Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrier http://rawarrior.com/ is a blog that I follow regarding Rheumatoid Arthritis, which I have. Kelly that writes this blog is so good with disseminaing all kinds of valuable information about the auto immune disease known as RA. Today her post was particularly pertinent to me as I started on Remicade in 2001 and took it until 2007 when I started taking Humira and sometime in 2008 I started on Enbrel, which I will dose myself with tonite. I have cut and pasted the comments below:
1) The Remicade weight gain mystery:
Patients have sometimes wondered aloud whether Remicade treatments contribute to weight gain, especially since RA disease activity tends toward weight loss. This spring, a study on infliximab (Remicade) “showed that anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha (anti-TNF-α) infliximab therapy is associated with an increase of body fat mass in early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) independently of changes in disease activity and levels of leptin and adiponectin.” The patients who had been claiming “Remicade made me gain weight” had been correct all along.
The report seems to imply that other TNF- α blockers (like Enbrel, Humira or Simponi) could have similar effects. Apparently, TNF- α blockers influence production of a hormone called ghrelin, the level of which has been implicated in Rheumatoid cachexia (wasting due to disease activity) and obesity.
OK, I’m sure that I cannot blame all my weight gain on these medications, but I did take prednisone for 2 years following a ski accident in 2007 and that definitely contributed to my current state of fatness. I sometimes wonder if its a chicken/egg scenario – is it the disease itself that slows us down because of pain and fatigue? or the meds that contribute to it? and do RA patients baby themselves as well? Hard to say, but I recall when Vioxx was withdrawn from the market as it contributed to heart disease, I wondered if it’s the meds or the disease they treat that contributes more to the heart disease. These meds treat diseases where there is inflammation and pain and therefore it logically follows that the patient becomes less active and fit and so is it the chicken or the egg???
On a side note, as a sports fan, I’m so excited for the start of football tonite, even if it’s pre-season!! Go Pats!!