August '02 | briefing | mail | don't say this | flakers' jargon | flaker creativity | articles | other places | archives | send mail | ed dewke | legal stuff | order | search | 2001 Ed Dewke

Amevive Trial Subject’s Experience
from Art C.

Hello.  During a web search for info on the progress of Biogen's Amevive towards obtaining final FDA approval, I read Any Amevive Trial Subjects Out There? from Tiffany.  In your response to the author, you decried the dearth of any input from actual test subjects. For what it's worth, I'll briefly recount my experience.

In January of 1999, I signed up for a six month test program conducted by a facility affiliated with the University of California, Irvine Medical Research Department. By that time in my life (I was 49, at the time) the disease, which had first reared its abominable head fifteen years earlier as a small, quarter-sized patch on the back of one calf, just above the ankle, had progressed to a severe stage of heavy plaque build-ups on both arms and legs (especially around the elbows and knees) and all across my lower back and upper buttocks.

I had tried most all the cortisone, UV, and over-the-counter remedies. All to no avail.

The test program at UCI consisted of approximately 6 weeks of biweekly injections, followed by six weeks of weekly injections, after which I continued to come in for observation and blood testing on a semi-weekly until the six months was up.

Here's a rough timeline as to the results of the treatment:

Weeks 1-2: I noticed little, if any improvement to my condition.

Week 3: There was a slight reduction in the size and density of the affected areas.

Weeks 4-6: The rate improvement was astonishing!

Weeks 7-10: I no longer had any apparent symptoms, anywhere on my body! Even the areas that I had thought would be permanently discolored or scarred returned to normal.

Weeks 11-12: Believe it or not, I no longer even had a speck of dandruff!

After just three months of treatment, during which I experienced not the slightest discomfort or side effects, the transition was truly amazing!

I was a free man for the first time in over a decade! That July, I returned to the beach in a T-shirt and shorts. After so many years spent prisoner to my "disguise" clothing, the experience was one the happiest days of my life!

Since, remarkably, the drug continued to stave off any recurring symptoms until well into the Spring of 2000, I was hoping against hope that I was permanently cured. However, the cursed disease slowly began to re-manifest itself and, by the end of the year, I was right back where I started!  

I've been following the progress of Amevive through the FDA approval very closely. As soon as it's available, you can bet that I'll be one of the first to demand it! Sincerely, -Art C.


Ed’s Response:  Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Art.  I’m sure the folks at Biogen are going to be tickled.  I am.  I’m thinking very seriously about abandoning my (near valueless) place on the waiting list (26,000) for Enbrel when Amevive gets final approval.  Depending on price, we might find a fight with the insurance companies, but I know conscientious derms and the NPF are girding up to help fight the fight. 

For readers who may not be up-to-date on this story:  Amevive (a.k.a. alefacept) is one of the new biologic drugs (derived from living tissue rather than dead chemistry — wow, what a lazy way to say that!) that has many flakers excited.  For more info on Amevive visit  And, for the latest news about the Amevive FDA approval process,


This Month's Mail | Archives