Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!!

Our Mission Statement
Travel Tales
News for Use
Treatment WORKs
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatique
Patient's Stories
Work At Home
Golfing is FUN!!
Fun Links
More Shopping




Get to know the wide range of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis-related conditions. Learn what the experts say and what you must know before taking new medications, deciding on surgery or trying alternative therapies, like supplements and herbs.  

**Penny is currently receiving an infusion drip .. it is Remicade and it works to help control the pain and discomfort from Arthritis.. Penny also takes Celebrex and a steroid to help with the constant pain from inflamation.**

Horizontal Divider 21

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue

Fibromyalgia (pronounced fie-bro-my-AL-juh) is a real medical condition. It includes all-over muscle pain that can make it hard to do even day-to-day tasks. The pain may vary from mild to severe.

The muscle pain from fibromyalgia is one of the most common types of chronic widespread pain in the U.S. People with fibromyalgia may not know what is wrong with them or what is causing their pain. They may feel alone.

Once, there was no FDA-approved treatment for fibromyalgia.

LYRICA®(pregabalin) capsules CV is the first FDA-approved medicine to treat fibromyalgia in adults, 18 years and older. It can help relieve the unique pain of fibromyalgia.

This Web site will help you learn more about fibromyalgia and LYRICA.

Next: Possible Causes

LYRICA is not for everyone.LYRICA may cause serious, even life threatening, allergic reactions. Stop taking LYRICA and call your doctor right away if you have any signs of a serious allergic reaction. Some signs are swelling of your face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue or neck or if you have any trouble breathing, or have a rash, hives or blisters.

Drugs used to treat seizures increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. LYRICA may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, do not stop LYRICA without first talking to your doctor.

LYRICA may cause swelling of your hands, legs and feet, which can be serious for people with heart problems. LYRICA may cause dizziness and sleepiness. You should not drive or work with machines until you know how LYRICA affects you. Also, tell your doctor right away about muscle pain or problems along with feeling sick and feverish, or any changes in your eyesight including blurry vision or if you have any kidney problems or get dialysis.

Some of the most common side effects of LYRICA are dizziness, blurry vision, weight gain, sleepiness, trouble concentrating, swelling of your hands and feet, dry mouth, and feeling "high". If you have diabetes, tell your doctor about any skin sores.

You may have a higher chance for swelling and hives if you are also taking angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors so tell your doctor if you are taking these medications. You may have a higher chance of swelling of your hands or feet or gaining weight if you are also taking certain diabetes medicines. Do not drink alcohol while on LYRICA. You may have a higher chance for dizziness and sleepiness if you take LYRICA with alcohol, narcotic pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety.

Before you start LYRICA, tell your doctor if you are planning to father a child, or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you have had a drug or alcohol problem, you may be more likely to misuse LYRICA.

In studies, a specific type of blood vessel tumor was seen in mice, but not in rats. The meaning of these findings in humans is not known.

Do not stop taking LYRICA without talking to your doctor. If you stop suddenly you may have headaches, nausea, diarrhea or trouble sleeping and if you have epilepsy, you may have seizures more often.

View the Medication Guide.

View the Full Prescribing Information.

*** Penny is taking LYRICA, which is helping her deal with some of her painful auto-immune ailments ***

Horizontal Divider 21

Cymbalta and Fibromyalgia

Cymbalta has been approved by the FDA for the management of fibromyalgia and has been demonstrated to help reduce pain and improve function. Cymbalta is available only by prescription.

When Cymbalta was studied in patients with fibromyalgia, many people felt significant pain reduction, compared with patients taking placebo. Individual results may vary. Learn about how Cymbalta is believed to work.

Cymbalta Is Simple to Take

Cymbalta comes in a capsule and can be taken once a day to help lessen pain associated with fibromyalgia. Cymbalta can be taken with or without food. You should not break, open, or chew the capsule. It should be swallowed whole. Make sure you take only the dose your doctor prescribes.

Cymbalta is not for everyone. As with all medications, certain side effects may be experienced.

