pretty profitable scam they have going there, you know?
Drugs that have a statistically significant chance of helping me will by definition have a statistically significant chance of doing the fractional value diddly/squat.
And I don't even want to think about the miniscule chance that the rush to get what seemed like a promising drug "fast tracked" through the FDA could do to someone about to be on the bleeding edge of MS treatment. The Copaxone may be doing nothing at all for me (one has to love a $1000 per month placebo), but no one has died yet from taking it after over ten years. I'll take those odds over 1 in 5000 after just two years any day.
Now I know none of this probably even applies to me -- they have a ton of Avonex data and nothing like this has ever been seen. Same thing for Copaxone. and even if I were on the Tysabri, I would never have gone on a combination therapy with Avonex. Even bothering to think that I had a close call is like thinking I had a close call when I was stranded in Los Angeles on 9/11, waiting for a next day flight to San Jose. In other words, I was never in any kind of danger.
I am simply not feeling quite so experimental, if you know what I mean. I think waiting for the longer studies sounds like a safer plan....
Regular readers may remember that little mini crisis that happened with Tysabri last year that I posted