Nov 252004

OK so I get this anonymous comment on my Tysabri/Antegren post which is just weird and rude on a number of levels.

  1. “The time is now to speak to your Neuro and get on Tysabri.” This is really coming off as more than a suggestion and telling me I need to switch to Tysabri. Something I find incredibly rude. While I am certainly no MS specialist I do my share of due diligence research.
  2. “I have spoken to at least 30 MS patients who will all be taking Tysabri.” I take it from your comment here is that you don’t have MS and aren’t a doctor. Pretty bold to be telling me my drug is crap switch to another drug. I certainly don’t mind posting flaws in the drugs and studies to the same – as I’ve posted a couple of times about Copaxone – but is this just an appeal to the masses (a logical fallacy I might add.) I bet I could find at least 30 people who use Bee Venom Therapy for their MS but that doesn’t mean I have any interest in that.
  3. “You can wait to use Tysabri, however you will be missing out on the 66% reductions in relapses and the shutdown of the disease.” I’ve posted before that I am very optimistic about this drug and most likely I will be on it. On the other hand you’re either delusional, astroturfing, and/or read too many marketing brochures if you think this drug will shutdown the disease.
  4. “Look at the one year MRI data-its great.” While this is kinda what we have the important thing is the reduction is disability. I care about disability not T2 enhancing lesions and there is a difference.
  5. “Serono is bad mouthing data because they are scared.” I don’t think I’d go as far as saying they’re scared but I’d never say that their motivations are altruistic. Since it is hard to get independent analysis of drugs the best you can hope for is competing drug companies pointing out the weaknesses of the others. I’ve heard talk of Serano doing a study of a head to head comparison of Rebif and Tysabri. If they do this and Tysabri wins on all counts we’ll never hear about it – on the other hand I’m sure there are good and bad to both drugs which this will bring to light.
  6. “Also for the Avonex users when Tysabri was added there was an additional 54% reduction in relapses.” Big problem with the SENTINEL trial was that they didn’t have a third group just using Tysabri and I think they will have a hard time importing in the AFFIRM data. What this means is that it leaves the question of whether the improvement was just Tysabri and thus it didn’t make a difference whether Avonex was used at all. Impact: I do believe that there is benefit to using both drugs but because they didn’t have the third group they have provided reasonable doubt that my insurance company will certainly use as a rationale to not pay for the combination.
  7. Lastly and something you didn’t really address is safety. This is a drug that modifies the immune system. There is the potential for some really nasty effects. I’m not saying wait twenty years but the two year Phase III trial isn’t even over yet. Per Elan “Patients who complete these trials are eligible for enrollment in a long-term safety extension study.” -which is as I believe additional safety information is critical. This is especially fresh on my mind with the very public withdrawal of the drug Vioxx because it could kill people.

Anonymous drop me an email. I’m curious why you are so pro Tysabri and down on the other drugs.

 Posted by at 5:59 pm

  5 Responses to “Astroturfing for Tysabri?”

  1. In defense of Vioxx (my favorite pain medication), if you take too much of anything you will start having problems (yes, even water). Too much ibuprophin will give you liver problems. And we still have no idea how regular asprin works. Im no shill for Antegren either and this ‘Propaganda Drive’ is highly dubious.

  2. Maybe I’m a cynic, maybe the Demerol is getting to me, but it sounds as if your commentor is a pharm rep. My husband has to work with pharmaceutical reps all the time, and there is NO line they won’t cross to get their product sold. Your blog comes up quite often on MS searches via Internet; I would not be in the least bit surprised if some pharm rep thought that this would be a good forum to get to some more MS patients.

    Food for thought.

  3. I agree — he definitely sounds like a pharmaceutical rep.

  4. I agree — he definitely sounds like a pharmaceutical rep.

  5. Hi Erik
    I am a neurologist. I agree the anonymous comment sounds weird. However, I think Tysabri is going to be a great drug. I understand a wait and see attitude because of concerns about safety, but if my patients have progressing disease in spite of there regular meds, I think Tysabri is a good option.
    The one year study does include over 1000 patients, so those are reasonable numbers.

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