Humira- the Black Box and YOU
Two years ago I wrote the following post as part of a series on drugs and Doctors. I have been unable to write further about my own medical journey on the cancer road that dead ended with he loss of my son. I receive searches every day on Humira – nothing has changed not the commercials or the hype -it is time once again to remember those of the black box warning ……
UPDATE: The latest FDA information on the drugs mentioned can be found here
As I stated in Part two – reliving the journey of my experience with Doctors/ hospitals – the medical profession and what ultimately became our tragedy in the loss of my son – Christopher Ritchey – I knew writing the series was going to emotionally take me to places I may not be strong enough to go . So, like a marathon runner in training to get to the main event, I decided to start at the beginning of my experiences hence my memories of a three-year old.
During the course of my journey of grief at the loss of my son I have met so many people , especially mothers, who share my road. I was introduced to Joanne Cacciatore, PhD and her blog where “those in part of the “healing profession , are trying to pigeon-hole and make grief just another disease to take a pill”
and move on. Some of the drugs prescribed for this “illness of grief” can be found here : http://www.drugs.com/condition/depression.html
Depression is big business for the drug companies- I “STRONGLY” suggest you check and see the side effects of these drugs- but Hey! not to worry if you suffer a few – that is OK – I am sure Doctor MD/DO will have another drug in his repertoire to counteract those symptoms and so it goes…..
All types of media from print to electronic now bombard you with “cures for your ills”
Ask your Dr. about XYZ drug – you can live a normal life – just ask him/her about OUR drug.
The snake oil salesmen of the 21st century meet our with our need to hope and be well and we rush to their call with our little insurance cards in hand –
I have watched the commercial, as probably you have ( the commerce drug of the moment- this drug in the billions of dollars – bigger than some country’s budgets ) HUMIRA for many months and any of number of times a night. I have noted the voice over of the side effects- can cause . Lymphoma/ Cancer Tuberculosis ( this is a CURE!!!!!”) and HOW MANY SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS HAPPENED? I walked the path of the Curable Lymphoma – Hodgkin’s
Why would anyone take this drug ? from their own website
Important Safety Information About HUMIRA® (adalimumab)1
HUMIRA is a TNF blocker medicine that can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You should not start taking HUMIRA if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.
ED NOTE: OH OK so according to Humira we put our trust in our Doctor- how many Dr’s ( I bet yours is ) are part of the pharmaceutical sales onslaught- you have seen them with their suits and cases as you wait in the world’s waiting rooms for your turn with the Good?? Dr.
From the Princeton Review – emphasis mine
Pharmaceutical sales is a fast-paced, high-turnover business that rewards assertiveness, persistence, and knowledge. Pharmaceutical sales representatives spend most of their business time on the road, talking with pharmacists, hospital personnel, physicians, patient advocacy groups, and even retirement homes, increasing the visibility of their company’s products and the volume of their sales. “Sell sell sell learn learn learn sell sell sell,” wrote one sales rep, who included his business card with his survey, in case we wanted to purchase any pharmaceutical supplies………………
………..For many, a significant portion of their income is riding on their ability to get the product into the hands of the consumer. So, why is this job so addictive? Perhaps because the “EXCESSIVE PROFIT MARGINS” of many brand-name pharmaceutical products can mean enormous commissions
and for your further reading –
Confessions of a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep
•Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. Your doctor should test you for TB before starting HUMIRA, and check you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with HUMIRA. If your doctor feels you are at risk, you may be treated with medicine for TB.
•Cancer. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. There have been cases of unusual cancers in children, teenagers, and young adults using TNF blockers. Some people have developed a rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This type of cancer often results in death. If using TNF blockers including HUMIRA, your chance of getting two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) may increase. These types are generally not life-threatening if treated; tell your doctor if you have a bump or open sore that doesn’t heal.
