Biologic Drug (Cimzia) for Rheumatoid Arthritis Has Been Approved By FDA

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Wanted to get this up before I head to work, so I’m re-posting part of an article that appears on ArthritisToday.com:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its nod to certolizumab pegol (Cimzia), a drug previously approved to treat Crohn’s disease, to also treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

Certolizumab pegol belongs to a class of biologic drugs that block an inflammatory protein called tumor necrosis factor alpha, or TNF-alpha. Other drugs in this category include etanercept (Enbrel), infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and golimumab (Simponi), which was approved last month.

Cimzia’s molecule is slightly different from the other drugs in its class, however, because it is pegylated, or coated, a process that, in theory, should help it slip by the body’s immune system more easily and may make it less likely to cause an infusion reaction.

Pegylation may also help the drug work more quickly. According to UCB, the Belgian company that makes certolizumab pegol, when used in conjunction with methotrexate, patients in clinical trials for Cimzia reported a reduction in symptoms as early as the first week.

Certolizumab pegol is administered with at-home injections, which can be given every two or four weeks.

Cimzia Website

Michael J. Fox: A Model Patient

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Always Looking Up Book by Michael J. FoxI recently watched an ABC special titled, Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. I watched because I was intrigued after I read an article about how Fox (diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 18 years ago) has become a major patient advocate for the disease, all while remaining an optimist about what the future holds for him. In this special he offers his philosophy on dealing with the disease and also interviews a number of people about the concept of optimism.

As a patient, I’m always very interested in learning how others cope with a chronic problem. As a person, I’m intrigued by what makes people tick.

There were a lot of quotes from the one-our episode that I found thought-provoking and inspiring, so I decided to highlight them in a handy little blog post so that we could all be inspired.

The only unavailable choice was whether or not to have Parkinson’s, everything else was up to me. I could concentrate on the loss or I could just get on with my life and see if those holes starting filling in themselves.

For everything this disease has taken, something with greater value has been given, sometimes just a marker that points me in a different direction that I might not have otherwise traveled.

What i find is that it’s important that if I am going for that goal or if I am going for that thing, is that every moment I am short of that, isn’t a bad moment because I’m not there yet. It’s okay to just be striving.

Do the next right thing and hopefully something will happen.

I think that’s where the hope comes from. If I could do everything then I have no reason for hope. And there’s something in the hope that’s even more powerful than the realization of whatever the hope is for.

You are most optimistic when you feel you are not alone.

Optimism doesn’t mean being in denial. It’s not Pollyannish. It allows for the fact that things are tough. There can be tough optimism: An acceptance of obstacles, with a willingness to fight through them.”

This quote from musician Ben Harper (who was interviewed in the episode), also resonated with me:

Music is, to me, the soundtrack to optimism. Silent optimism is optimism at eight, when it could be at ten.

The quote that I found most interesting was: “Do the next right thing and hopefully something will happen.” I’m often so worried about “doing things right” that sometimes I lose sight of whose “right” I’m trying to live up to. Usually, it’s some sort of “rule” that I’ve created in my head that only makes life harder for me. The “next right thing” sounds much more achievable and spiritual. It sounds like something I just need to be open to, not something I have to agonize over for an entire day, then make a decision about, then worry about whether or not I made the right decision.

Tomorrow I plan on getting up and walking out that front door with the confidence that my day will be full of “next right things.”

Watch the entire special here.

Learn more about the show here.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this TV special was also created to help promote his new book, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

What are your tips for remaining optimistic in the face of chronic disease?

Bedtime Snack

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It’s 10:33 pm on Tuesday night and I’m about to have my bestime snack: Advil, Plaquenil, Sulfasalazine, Celexa and a peanut butter cookie. DEE-licious.

Drugs on my night stand.

G’night.

[ Share the Love: If you like this post, please click on an icon below to share with others. Thank you, arthritis friends! ]

Update 6/4/09: People have asked and the chef has hinted at wanting credit… Chocolate chip, peanut butter cookie was baked by my boyfriend.

Everything Is Amazing, Yet Nobody’s Happy

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Comedian Louis CK does an excellent job of helping us all gain some perspective. There are a lot of things in each of our lives that make life difficult, but if we step back and look at the world we live in, what we have available to us is pretty darn amazing.

Appreciate all the good things in your life today: medication, friends, family, technology, Clive Owen movies, rheumatologists … I could go on and on. Have a splendid day!

(If the flash player doesn’t work for you, click here to view the video.)

If you like this post, please click on a link below to share with others. Thank you, arthritis friends!

Arthritis Walk At Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Arthritis Walk At Six Flags Magic Mountain

The Arthritis Walk at Six Flags Magic Mountain was a smashing success today! There was a HUGE turnout and the theme park was the perfect location.

Having the walk at an amusement park really made everything more festive. We did a short walk around the park, while a custom playlist of “walking” songs played: Walkin’ on Sunshine, Walk Like an Egyptian, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), and more. I love that it was a short walk. It’s not about the 3 mile (or 1 mile) walk, it’s about the people and the money and awareness raised. The short walk gave us more time for bonding with other arthritis warriors and supporters.

My two supporters were my beau PJ and my good friend Holly. PJ was the tattoo artist at the Arthritis Foundation booth and hooked kids and adults up with a “Kids Get Arthritis, Too” tats. Holly has been to nearly every Arthritis Walk since I starting going to the walks back in 2001. The walk is an early call for a Sunday (9am), so yay to PJ and Holly for coming out!

