Author: Belinda (---.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net)
Date: 08-03-06 09:34
First-line cancer drugs usually work because they are cytotoxic, killing cells and stopping cell growth. Other cancer drugs may be used to attempt to relieve symptoms or side effects from treatment.
Medicine uses a 'risk versus benefit' approach to evaluate whether any potential benefit from a drug is worth the known risk of side effects use of that drug. This is analogous to the trade-off of the cost of buying something versus the value of an item. In medicine, though, the risk/cost is in terms of how patient health is adversely affected.
The people at Cochrane Collaboration just published a report called Immunosuppressive and cytotoxic therapy for pulmonary sarcoidosis. They looked at trials comparing methotrexate, chloroquine, cyclosporin A and pentoxifylline. Their conclusion was:
"Sarcoidosis is a condition that can affect most of the organs in the body, including the lungs, heart, brain, bones, liver and skin. Patients who have severe disease or those who do not respond to treatment with steroids are often given powerful agents that suppress the immune system in an attempt to control the disease. However, these drugs have severe side effects. There is no evidence at the moment that the benefits of these drugs outweigh their side effects."
The NHLBI information about sarcoidosis cautions:
"Most of these other drugs [beyond prednisone, a corticosteroid] are immune system suppressants. This means that they prevent your immune system from fighting things like bacteria and viruses. As a result, you may have a greater chance of getting infections.
Most of these drugs also can cause serious side effects. Some also could increase your chances of getting cancer, especially if you take them at high doses."
*MODERATOR* Dx: FM 80's, sarcoidosis '01; Lung, skin, spleen, liver and neuro. Refused Prednisone. 7/02 1,25-D 61.1, 25-D 14.3. MP since '02 PhaseIII with symptoms gone, slight Herx. Improved PFTs, CTs, X-ray, energy and stamina. I walk 3-4 mi daily now