During my journey, I have met on-line the mother of one of the “SOME PEOPLE”- a mother who trusted – who put the most important person in her life – her child- her son into the hands of the snake oil salesmen – they trusted their medical practitioner to help her son.
This is the face of “SOME people” – he is the reason there is a disclaimer- his life given – His name is Maxx Wendell- a young man with an oh so bright future- a young man full of life, humour and love. WE should all pay attention – because we are the “people” who may also end up as disclaimer as the money rolls in .
His mother, Lisa, wrote a comment on this blog which I have reprised below. Lisa fights through her grief and terror so that no other mother has to walk the path of “induced death” – the some people side effect of this drug . As you look at the side effects of any drug and see some cases , some instances, some deaths remember there is a face behind those side effects who have paid the ultimate price for pharmaceutical profits- Lisa Wendell and her family are “some people”:
For those who read your blog, I am the mom of the son who was prescribed a combination of immunosuppressive medications (what are called biologic TNF blockers) to keep his ulcerative colitis, a non-life threatening chronic autoimmune disease in remission. As a result, Maxx developed Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive, deadly cancer that killed him in 17 weeks. He was 21.
We were NOT informed of the dangers of this drug precisely because the makers of the drugs (Johnson and Johnson/Centocor and Abbott) had not yet labeled the medication with Black Box warnings advising of the 6 fold increase in risk for this disease in a pediatric population of young men between the ages of 17 and 24. In fact, we were specifically told that the risks for any serious side-effects, including Lymphoma were so low as to be virtually the same occurring in the general population. The combination of the doctor’s ignorance/arrogance and the out and out cover up by the drug industries of deadly side effects (levels of corruption that are unimaginable and occurring across the board all the time with regard to all drugs) killed our boy. Thousands of people a year lose their lives so drug companies can reap profits we can scarcely imagine.
One of the drugs, Remicade, was labeled shortly before he became ill. By that time he was no longer taking Remicade but had been prescribed another medication, Humira, with a different “delivery system” (self-injectible vs. infusion) that was supposed to have a better “safety profile.” Essentially, all this turned out to mean was that the Black Box warning had not yet been required on Humira. As of April, 2011 Humira now carries this warning as well.
In the meantime, my son is dead. Doctors are still prescribing these medications to people with a variety of autoimmune disorders including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and refactory cases of Psoriasis. In the four years since Maxx died, another 41 people have been reported to have died from HSTCL.
We cannot know if they were ever told by their physicians of the dangers, however, we were not informed. We did not consent to taking any risks. Never. We would never have taken such a risk with Maxx’s life. We asked repeatedly about the safety of both Remicade and Humira and were always told the same thing. The drugs are safe. The real information was supressed. Deliberately and for as long as possible to allow the drug makers literally years to make billions. Humira is one the top three selling money making drugs on the market for its manufacturer. What are 40 deaths when compared to billions? The true story’s behind drug company cover ups, lies,marketing scams, and greed are now common knowledge.
I will talk to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Maxx’s story and I welcome contact with other parents who have lost children to medical “fraud” and terminal disease.
I also urge anyone taking drugs for any chronic condition to thoroughly research the medications you or a loved one have been prescribed. Keep reading, keep asking, keep pestering, never stop. Keep fighting to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Our family is not stupid. Maxx was brilliant. We were duped. He lost his life, and I lost my heart
Only those of us who have walked the path of such utter confusion in the medical maze and have lost our reasons for being know how gut wrenching and brave it is for Lisa to write of her journey- she is still giving in the name of her son – and trying to save others from the depair and terrible agony of such a loss- my heart and “knowing” are with her….. LISTEN to Lisa …….. we could all end up as the legal disclaimer one day as one of the ………. “SOME people”
Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, death, Doctor/Physician, health, media, medical. Tags: Cause of death HUMIRA, disgraceful, Drs. and death, drugs with black box warnings, Humira, mothers and sons, obscenity of cancer, opinion, peddling prescriptions, Pharmaceutical Industry.