Arthritis Drugs Cause Fatal Fungal Infections

fatal fungal infectionThe U.S. FDA has ordered stronger warnings on four medications widely used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, saying they can raise the risk of possibly fatal fungal infections.

Enbrel, Remicade, Humira and Cimzia work by suppressing the immune system to keep it from attacking your body. For people with rheumatoid arthritis, the treatment provides relief from swollen and painful joints. But the drugs also lower your body's defenses against various kinds of infections.

The FDA became concerned after discovering that doctors seemed to be overlooking a particular kind of fungal infection called histoplasmosis. The infection is prevalent in much of the middle part of the country, and it can have grave consequences if it isn't caught early and spreads beyond the respiratory system to other organs of your body.

Of 240 cases reported to the FDA in which patients taking one of the four drugs developed this infection, a total of 45 (or about 20 percent) died.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This is another example of why I continually warn that most rheumatoid arthritis drugs are simply far too dangerous to use and fail to address the cause of the problem.

Studies have shown that people who take the drugs Humira or Remicade double their chance of getting a serious infection, and triple their risk of developing a number of different kinds of cancer. These drugs have also been linked to lymphoma, tuberculosis and pneumonia, along with skin, gastrointestinal, breast and lung tumors. Enbrel has also been found to worsen congestive heart failure, and all four drugs are being investigated for increasing the risk of cancer in children and young adults.

Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, and Cimzia are powerful drugs, all of which block a protein called tumor necrosis factor, and are therefore known as TNF-blockers. They work by blocking a part of your immune system, and are used to treat not only rheumatoid arthritis but also psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and other immune diseases.

TNF blockers have been among the most successful of all biotechnology drugs. Remicade, Humira and Enbrel had combined sales of more than $13 billion in 2007!

Why are these drugs so popular, despite their very serious side effects and astronomical price tags (taking Remicade for one year will set you back about $12,000)? Because rheumatoid arthritis can be an extremely painful and debilitating disease, and most doctors direct people to these medications for relief.

It’s certainly understandable why people would take them, particularly when they’re presented as the only option. In reality, taking these TNF-blockers now may relieve your pain, but at what cost?


A deadly fungal infection?

Pneumonia or heart failure?

Most people are simply not aware of what’s at stake, or that there are options for treating arthritis that do not involve these drugs.

The Drug-Free Way to Overcome Rheumatoid Arthritis

I have treated over 3,000 patients with my revision of Dr. Brown’s Antibiotic Protocol since the late '80s, and the success rate is well over 80%. It really is amazing how powerful the healing potential of your body is once you address causal factors and provide it with the essential healing tools and resources.

The protocol involves:

1. Improving your diet using a combination of my nutritional guidelines and nutritional typing.

2. Getting plenty of omega-3 fats by taking a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 supplement, like krill oil.

3. Getting your vitamin D levels checked and, if necessary, taking a supplement if you can't get daily sun exposure. This is absolutely crucial and, in my opinion, gross medical negligence and malpractice if it is not performed on nearly every RA patient, as nearly all RA patients have low vitamin D levels.

4. Having an effective method of addressing the nearly universal underlying emotional distresses that are present in most all autoimmune diseases like RA.

5. Incorporating regular exercise into your daily schedule. If your joints are painful, gentle exercises like yoga and Tai Chi are recommended. You may also want to have a consultation with an exercise professional so no permanent joint damage is done as a result of joint deformities.

Rather than suppress your immune system like most rheumatoid arthritis medications, these steps will actually help to repair the underlying imbalances in your body that are causing rheumatoid arthritis. It is important for you to work with your health care professional, someone who understands natural medicine, as you go through this process (if your doctor is recommending Enbrel, Remicade, Humira, or Cimzia, they DO NOT understand the damage that occurs when you artificially suppress your immune system, and I would suggest seeking guidance elsewhere).

As I said, these steps have helped thousands of people to become free of rheumatoid arthritis pain. As you work through the process -- and as your body begins to restore balance -- you can use these natural anti-inflammatory alternatives to help treat your pain until the disease itself is under control.

+ Sources and References