Lupus Nephritis and CellCept Study
According to statistics, nephritis or kidney disease occurs in about 50 to 75% of those diagnosed with lupus and patients often ultimately require permanent dialysis or kidney transplants. If you have lupus nephritis and you’re unsure which treatment is best for you, a recent study may give you more hope and confidence. However, before you accept anything as a possible “miracle drug’, research the clinical study background, the parent drug company and learn what wasn’t included in the press release.
The most common treatment for lupus nephritis has been the intravenous chemotherapy medication, Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). The problem with this drug is that the cure can be as bad as the disease. Chemotherapy is a poisonous assault on the system, which, if one is fortunate, will kill the disease without taking down the patient. Side effects of Cytoxan can include hair loss, shingles, unusual infections, increased risk of malignant tumors, bladder bleeding, leukemia, temporary or permanent sterility and fetal damage.
CellCept is becoming popular because of reports of reduced side effects In CellCept use, bloating, nausea and diarrhea are the most commonly reported side effects but are said to be usually temporary. A recent study declares that CellCept (mycophenalate motifil, as a pill, taken by mouth) can reduce antibody levels in the kidneys, minimize disease effects, decrease kidney damage and perhaps even stop disease progression. This could mean dialysis and kidney transplants will become unnecessary, with CellCept.
This study was done by Rheumatologist Ellen Ginzler, M.D., M.P.H., of State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. According to Dr. Ginzler, 140 people enrolled in this study received either CellCept or Cytoxan With CellCept, 16 people went into remission, as opposed to only 4 on Cytoxan.
In this study, reported by Ivanhoe Newswire
and picked up by HealthCentral.com
, CellCept also had more positive than negative results among African-American patients, who usually have more severe lupus, a higher rate of side effects and are often less responsive to the usual Cytoxan treatment. As many as 2/3 of the patients overall were able to tolerate CellCept’s high dosage of 3,000 milligrams. CellCept is generally a 6 month treatment, which is said to cost “a few thousand dollars” but most insurance companies are expected to offer coverage.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Roche Pharmaceuticals
the makers of CellCept. Roche has prepared a PDF document, which describes CellCept oral tablets and intravenous medication. Intravenous CellCept was not used in this study. In this PDF
, under “Warning”, Roche lists “increased susceptibility to infection and the possible development of lymphoma may result from immunosuppression”, which was not cited in the Ivanhoe study report.
CellCept was developed to prevent the rejection of transplanted organs and treatment of lupus nephritis is a new use of this medication. Roche’s warning recommends only doctors “experienced in immunosuppressive therapy and management of renal, heart or hepatic transplant patients should use CellCept. Patients receiving the drug should be managed in facilities equipped and staffed with adequate laboratory and supportive medical resources. The physician responsible for maintenance therapy should have complete information requisite for the follow-up of the patient”.
NIH has posted an Important Warning
on CellCept, which should be read in full, along with the other information on that page. These warnings make clear that anyone considering using this drug should first learn everything they can about it, take all precautions very seriously and deal only with doctors and medical staff who are experienced as described by Roche and who will communicate openly, fully and clearly.
If you’re considering this treatment, be sure to discuss these official warnings with your doctor. Remember, even the most glowing clinical report can be subject to change, once the drug is in wider use.
Aspirin and Ibuprofen Don’t Mix
An aspirin away may not keep the doctor away, if you take ibuprofen or other NSAIDS, too. A study done by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston shows Ibuprofen may blunt aspirin
so we’ll have to choose whether to take baby aspirin as a protection against heart attack and stroke or certain NSAIDS for pain relief.
Aspirin Study in Pancreatic Cancer
Does aspirin increase the risk of pancreatic cancer?
(The study concludes, yes, but the official assessment is that the risk is probably not enough to outweigh the benefits of aspirin against cancer overall.
"The results showed that compared with never taking aspirin twice weekly on a regular basis, taking two tablets a week for more than 20 years increased the risk of pancreatic cancer by 58% (there were 34 cases). Further analysis showed that long-term use (at least four years) of 14 tablets a week or more was associated with an 86% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer (20 cases in total). When regular use of aspirin was defined as taking five tablets a week or more, there was an association between longer duration of use and risk of cancer, such that when the duration of regular use exceeded 10 years the risk of pancreatic cancer was increased by 75% (37 cases).
" - "Furthermore, the total number of cases of pancreatic cancer identified from almost 90,000 women over a period of 18 years was only 161.")
National electronic Library for Health Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, England.
But Aspirin May Help Fight Some Cancers
Studies conducted in the UK and the US show aspirin, for those not allergic, may be a powerful weapon against cancer. The Uk has also now begun a 10 year trial, to end in 2014. British study results are reported here
at Cancer Research, UK.
Aspirin and ulcer drug tested as cancer fighters
(the ulcer medication is Nexium) CNN News/Reuters
NCI-Funded Clinical Trials Show Aspirin Reduces Recurrence of Polyps
Dr. Andrew Weil on Herbal Remedies
Dr. Weil answers the question, Can Herbs Combat Inflammation?
He offers suggestions for our health in Lupus: A Natural Approach?
, a plus for us lupies, from Dr. Weil’s Herbal Medicine Chest.
Ginger is well-known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Learn the best way to eat it in Rooting for Ginger?
Dr. Weil recommends horse-chestnut seed extract
over grape seed extract, for alleviating varicose veins and improving vascular elasticity.
In answering Pain Relief From Grape Seed Extract?
he writes on grape seed extract and Pycnogenol, which is processed from maritime pine extract and makes specific recommendations for proven alternatives for pain relief.
A Chest Full of Heart Health Links from DR.Weil.com
Search Dr. Andrew Weil’s archive of heart healthy articles
with tips on exercise, herbs, heart attack prevention and more.
Dr. Weil offers dietary recommendations and lots of luscious recipes below for countering inflammation
. See the right-side list, too.
More anti-inflammatory recipes
from Dr. Weil.
The good doctor Weil explains, Why No Milk?
Still Weil-ing, with tips and recipes for hypertension
DrWeil.com Question: Searching for Safer Sprouts?
Why alfalfa isn't good for us and what is better.
Heart Smart Health Links
In America, February is Heart Month and Black History Month so the American Heart Association
has information on protecting our hearts while eating well and dishing up savory soul food. Please check out Lupus And a Wolf-Wise Diet
for more healthy heart tips. This article is based on current research into lowering inflammation, which can not only minimize our lupus symptoms but help protect us against heart attacks and strokes.