Click the video above to watch this week’s Lupus Q&A! The questions and answers can also be found below if you prefer to read 🙂
Cynthia Hildreth: What stage is lupus research right now for a cure?
For so long, we’ve had “general” meds for Lupus like corticosteroids or chemotherapeutic agents. But within the last five years, there’s been significant progress in medications specific to Lupus, targeting B cells, the part of our immune cells that’s responsible for making antibodies.
Such meds include Benlysta, which is a type of human antibody that inhibits B cells. Our B cells are responsible for normal immune response, as well as the pathological autoimmune response seen in patients with Lupus.
Benlysta is approved in the US, Canada and Europe for treatment of SLE. And it’s now in phase III trials, but its limitation is that it excluded the more severe cases of SLE with kidney and brain damage. Currently, they are recruiting kidney patients for Phase III study.
Benlysta was the first new drug to treat lupus in over 56 years. It costs approximately $28,000 per year per patient.
Common adverse effects include nausea, diarrhea, fever, as well as hypersensitivity and infusion-site reactions…and death.
There were a greater number of serious infections and deaths reported in patients treated with Benlysta than in those treated with placebo.
So my take? All research is focused on the downstream effects of our disease. I feel we need to focus more upstream, figure out the cause rather than trying to manage the effects. Stop mopping up the water on the floor and turn off the faucet.
Every drug you see focuses on inhibiting one single metabolic pathway and when you fool with mother nature this way, you have unintended consequences. All I’m saying is while we do take such meds to stay “alive”, we have to at the same time take necessary actions to restore our cells, gut lining, liver and kidney function. All this requires micronutrients, macronutrients and phytonutrients.
The real problem if you have Lupus or any autoimmune condition is that you have gut permeability issues (leaky gut) so you’re not absorbing the necessary nutrients absolutely needed for safe detoxification. If you don’t have such nutrients, then your body is busy damaging more of your DNA, up-regulating not only your inflammation but immune system, leading also to hormonal dysregulation. When this happens you can ultimately end up with insulin resistance, increased weight gain, and toxic burden.
What do most of you do? Take meds to control those symptoms. I don’t know about you, but I am not ok with this.
I’ve been threatened by a number of rheumatologists, saying that if I don’t take the meds, I can die. The American College of Rheumatology advises that we start care early to slow the progression; never mind the diet, drugs are the only hope in their perspective.
What I do know and understand is that nutraceuticals, foods, and herbals have the same effect. But guess why they are dismissed? Because they can’t be patented and they can’t be sold for money.
Humira is a Human monoclonal antibody specific for RA and in 2013 alone, retail sales were 5.4 billion dollars. Humira inhibits a single cytokine pathway, and it’s historically the best selling pharmaceutical. It costs you and me $3100 per month in US.
Katherine Contreras Acosta: Is Micophenolate a chemo?
Yes, you can say this is true because chemo and Lupus meds both work to suppress the immune system. It works by inhibiting and enzyme that promotes T and B cell growth. It was originally prescribed for those with renal or organ transplant.
It has some side effects but typically used for Lupus patients with kidney involvement after IV dose of cytoxan and prednisone. It’s considered a corticosteroid sparing drug. Side effects also are very scary.
Shelly Judson: Do you have gas?
When you experience gas, many factors are involved. As I always say, Lupus or autoimmune patients have gut permeability issues, hypochlorhydria, pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, dysbiosis, and potentially SIBO.
There are ways to test, both blood and stool, but this is precisely why you want to work on gut restoration so that you can absorb the necessary nutrients necessary for our health.