In clinical studies of fibromyalgia, the most commonly reported side effect of Cymbalta was mild to moderate nausea. Read more about the most common side effects and potential risks associated with treatment. For complete product information, please read the full Prescribing Information and Safety Information and Boxed Warning. Learn more about supporting someone with fibromyalgia if a friend or loved one has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Horizontal Divider 21

Psoriasis Treatments
Psoriasis is a common skin disorder in which there is a reddish scaly rash over the elbows, knees, scalp or elsewhere. About 10-15% of people with psoriasis develop arthritis.

Ustekinumab (Stelara®) Compared to Etanercept (Enbrel®)

January 21, 2010

In September 2009, the U.S. FDA approved ustekinumab (Stelara®) for plaque psoriasis. The biologic drug, a human monoclonal antibody, is the first in a new class of medications that work by blocking interleukin-12 and interleukin-23, naturally-occurring proteins that help regulate the immune system but are believed to play a role in psoriasis.

To help determine the relative benefits and safety of ustekinumab, scientists from the University of Manchester in England compared it to another biologic drug, etanercept (Enbrel®), which has a different method of action. A TNF-alpha inhibitor, etanercept blocks selective steps in psoriasis’ inflammatory process. Other TNF-alpha blockers, including adalimumab (Humira®) and infliximab (Remicade®), were not studied.

For the trial, the researchers randomly assigned 903 people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis to receive injections of ustekinumab—either a 45 mg or 90 mg dose—or a high dose of etanercept (50 mg) over 12 weeks. Ustekinumab was administered as two injections given the first and fourth weeks; etanercept was given as twice-weekly injections.

According to the results published in The New England Journal of Medicine, ustekinumab showed "superior" effectiveness to etanercept over the 12-week period. More people taking ustekinumab experienced a 75% improvement in psoriasis severity: 68% of people receiving 45 mg of ustekinumab and 74% of those receiving the 90 mg dose, compared to 57% of people receiving etanercept. In addition, a higher proportion of people using ustekinumab had skin clearance or minimal skin disease after 12 weeks, according to their doctors.

In a crossover study, people who didn't respond to etanercept received two injections of ustekinumab (90 mg) at weeks 16 and 20. At week 28, the researchers reported that 49% of those patients achieved at least 75% improvement in psoriasis severity.

Both drugs showed similar safety profiles over the 12-week study period. Around 70% of people in all three groups experienced at least one adverse health event. Four people in each treatment group also experienced a serious medical event.

The study was funded by Centocor, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson and the marketers of Stelara® (ustekinumab).

So what does this study mean for patients with psoriasis? It's further evidence that researchers are honing in on good targets for psoriasis treatment. "The results of this study could have implications for determining the optimal approach to the treatment of psoriasis and, in particular, the need for therapeutic strategies targeting Th1 cells, Th17 cells, or both to provide optimal benefit and safety," write the study authors. If your plaque psoriasis isn't well-controlled with systemic medications, it also demonstrates the effectiveness of biologic medications.

If you are taking etanercept, and your psoriasis has improved with treatment, this study alone isn't reason to switch treatments. The safety profile of etanercept has been established over years of clinical use. As a relatively new drug, ustekinumab's long-term safety isn't yet fully understood. But for people with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who have not responded to other treatments, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of ustekinumab.

*~*  Alert  *~*

Psoriasis drug Raptiva is withdrawn due to risk of fatal brain infection.

The maker of the psoriasis drug Raptiva (efalizumab) is pulling the drug from the U.S. market because of its association with a rare and usually fatal brain infection. Psoriasis patients taking Raptiva should immediately talk to their doctor about finding an alternative treatment, says the National Psoriasis Foundation. Stopping Raptiva abruptly could lead to a severe psoriasis flare, so patients should be sure to talk to their doctors before they stop treatment. 

Genentech, the drug’s maker, has announced a phased withdrawal of the drug, which is associated with a higher risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), which can attack people with weakened immune systems. 

Genentech researchers say that Raptiva’s effects typically wear off by 12 weeks after the patient’s last dose. “The risk of developing PML after 12 weeks should be greatly reduced,” said Bruce Bebo, Ph.D., Psoriasis Foundation research director. “Raptiva has a fairly short life in the immune system once the patient stops using the drug.”  

The removal of Raptiva underscores the need for more and better treatment options for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

We need your help to stop this backward trend and demand that people with psoriatic diseases have access to safe and effective treatments.  

Here are three ways you can help right now:

·         Write your senator and representatives in Congress, asking them to support the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Research, Cure and Care Act.

