As scientists we all know that making decisions on single data points is just so wrong. When it comes to the pharmaceutical industry then we are all conscious of the interplay of the nature of clinical testing, the use of statistics to “clarify” a drug’s performance and risks, the power of marketing to deliver that drug to the marketplace and how long term testing of the drug in the marketplace can deliver those “oops!” moments and result in withdrawals from the market. I am not going to name ANY drugs in regards to my comments above…you can make up your own favored set of oops-pharmaceuticals and favorite ads…

That said, when the quality of life of a family member or friend is so dramatically impacted in a positive sense by a drug it is worth celebrating. When life suddenly becomes worth living again and the gray pallor of daily struggle is replaced by a smile and red rosy cheeks then it should be acknowledged. With that may come the worry of long term side effects and downsides but for some the here and now is simply more important.

I am SURROUNDED by people with stomach conditions with labels such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis and so on. And, based on what a doctor has said, there all labels for similar conditions and the reality is the number of people with such conditions are increasing and while there are treatments it’s very complex to diagnose and treat. Many people don’t even know they have one of these conditions and put it down to upset stomach, gas or related general upset. Based on my experience the estimates of 4 million worldwide suffering such conditions is very low.

One of my friends has been in that gray pallor mode of life for a long time. >10 bowel movements per day (imagine the pain!), general distress on a daily basis and an inability to function in public life because of the need to be near to a public toilet. With multiple drugs prescribed over the years and being scoped through most orifices giving up on medicines was an option. And then he took Humira (adalimubab). Originally marketed for arthritis this drug is now showing good results in Crohn’s disease patients and, in the case of my friend, ulcerative colitis (but remember they are all mixed together!) There are potential serious side effects listed but this is a call to anyone out there with friends or family with one of the potential disorders listed above. If they are losing hope and are willing to challenge their doctors to try new medications suggest that the doctor review the potential of Humira. It put a smile on the face of my friend in less than a week and gave him back quality of life. We’ll see what happens long term.  (I’d like to point you to a chemical structure of Humira on ChemSpider but it is NOT a small molecule. You can find details on Drugbank though.)

Stumble it!

11 Responses to “Is Humira a Wonder Drug? One data point only…”

  1. John Doe says:

    My heart goes out to the millions of people that suffer from GI problems. It really does; however, what really has now irritated me about this website is that almost every blog entry is ENDORSING something… some type of product or service. I, personally, am getting tired of reading endorsements. Please try and raise your money on the side, sir.

    Further, I find it repulsive that you are now endorsing marketed drugs on your site. Is this another attempt at trying to get big pharma to advertise on your site? I certainly hope not. Please stick with what this website was meant to do and leave the drug marketing to the drug marketers.

  2. Antony Williams says:

    John Doe (now that’s an interesting it really your name? Mine is Antony Williams)

    As I commented in an earlier post about the nature of blogging ( you have to be thick-skinned sometimes to be in the blogosphere. I get that you don’t like that I posted about Humira. I’m not sure what I am endorsing (maybe the comment about choosing Sharepoint and using WinDirStat). However, this is not done with the intention of garnering money from Abbott labs but rather let people know about this one data point. Until you’ve seen family members and friends in severe pain with this type of problem you won’t appreciate the value of this type of advice. But, if my comment can be of value to help the health of one individual I’m glad. Mission accomplished for the day.
    I have made NO attempts to get large pharma to advertise on the site. Can you point to any such requests?
    As I commented previously…we all have judgments and opinions and I thank you for yours.

  3. Debra Banville says:

    John Doe’s interprettation of Antony’s blog differs from my own:

    Antony stated that he has an N of 1 in deciding that a drug is great and realizes that is not scientific. However, I thought his point was well stated that drugs can in some cases (not all cases) minimize suffering and when they do minimize suffering they can seem miraculous (my words, my interpretation). I saw Antony’s blog as a celebration and sharing of one such success. I would hope that we can all cite one type of success like this in our life or in the lives of others we know. Its chemistry at its best! Personnally, I was greatful to hear about one such success.

    I had a good friend who had a string of different cancers. Drug therapy extended her life another 25 years and sadly the same drugs took their toll on her liver. The fact that she got to raise her daughter in those 25 years was a blessing to her and all who knew her. Consider this an endorsement of life and chemistry!

  4. Nicko Goncharoff says:

    My interpretation differs as well. Like Antony, I have a friend who has suffered from GI disorders for years. I forwarded Tony’s posting to him, and he was very appreciative. Never once did I think Antony was trying to indirectly solicit big pharma to advertise on ChemSpider. I work with big pharma, and I can tell you that it takes far more than a blog posting to get them to spend money on your services.

    Furthermore, if one chooses to impugn another’s motives, one should have the fortitude and self respect to do so openly, rather than under the cover of an anonymous name. That’s just cowardly. Now, if the poster’s name truly is John Doe, than I offer an apology in advance!

  5. Andrew Anderson says:

    Funny: why does john doe confuse ChemSpider and the ChemSpider Blog…er, I don’t think you have to read the blog to use the service, right? Tony, are you putting ChemSpider Easter Eggs in your Blog Now? c’mon john doe, defend yourself!!! Those of us that enjoy this blog enjoy a spirit debate once in a while…

  6. Antony Williams says:

    No Easter Eggs from me Andrew. Those were Mr Doe’s comments as they arrived today. You know me well enough to engage in a debate (there’s a lot of evidence of that over the months :-) ). I’m glad to see that I haven’t been judged by others for what was simply an informational posting. I wonder whether Mr Doe is actually a user of ChemSpider and enjoys the value it’s bringing him? I’ve never heard from him before so it’s interesting this post produced such ire.
    For non-bloggers a piece of education for all…every Comment comes through with an associated IP Address so it’s easy to tell which domain it comes from (and therefore which company). VERY interesting indeed…and kind of amusing actually.

  7. Gary Martin says:

    This is another data point with n=1. If you’ve got something to say, fine, by all means say it, but at least have the anatomy to take credit for your opinion, whatever it is…

    As for that post being solicitous, the Brinks truck won’t be rolling up to Tony’s loaded with big pharma $$$ for that post any time soon. From my perspective it was a happy outcome for one individual who benefited from treatment with one drug that was being shared with those who read this blog. If someone else happens to benefit from learning of that individual’s success, that’s probably more than any of us has a right to hope for.

  8. crohns disease says:

    Over the years, some dietary foods predominant in vegetables and fruit have been thought of as protective. In contrast, fatty foods have been thought as increasing the risk for Crohn’s disease. The literature however has been inconsistent. As such, the controversy continues as the precise cause of Crohn’ s disease remains an enigma.

  9. adam says:

    Big Pharma is absolutely evil. they are a corporate machine designed to make money. Despite their worst intentions, Humira actually does work, it is an amazing and wonderful drug that I have personally witnessed helping 1000s of patients with various rheumatic diseases. Should it be less expensive? probably… but the better insurance companies cover the cost, and the medication makes a huge difference for many, many people. if you have a rheumatic disease, feel free to go to the non-profit websites for that disease, and read testimonials from doctors, and their patients who believe in the drug (without needing to be paid off by pharmaceutical drug representatives)

  10. Cher says:

    My ten year old niece takes Humira for Crohn’s. It seems to be working well for the Crohn’s but does seem to address concomitant Colitis. She is already on an “adult” dose. My best friend also takes Humira for RA and she is nearly symptom free.

    Still, I wonder about dietary treatments for my young niece…..

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