Sunday, 24 February 2008

Chrons Disease and Aggressive Therapy

A recent study has shown that if you treat chrons disease more aggressively, it resulted in a better outcome for patients. This study was performed by an international team of researchers.

The researcher's found that shortly after a person had been diagnosed with chrons disease, using more than 1 immunosuppressive drug was more effective in inducing remission than starting patients on corticosteroids.

One of the researcher's, Dr. Brian Feagan said that more studies needed to be conducted, but if you treat chrons patients earlier with more aggressive therapy it may be more effective than the traditional method. Doctors are always looking for ways to treat people who suffer from chrons disease without the use of steroids, so this could mean en exciting development.
Nobody really knows the true cause of chrons disease but basically what happens is there is an inflammation of the gut that often affects the small intestine, the swelling leads to pain and diarrhea. The current theory is that someone with crohn's disease has lost tolerance to normal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. "The immune system is in a controlled inflammatory state. In Crohns disease, it is thought that the immune system is becoming unhappy with normal flora. White blood cells migrate into the tissue and release nasty things and cause damage." said Feagan, director of Robarts Clinical Trials at Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

The current usual treatment for someone with crohns begins with corticosteroids. If the patient shows really bad side effects to the steroid treatment or if some sort of resistance to the drug begins to show the treatment usually moves on to a range of immunosuppressive drugs like Rheumatrex (methotrexate). If this treatment does not help, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-blockers are often then used.

Remicade (infliximab) with Imuran (azathioprine)
In the research 133 people with chrons disease in Belgium, Germany and Holland had either combined immunosuppression or the traditional method. 67 had the joint immunosuppression with three infusions of Remicade (infliximab) with Imuran (azathioprine) at the start and then again a few weeks later and then again 4 weeks after that. The other 66 patients were given steroids ad then given Imuran and Remicade.

Study Results
Some initial findings show that after 6 months sixty percent of the patients on the combined immunosuppression had their chrons disease in remission with no need for steroids or any form of surgery. From the second group only 35.9% were in remission.

Later on, after one year the figures were:
61.5% of the combined immunosuppression group were in remission compared to ony 42.2 % of patients following the more traditional method of chrons disease treatments.

More research is to follow, but if they come to the same conclusion, the conventional treatment for Chrons could change.

Down sides to Remicade (infliximab)
Remicade is administered intravenously so the person has to go to a medical center to receive treatment.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

About Chrons Disease

I found this excellent video about chrons disease which explains all the main details including:

Chrons Disease Definition
Chrons Disease Diagnosis
Chrons Disease Treatment

So if you get tired my writing, take a look at the video, it may answer a few of your questions:

Friday, 15 February 2008

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and Chrons Disease

I had not realised until recently that the Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready suffers from Chrons Disease. I only found out because I found this great video on YouTube of a guy who tells of his experience of the disease with a Perl Jam backing track, which he uses because of the fact Mike McCready has chrons Disease.

Anyway here is the video:

Apparently the Perl Jam guitarist announced that he had chrons in 2003 and the main reason he decided to go public was because of the strength of a teenager who had suffered through 6 surgeries and still had a long way to go to get to grips with chrons.

During his speech which he made on stage, Mike spoke of a particularly embarrassing incident to demonstrate how Chrons can come at any time. He said that whilst playing onstage at a gig, he would always make sure he was aware of where the bathrooms were "When Crohn's hits, I have to run, or it won't be pretty. It happened when we opened up for the Rolling Stones in 1997 in Oakland. It was our first show with them, Five minutes before we went on, I went up to Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and I said, 'Look man, can we play 'Sometimes'? — which is a slower song that I'm not really on. I was in pain. I went running offstage looking for a bathroom, and there wasn't one. Then, all of a sudden, there was one. It was a honey bucket. I heard my band play that song from inside a portable toilet!"

I am sure may people who have chrons disease can relate to this story!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Chrons Disease Drug Tysabri has been approved

There is some great news for people who suffer from Chrons Disease in the US as the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a drug called Tysabri (natalizumab).

Tysabri which is produced by Ireland based company Elan and Biogen Idec in the USA is to be used on chrons patients who have not responded to other forms of treatment, it was given the green light in 2006 to treat people who have elapsing multiple sclerosis and will now be given the all clear to be used with people suffering from Chrons Disese.

Possible side effects of the drug include the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy which is a viral infection that affects the brain. This viral infection could cause severe disability or even death. Another possible side effect are anaphylactic reactions and possible liver injury.

Because of these possible serious side effects people with chrons disease who are prescribed the drug Tysabri will also be added to a restricted distribution program called Crohn's Disease-Tysabri Outreach Unified Commitment to Health (CD-TOUCH).

This program will allow doctors to check the chrons disease patients that are using Tysabri after three months and will be asked to stop using the drug if there if there are no signs of improvement in that time.

Drug Details
Drug Name: TYSABRI (Brand Name Drug)
FDA Application No. (BLA) 125104
Active Ingredient: NATALIZUMAB
Original Approval or Tentative Approval Date: November 23, 2004
There are no Therapeutic Equivalents

Chrons Disease is an incurable disease that affects the bowel. Symptoms often include diarrhea, fever, rectal bleeding, malnutrition, narrowing of the intestines, cramping, and abdominal pain. Chrons disease affects more than one million people around the world and can also lead to abnormal connections that are called fistulas from the intestines to the skin or internal organs.