·         Donate your DNA to the National Psoriasis Victor Henschel BioBank to be used for psoriasis research.

·         Support Alyssa’s Fund, a campaign dedicated to finding what role the immune system plays in causing psoriatic diseases.

Links to Psoriasis Treatments
  • Humira:   (also known by its generic name adalimumab) is a biologic medication approved in October 2005 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis. In 2008 it was approved for treating psoriasis, and it is also approved for treating rheumatoid arthritis. For more information about biologics as a class of treatment, please see the For more information about biologics as a class of treatment, please see the biologics section.

    Key features

    • FDA-approved for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
    • Patients give themselves an injection under the skin every other week
    • Patients should be screened for latent (hidden) tuberculosis (TB) before taking Humira
    • Long-term side effects still being evaluated

    How does it work?

    Humira blocks tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), a chemical "messenger" in the immune system that signals other cells to cause inflammation. There is too much TNF-alpha in the skin of people with psoriasis and the joints of people with certain types of arthritis.

    TNF-alpha can also lead to increased immune system activity through the activation of immune cells, including T cells. T cells are a type of white blood cell in the body; in psoriasis, once T cells are mistakenly activated, they can trigger inflammation and other immune responses and fuel the development of psoriasis lesions.

    Humira helps lower the amount of TNF-alpha, thus interrupting the inflammatory cycle of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and leading to improvement in symptoms for many people who take it.

    Who is a candidate?

    Humira is prescribed for people with moderate to severe psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis.

    Who should not take Humira?

    • People with active serious infections or a history of recurrent infections
    • People with a history of heart failure
    • People with multiple sclerosis or other similar types of demyelinating neurologic diseases
    • Children—the medication has not been approved for children
    Caution is advised for people who experience any numbness or tingling, or have ever had a disease that affects the nervous system.

    Caution is also advised for the elderly, due to the already increased risk of infection for this age group.

    The impact of Humira on pregnant women or developing fetuses is not known, nor is it known if the medication passes into breast milk in nursing women. Humira should only be given to pregnant or nursing women if there is a clear medical need, and if this decision is reached by a patient and doctor together.

    How is it used?

    Patients take Humira at home by giving themselves an injection under the skin, similar to diabetes patients who give themselves insulin injections. The recommended dose for patients with psoriatic arthritis is 40 mg every other week. Humira is designed to be taken continuously to maintain improvement.

    The medication can be prescribed by itself or in combination treatment with methotrexate, a systemic medication prescribed for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In clinical studies, people taking Humira in combination with methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis experienced more disease improvement than patients taking Humira or methotrexate alone. It is also safe to take Humira with pain relievers, such as NSAIDs, that are often taken for arthritis.

  • Neoral: (cyclosporin) Psoriasis is affected by the immune system. It is thought that T cells over-react to a stimulus Psoriasis conditions, causing the scaling and inflammation of the skin. Cyclosporin can be used in severely disabling and resistant forms of these conditions to suppress the action of the T cells and therefore improve the scaling of the skin. 

    Cyclosporine (brand name Neoral) is a prescription systemic medication used to treat psoriasis. It has been available since 1995 to help prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. It can be taken by adult patients with severe, difficult-to-treat psoriasis. In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cyclosporine as a psoriasis treatment.

  • PUVA: A key treatment for psoriasis is PUVA which stands for psoralen (P) + ultraviolet A (UVA). A person is first given psoralens (drugs containing chemicals that react with ultraviolet light) and then exposed to UVA light. This treatment is very effective but elevates the risk of skin cancer. Why has not been known. New Finding: There is an increased prevalence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) in hairs plucked from patients with psoriasis treated with PUVA. HPV is tumorigenic (it causes the formation of tumors).    

    Comments: This is an important new finding because psoriasis is common and PUVA is a key treatment for it. The idea is that PUVA promotes skin cancer by increasing HPV in the skin. PUVA may do this by stimulating the replication of the virus or by immune suppression, or both.

  • Amevive: Alefacept is an injectable drug that suppresses the immune system and is used for the treatment of psoriasis. Scientists believe that psoriasis is caused by an increase in the production of one type of immune cell, T-lymphocytes, in response to the attachment of a stimulant (antigen) to the lymphocyte. The stimulated T-lymphocytes cause skin cells to grow rapidly, and the rapid growth of the skin cells produces the skin plaques of psoriasis.