Those that raised $150 dollars or more were given a free ticket to get into the park for the rest of the day. Sweet! A group of six of us (thanks for the coaxing, Jocelyn!) went into the park after devouring burgers and hot dogs from the walk BBQ. We rode a few rides, got a little sunburned, and then called it a day.

It was great seeing people in the park with their Arthritis Walk shirts and Hero hats on as we wandered around the park.

Special thanks goes out to my good friend Mike for coming with me to the New York Arthritis Walk in Battery Park last weekend while I was in town visiting. NYC started their walk at 10am, which was kinda nice, I gotta say. Sometimes those joints don’t get moving until after 9am. 🙂

I’m looking forward to the Irvine Walk in two weeks that I’ll be doing with my brother and mom.

If you haven’t done so already, sign up for an Arthritis Walk near you and raise money for a cure and awareness for this often invisible disease.

Let’s Move Together! Arthritis Walks Are Here!

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Just wanted to send out a reminder that we are in the midst of Arthritis Walk season! I’m kicking off the season by attending the New York City walk in Battery Park on April 26. I’ll be visiting a friend there that weekend and couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning in NYC. I’m excited to see how the NY chapter rolls. The following weekend I’ll be attending and volunteering at my hometown walk — the San Fernando Valley Arthritis Walk in Valencia, Calif. at Magic Mountain. Then, on May 17th, I’ll be attending the Irvine, Calif. walk with my mom and my brother, which I’m very much looking forward to. And that will conclude my 2009 Arthritis Walk tour. I’d like to attend the Los Angeles walk at Santa Monica beach, but I will likely be out of town that weekend. 🙁

What walk are you attending? Are you bringing friend?. Are you raising money? Are you walking for someone special to you? Share your walk stories in the comments and feel free to post a link to your donation page!

Check out the national walk site for information about walks around the U.S. Find a walk in your area and start a team!

I’ll leave you with the words of my arthritis friend Jenn’s husband: Why run, when you can walk?

Annoying Arthritis Moment of the Week

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We all have them, right? For me, they sometimes occur several times a day. I’m talking about small incidents that sprout into a slap across the face that translates to, “You can’t do that, you dolt! You have an f’d up immune system.”

Yesterday, at lunch with co-workers, I couldn’t complete a seemingly simple task. I tried to cut off a piece of pizza with that server/spatula thingy (not a knife) and after what seemed like two long minutes (it was probably 15 seconds) of frustrated slicing with a dull object and no wrist strength, I finally gave up and asked my co-worker to finish what I started. I felt defeated. 

Defeated! I realize this sounds completely ridiculous. But it’s inane times like these that I often get most frustrated with my arthritis. A day of 24/7 dull pain? No problem. Can’t separate a piece of pizza piece from the others? I become seriously annoyed.

I can’t be the only one who feels like that. Am I? Bueller?

Great Gadgets: Electric Peeler To The Rescue

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Zyliss Multipeeler Electric Peeler CNET’s Appliances and Kitchen Gadget blog features an uber-cool electric peeler. Yup, you heard that right. Electric peeler. Now you can skin potatoes, apples, and carrots like a bad ass. The peeler even features an intimidating (if not a bit redundant) name: the Zyliss Multipeeler Electric Peeler.

In all seriousness, this tool looks like it is a great gadget that will diminish the “strain-saving factor when peeling a large pile of fruits or vegetables.” The review mentions that very little effort is required to operate this gadget. I don’t own one of these yet, but I think I see one in my future.

Brian Krepshaw, the kitchen gadget blogger writes, “Sometimes it’s nice to have a tool that actually makes the job easier.”

Amen to that!

Peeling at the speed of a button press [via CNET]

Check out the Zyliss Multipeeler Electric Peeler on Amazon.com

Do you own this or another arthritis-friendly kitchen gadget? Let us know in the comments!

Arthritis Today Magazine Boasts New Website

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Arthritis Today Website

I recently took a self-guided tour of the new Arthritis Today website and I must say, I’m very impressed! I think the site has the potential to be one of the top resources for people diagnosed with arthritis.

A few features that I liked:

The Tin Mom’s Blog: I’m glad ArthritisToday.org has a featured blogger who will share her stories on a bi-weekly basis. Reading about someone else’s struggle and success is comforting and inspiring.

Your Great Ideas: This is an excellent feature. I love reading about how people have handled a situation that I have been in. It’s great to get different perspectives on things. I hope that the web editors soon begin to categorize the items posted in this feature to make it even more useful to sift through what will probably turn out to be a massive archive.

Web Extras: It looks like each magazine issue will feature content that is exclusive to the website. Cool.

Exercise Videos: An email I received about the website touts 40 free exercise videos. I checked out a couple and found them brief, but very useful. Photos of exercises are sometimes just not enough for me to figure out how to properly execute a specific exercise. If photos are more your style, those are offered, too.

Community:
I love that there is a community aspect built into nearly every part of the website, allowing for further discussions of the material presented. Leave comments after most articles, tips, blog posts, etc.

I can’t determine if there will be an archive of older issues or if they will only keep two issues online at a time. Currently, portions of the March/April and May/June issues can be found on the site. I hope they decide to build an archive of all issues, going forward.

The information available on the website is varied and hits all the major topics that I think people with arthritis would be interested in reading about on a regular basis. I look forward to watching their content grow!

One more note, then I’ll let you go explore… Not all content from the current issue is posted online, but that’s okay. I’m sure a lot of the content that is featured in various categories on the site was, at one time, featured in the magazine. I like that the website offers something more enhanced from what you can get in a single copy of the magazine. And I think the ability to interact with the content and with other people via this website will make it quite popular.

Go check it out and leave your thoughts below about what you liked or didn’t like.