Q & A Library
Tuning in to Toxicity?
On "Larry King Live" recently you discussed the drugs Methotrexate and/or Enbrel and their complications. Could you elaborate?
Answer (Published 5/14/2003)
I was asked about these drugs by a woman whose husband was being treated for psoriatic arthritis, a type of arthritis that usually occurs among people who have the skin disease psoriasis. The caller said her husband had been treated with methotrexate, a powerful immunosuppressive drug, and had been switched to Enbrel, a much newer, equally powerful immunosuppressive that works in a different way.
I told about a patient of mine with rheumatoid arthritis, who was put on Enbrel. Her symptoms vanished as if by magic, but within six months she developed uterine and breast cancer, both probably influenced by the drug. Enbrel blocks some functions of the immune system, increasing susceptibility to serious infections, anemia and malignancies. Because of these possible and very serious adverse reactions, I recommend using Enbrel only as a last resort for autoimmune diseases that do not respond to other measures.
Both psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis result from the immune system attacking the body's own tissues. These reactions may be triggered by infection, tissue injury, or emotional trauma in people with a genetic predisposition to them.
I am not opposed to using prednisone, methotrexate, and other immunosuppressive drugs for the short-term management of severe cases, but I advise experimenting with more natural methods of long term control. These include:
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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