    Alefacept reduces the stimulation and production of T-lymphocytes by attaching to the site on the T-lymphocytes where the antigen attaches. This prevents the antigen from binding and activating the T-lymphocytes. Alefacept also decreases the life-span of T-lymphocytes that already have been produced by increasing the activity of another type of immune cell, natural killer cells, that kill T-lymphocytes.

    Alefacept was approved by the FDA in January, 2003. 

  • Enbrel:  ENBREL can dramatically reduce psoriasis symptoms

    Imagine, clearer skin, month after month. If you have psoriasis, a recent medical breakthrough could make this a reality for you, because ENBREL has now been approved for the treatment of adult patients (18 years or older) with chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy or phototherapy. Many people have seen dramatic improvements while taking ENBREL, and it could make a big difference for you, too.

    ENBREL can start working fast—and keep working

    ENBREL can help you stay clearer, month after month. In medical studies, psoriasis patients saw significant results:

    • 3 out of 4 psoriasis patients who took ENBREL had at least a 50% improvement in skin symptoms after 3 months of treatment. What’s more, almost half of the patients studied had at least a 75% improvement.
    • Nearly half of the psoriasis patients studied were determined to be clear or almost clear by 3 months (based on a five-point scale on which 0 = "clear" and 1 = "almost clear").
    • Improvement was seen in many psoriasis patients as early as 4 weeks.
  • Methotrexate: is a folic acid derivative and a folic acid antagonist. Methotrexate counteracts and competes with folic acid in cells. This blocks DNA synthesis and stops the growth of rapidly dividing cells, causing cell death.

    MTX works best on extensive psoriasis, erythrodermic and acute pustular psoriasis, physically disabling psoriasis of the palms and soles, psoriasis in the elderly, and severe psoriatic arthritis.

    The majority of patients achieve significant or even complete clearing of their disease with MTX. The clearance or remission can last for a few weeks to a year or more after stopping therapy.

    MTX can be highly effective in reducing symptoms of psoriatic arthritis and arresting joint destruction caused by certain forms of psoriatic arthritis.

    MTX can be taken either by mouth or by injection. The most common way people take MTX is by mouth, either as a pill or in a liquid form. The physician will gradually adjust the dose to the smallest amount needed to achieve clearance. This minimizes the possibility of the patient experiencing side effects. MTX is usually taken in a single dose once a week.

    The physician will not increase the dose of MTX to achieve total clearing (100 percent) if a few stubborn lesions remain. Instead, another therapy will generally be added, such as UVB, cortisones, or anthralin, to clear the remaining lesions.

    The physician will perform a number of tests, including kidney and liver tests, to ensure the drug is safely metabolized by the body and is not adversely affecting the liver or bone marrow.

    If long-term MTX therapy is anticipated, the physician may require a needle biopsy of the liver. The biopsy may be given before or after starting the drug and at intervals while the drug is taken.

    The initial liver biopsy may be postponed for several months after MTX therapy has begun. This is to avoid an unnecessary procedure in case MTX therapy is stopped for any reason in a short period of time. Reasons for stopping MTX would include lack of patient response, unacceptable side effects, or rapid response not requiring any additional drug.

  • Privacy Policy: Any and ALL private identifying information that You email to us will be kept in the strictest of confidence. No person or person affiliated with "Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!!" will maintain records of information submitted privately.

    We will use Your name on Your stories 'ONLY' if requested by You.

    Your anonymity is respected by "Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!!"

    If you post personal identifying information on the guestbook, that is your choice.  By posting any information on this site, You are agreeing that "Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!!" and ALL associates will be held harmless in the event that information is copied or used by others.

    If You would like information about this site or need assistance,
    Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!! Bakersfield, CA 93312

    This site was Designed and Published by Roger L & Harriette 'Penny' McCoy
    With the help of

    ... February 10, 2009 - Current 2014 ...

    previously known as 

    ... 1997 through February 10, 2009 ...

    Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!! Staying Happy, Staying Healthy & HUGZ from Grammee, characters, logos, names and all related indicia

    are trademarks of Stay Happy, Stay Healthy!!, © 1975-2014.

    All rights reserved.

    Sign Guestbook
    Open Book