Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New PML case in Rituximab use

Well, this is a little scary-- my clinical trial coordinator had to call all of us, since Genentech announced a third case of PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a usually fatal brain disease) in a person taking rituximab for rheumatoid arthritis. They're just making calls to let people know, even though the study I'm in is a modified rituximab one, using ocrelizumab,a "humanized" MAb. As my coordinator put it, this makes 3 cases out of 100000 or so.

I like those odds. But it is a reminder that these drugs are WAY powerful. alas, not treating my MS is not an option! So tomorrow, back to PHX, more blood work, more MRI! Joy!

Click on the post title for the news on the PML case.


Kevin said...

Hey, I have MS as well, but I ran across your article when trying a search to see if there was an episode of House that involved PML.

I was on Copaxone first, for about 4 months until I developed an allergy to it and broke out in huge acute urticaria hives. Then I was on Avonex for about 9 months, and I never skipped an injection even though there were some weeks when the "flu-like" side effects lasted for most of the week until it was time to inject again. I eventually asked my neurologist to take me off that. She had me wait about a month without using any more Avonex ber starting me on Tysabri (Natalizumab). I know of the PML cases related to that, but like you said, the odds are good. I think I have a better chance of getting hit by lightning, and while I won't climb up on a mountaintop during a thunderstorm and shout that all gods are bastards while waving around my aluminum cane, I'm also not one to run and hide every time the sky rumbles. It's all about reasonable risk management, right?

Doc said...

It is indeed about reasonable risks. I'm willing to take the chance! Good luck with everything! And as far as I know, no House ep deals with PML-- yet!