Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big Pharma - helping me - but screwing you over.

Got the results from the mixed meal tolerance test in Utah. A1c is 5.8. Awesomeness. C-peptide started out really low, but it went up to 2.7, which is really quite good. Honeymooning 21 months after diagnosis? Also awesomeness. My pancreas still works, baby, and even if it's not doing its job completely, I'll take what I can get.

The big news, though - the day I went up there, was the day the office learned that the drug company is pulling all studies of this drug. END. NADA. NOBODY ELSE GETS IT. I did Protege, which had already stopped enrolling because it was full, but Protege Encore? (same drug/same dosage) OVER. Subcue? (drug give with needles instead of infusion) STOPPED. Everybody was in complete shock, they couldn't figure out why. The official reason is that the efficacy goal wasn't reached.

HOW could this drug not be effective? The office I go to has the largest enrollment, and they've seen incredible results. 3 people off insulin, snacking on Snickers bars. Nobody's Lantus dose is over 12, and they've had many people drastically drop - like from 30 to 6. And yes, most people stay on insulin, but the main goal of the drug was to drop insulin usage and extend the honeymoon - which was totally happening. Maybe other sites were teaching their subjects differently - i.e. saying they didn't need to manage their diabetes, see if the drug does that - I don't know, but saying the drug is ineffective just blows my mind, and everyone else working with it.

It's also supposed to decrease the number of lows, and you want to know how many hypoglycemic events I've had in the last 6 months? TWO. And both times, I know the reason why (more exercise than usual). I am no longer terrified of going low - I mean, I still carry candy, but I hardly ever use it. That right there makes it worth it.

You know, in the beginning, I would Google all the time, trying to find people that were in the study, see what happened to them, and I would find little snippets here and there, 100% positive. I still do that, actually. And I did see on one board somewhere (and I can't find it now, which is driving me crazy) a comment from someone that struck me as paranoid. It was when Eli Lilly bought into the study (it used to just be MacroGenics, and it happened while I was enrolled) and he said something to the effect of "Eli Lilly always buys into Type 1 studies that look promising, says they aren't effective, and then kills them. Just watch. That's what will happen." And spookily enough, here we are. Eli Lilly was in charge, declared it ineffective, and killed all the studies with teplizumab.

It's almost enough to make me a conspiracy theorist. I mean, the dude predicted it. The press release (found here) says it was an independent committee, but hmmm....

(The office also found Eli Lilly much harder to work with. Reimbursements for travel and other payments started taking much longer to get.)

I don't know why a drug company would kill it, though. I mean, most people don't go off insulin. They still need the test strips, the needles, the insulin, the money makers for the drug companies. They just get an additional drug, which you think would be win/win for the drug company. Make diabetes MORE expensive, but with the added benefit of extended honeymoon/fewer lows/increased quality of life for the diabetic. But the whole thing stinks of money somehow - maybe they wouldn't get people to pay for the drug, after all, every doctor I've ever mentioned to that I took this, pauses for a second and says "that has got to be one expensive drug." So possibly they were worried they'd get it approved only to have it sit on the shelf as insurance companies and patients opt not to pay for it.

The whole thing just really really bothers me. I don't like the feeling of not trusting the data. What other drugs were stopped in the past and/or will be stopped in the future? I don't like that nobody else will get this drug, when I would totally recommend it to anybody newly diagnosed. I don't like feeling like the search for a cure has taken HUGE steps backwards, all because of the almighty dollar.

But hey, MY numbers are good. I'M lucky, I guess. But there should be more than just a handful of us.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things That Make Me Say "Ouch"

I got my pneumonia shot (finally!) on Saturday. It still hurts. That was one heck of a needle, too. I had no idea.

My new exercise "regime" is to do something every day so that I'm a little bit sore the next day, just to remind myself that I'm alive, and I did something good for my body. Does being sore from the shot count? I'm going with "yes." (and "no.")

The only problem with the exercise "plan" is that I'm having to do more and more in order to feel the effects, and I try not to think about how eerily similar that is to alcohol/drug tolerance.

I guess it's good because it means I'm getting stronger, and it makes me work separate areas of my body, but it's bad because well, exercise isn't all that fun to do, even if it DOES actually make you feel better afterwards and helps your sugars.

And on that note, I have a DVD to work out to before the kids get home from school. Since my arm hurts, I think I'll do the ab portion. It has never failed yet to get me sore.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

So, today.

I was reminded today of two things:

1. Pizza is the devil.

2. Exercise really matters - even in small amounts. Sitting around reading all day is not good for your sugars. Especially when you're reading a book about end of the world type disasters (thanks Andi!) and you're pretty convinced that if anything like that ever happened, you would die early and leave your family to deal with it themselves. Which would suck. Well, for them, anyway.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Monitor Musings

Ok, so I've been frustrated with my monitor at times. I asked my doctor about it, and well, got the same answer everyone elese gives me - they're all basically the same, and FreeStyle's data is pretty good, so...I stuck with it. I still had a bunch of test strips, after all.

Freestyle has these new test strips now, with a butterfly on them, and I like them. They take less blood, they register more quickly, etc. But I noticed since I switched, my sugars have been a little lower. Coincidence?

This morning, my fasting sugar was 73. Hmm...I felt a little low, I guess, but nothing major. (Not that 73 is super major, but eating is definitely warranted at that point.) I still had one pack of old test strips left, and I mean 'old' as in 'filled last month' not 'old' as in 'past expiration date'. So I tested with that, and it said 85.

So..maybe the old test strips really did run a little high. Who knows?

In other news, I will be headed to Utah in a couple of weeks for another Mixed Meal Tolerance Test to see if I'm still making insulin. My fasting sugar has to be above 80. Maybe I'll bring my old strips, just in case. :)

MORE: Pre lunch: OLD: 98. NEW:80. Ummm.....