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Severe Relapse after Anti-cd11a (Xanelim) Trial
from Mike

Hi, I happened to find you via Google, in the process of searching to see if there were any new developments with anti-cd11a, for which I was a volunteer subject for a couple of stages of the phase 3 testing that ended here last February (2001).  I was one of the ones who went through severe relapse about six weeks after ending the treatments, and unfortunately my self-proclaimed-genius derm wasn't the type who believed in hospitalization.

I'm curious whether anyone else who used that drug has experienced long-term after-effects that seem to be tied to it, as I have?  In particular, areas around my ankles can become quite tender and sensitive to even the slightest friction, and if I don't cushion them they may open into small ulcerated patches that take forever to close over properly again.  My derm couldn't be bothered with them, other than to set me up for home care for bandaging.  Anyone else gone through this, and better yet, had any feedback as to how long before this problem gives up and returns to "normal" P?

I've got a new derm now, out of town, and he seems quite reasonable.  He recognizes that I've been dealing with this for something like 40 years now (I'm mid-50's), and that I accept that 99 percent of the time it's worse to look at than to have.  He's quite willing to be on "standby" in case of a flare-up, and he does have privileges at a small but excellent local inpatient/outpatient unit here.

And I like to think positive (I'm also a brain-injury survivor, and that teaches you a LOT about thinking positive).  My P is very stubborn, which is one of the reasons I was a top choice for the anti-cd11a testing.  But it's also quite likely a good indication that I've got a very strong immune/defense system.  Most bugs going around tend to pass me right by.

I've enjoyed the "feel" of your site, and plan to be back often to see what's happening. Best to all, -Mike

*****

[Received later:]

James asked (in the Feb. mail) — Is an Electric Razor Better for Face P?  Obviously I can only pass along two cents (got change?) based on my own experiences.

I switched to an electric razor years ago mainly because I've got what has to be the worst possible combination: a tough beard plus angular face plus the P.  I hadn't been aware of my old Gillette aggravating the P, but it sure left a lot of trickling nicks behind.  And since, in my case at least, P tends to jump on “real” injuries just as devoutly as on its own concept of injuries, I guess it probably didn't help any.

I never was crazy about electrics, especially back before my face “joined the party,” because I've never seen one that shaved anywhere near as neat as a blade.  But a good rotary with floating heads makes a not-too-bad second choice, especially on an angular face like mine. –Mike

*****

Ed’s Response:  Welcome, Mike.  Seems we’re collecting more war stories than success stories about the anti-cd11a trials.   (Anti-cd11a, an experimental drug, is a new monoclonal antibody designed to prevent activation of T-cells, which are considered a major factor in psoriasis.)  A search here on “anti-cd11a” reveals a number of emails, including reports of joint pain, lesion flare-ups and migraine headache upon ending the trial.  Of course, it could be that only folks with bad experiences are writing about them here.  We’ll have to wait and see what becomes of the drug.  We should hear something soon. Go here for a recent press release about the drug — commercial name Xanelim — from the manufacturers, Genentech and XOMA.

It is interesting that the coverage of Xanelim’s development and trials focus on effects during treatment (which is done by injection) and none of the things I have read have talked about what happens when treatment is stopped; i.e., relapse or side-effects.  But it’s the after-effects we’re hearing reports about here.  It will be interesting to see how Xanelim therapy is described when/if it hits the streets.

Thanks for your comments on electric vs. manual shaving.  It occurred to me, while reading your email, that there is another reason we become more tolerant of electrics as we grow older.  At least, this is true in my case (though I’m still not using an electric — too cheap to buy one).  When we get older the skin on our faces sags and wrinkles.  It’s no longer appropriate to worry about it being as smooth as a baby’s behind because few people are going to want to stroke it anyway.  Am I right? -Ed

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