Ankylose This! Living with Ankylosing Spondylitis

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Vioxx lawsuit: $253 million

More on the COX-2 front. Once Vioxx was pulled from the market, the lawyers got busy. A plaintiff in Texas has won a $253-million (U.S.) judgment against Merck; her husband died of a heart attack while taking Vioxx in 2001. Her lawyer expects the final award to be reduced, and Merck is appealing. All told, Merck is facing $8 to $25 billion in potential liabilities from various lawsuits, which apparently number around 4,200.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cartilage transplant

Dear All,
Does anybody know about cartilage transplant. I read thru the following link which talks about the same :
Please let me know if you know anybody or had yourself gone thru any such procedure.
I am desperate to save my hip joints from replacement surgery and would like to try this alternate treatment if its feasible.

Anticipating replys,


Thursday, August 11, 2005

TNF-alpha as deus ex machina

Marilyn Linton's profile of AS sufferer David Atkins, which appeared in both the Toronto Sun and London Free Press, follows a familiar pattern: explain the illness, describe the profiled individual's experience, and show how he's managed to overcome it. In this case, that means one of the new TNF-alpha drugs, the efficacy of which is becoming more and more apparent, if previous reports on this blog (including Parag's this morning) are any indication. The more of these stories I read, the more I see TNF-alphas as the deus ex machina of our disease: after long suffering, sudden and profound relief. Makes a nice story; too bad so few of us are on them, or could afford them.

See previous entries: The Ottawa Sun on Enbrel and AS; TNF-alpha in the Times; The Silver Bullet; AS and TNF; Remicade (infliximab) and ankylosing spondylitis. See also an August 2002 entry from my personal blog.

As I've said before, I think this kind of profile is useful in terms of raising awareness of the disease, but if "Tin Man disease" catches on as a nickname for AS, someone is going to die.

Infliximab Experience

Dear friends,
I was adviced to take infliximab (also known as Remicade) because of severe pain and swelling in nearly all my joints. 200 mg of Infliximab was intravenously infused for nearly 8 hours. First 20 ml was infused under great observation to make sure that there is no adverse reaction. Before that I was advised some blood tests and chest X-Ray to make sure that I am fit for taking this anti-TNF drug. Fortunately, my body responded well to this drug. Within 24 hours, I had 90 % relief from pain and swelling. Both my hips are nearly fused. Those are the only joins now, which are still painful. I will be given 2 more such infusions after interval of 3-3 weeks. My Immunologist is hoping that hip condition should improve after these 3 doses, as it is not good to go for hip replacement surgery (my age is 26, and generally hip replacement is not suggested at this age). So my suggestion is, that infliximab is magic drug and will make u nearly normal, atleast in cases where complete fusion of joints has not yet happened. This gives me lot of hope and reason to look forward for painless and healthy future.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Guitarist's daughter also has AS

Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars has ankylosing spondylitis; that's been widely reported. In a twist of fate that AS sufferers can appreciate, so does his daughter.

Belly dancer with ankylosing spondylitis

Perhaps we should all take up belly dancing. (Richard did ask about safe exercises. Get to it, man.)

Friday, August 05, 2005

Cervicothoracic extension osteotomy

This abstract from the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery describes what has to be the worst-case surgical procedure: cervicothoracic extension osteotomy, performed in cases of chin-on-chest deformity among ankylosing spondylitis patients. If I'm parsing this correctly, and I may not be, this means that when your spine has completely fused, and fused in a way that your neck curls forward so that your chin is on your chest, they cut into your spine and remove bone to straighten you out, at considerable risk. (The full article is for-pay only, and expensive at that.)

This is why they're always on about us maintaining good posture, isn't it?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

AS and safe exercise

What do you guys think is safe?
I've been told no high-impact, like no hockey.

What about something like mountain biking?

Monday, August 01, 2005

FDA approves Celebrex for ankylosing spondylitis

Along with the news that Celebrex's label will come with new warnings about its cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risks comes word that the FDA has approved it for anyklosing spondylitis (press release, Reuters). Considering that many of us have been prescribed it for AS anyway -- many drugs are prescribed as treatments for which they are not approved -- I have no idea how significant this announcement is.