Next! Apr 15, ’09 8:25 PM
for Mel ‘s network

Had a doctor appt yesterday…. no surprise to me, the meds are not working again.  I figured as much.  It was the third time I had a round of the infusion, so the third year of taking it and that is the MO for my disease.  Two to three years and my immune system adapts and overcomes the medications.

So, what is next?  Well, there is only one option.  It is called Orencia.  It works by attaching itself to my t-cells and interfering with the way that my disease attacks the cells and my body.  I will put the long explanation at the end of this blog, in case anyone wants to read it.

I will get an infusion, then another in 2 weeks, then every 4 weeks after that…. until it stops working I guess.  So, infusions all the live long day.  Have I mentioned I hate needles?  I think I have.  In case I haven’t?  I effin hate needles.  ESPECIALLY when they are in MY arm.

Lots of special fun side effects with this drug too.  Simply cannot wait.  Also?  Since the rituxan is still in my system for another 8 months, I will be working with no b cells and incapacitated t cells. 

 In other words….. don’t sneeze on me.


Here is all the (boring) technical info:

Orencia is an injectable, synthetic (man-made) protein produced by recombinant DNA technology that is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

The immune system is responsible for protecting the body against foreign invaders, for example, infectious agents such as bacteria. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, however, the immune system attacks and destroys normal tissue in and around the joints, causing pain, inflammation and damage to bone and cartilage.

T-lymphocytes are important cells of the immune system. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have increased numbers of T-lymphocytes within the joints that are inflamed. The T-lymphocytes are “activated,” that is, they multiply and release chemicals that promote the destruction of tissues surrounding the joints and cause the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Orencia acts like an antibody and attaches to a protein on the surface of T-lymphocytes. By attaching to the protein, abatacept prevents the activation of the T-lymphocytes and blocks both the production of new T-lymphocytes and the production of the chemicals that destroy tissue and cause the symptoms and signs of arthritis. Orencia slows the damage to bones and cartilage and relieves the symptoms and signs of arthritis. Orencia was approved by the FDA in December, 2005.

Are you asking yourself what will happen to me if Orencia doesn’t work?  I am, not sure if you are.  But, anyway…. I actually knew about Orencia back when I started Rituxan… it was approved sooner.  We actually skipped over it because my doctor thought Rituxan was more powerful.  So, not surprisingly, with my shockingly positive attitude (that was sarcasm… I am the negativity queen) I am not hopeful it will work.  So, I am gonna start praying now that a new drug will get FDA approved here in the next year.  You can pray too.  That’d be nice of ya.


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