July 10, 2006

Hitmen from Pfizer Next?

The article I mentioned below came out today, in Bu---- W--k Online Magazine and in it yours truly is the Poster Child for "people who don't want to use Exubera." Unfortunately, the interviewer didn't go so far as to actually quote what I'd said in email and a subsequent phone interview. She just boiled it down to a very generic summary, that I'd said it was hard to use and could cause lung damage.

What I'd actually told her , for anyone who cares, is that it sounded like it would be impossible to match it to meals, which is a problem with a bolus insulin. That's because the smallest dose is equivalent to 3 units (probably of Humalog) which is already too much for me , and the concentration does not, apparently, go up in a straight line fashion, so double the starting dose does not give you twice as many unit equivalents.

There's some energetic comment on the magazine's web site, quite a bit of it from employees of the company, shocked and horrified that patients aren't grateful to be spared the horror of injections.

On the plus side, the doctors quoted in the article seem (for once!) to agree with me that this is not a drug they want to give their patients.

But Pfizer is going to spend $50 million dollars a year advertising Exubera directly to customers. Prepare for the worst. If you aren't scared of needles now, you will by the time they're done with you. I wonder if Stephen King is writing their ads.


insider said...

Some have fame thrust upon them!

Just enjoy the ride.



Anonymous said...

First, it's unfortunately no surprise that you have been misquoted and misrepresented for the shear sensationalism. It is a surprise that the magazine in question chose to print such a one sided argument.

Many years of clinical trials have shown this delivery method with this insulin formulation to be safe. Is it a perfect solution? No. Is it right for everyone? No.

That you are comfortable with your current regime is fine. There are many people who aren't comfortable with theirs. There are many who have never started on insulin, even though they could benefit from it, because they don't want to have to deal with the injections or the 'social stigma' and the inconvenience. How do you respond to those with an insulin pump? Is the response the same, that it's not necessary because injections for you are painless?

I'm not a doctor. I don't have diabetes. I don't work for Pfizer. I don't take daily injections, and needles (while having blood drawn or getting shots) simply don't bother me - they never have.

Making the assumption for the moment, that many years from now with millions of users, Exubera is still shown to be safe, would you still object to it? If you answer yes, I'd like to ask why. Is your concern simply safety based? I have moderate concern over the true safety of aspirin. Is it because you believe it to be unnecessary and redundant?

One last comment. What do you do with your insulin when you're on a trip? How about if your power goes out for days or weeks (think Katrina or other natural disasters). Do you realize that the dry powder formulation and the packaging of Exubera makes refrigeration unnecessary? What is wrong with a new, safe, easy to use, easier to store drug delivery system?

JasonJayhawk said...

HAHAHA! Funny!

I could have said not to invest in this idea two years ago. It seems the people strongly motivated by it have some financial backing behind the idea, whether it be with Pfizer or one of the other inhaled-insulin ideas.

The author of the article was doing their job. They have to create a controversy that makes people talk, just as we're doing now. It's good for the magazine, because the more you know it exists, the more people will be willing to read it and look at the advertisements contained within.

Unfortunately, you fell victim to it (as do many politicians), but this is how the author puts food on their table. :-(

Anonymous said...

The most dangerous thing being ignored is precisely what was left out.

Eubera cannot be used to ACCURATELY control blood sugar--as accurately as a needle. PERIOD.

Dosing injectible insulin at mealtime--whether painful or not--takes precision often based on the amount of carbs being eaten and current levels. With only 2 dose options and the unpredictibility of how much gets to where it needs to be with an inhaler...How can anyone get the insulin they need accurately using Exubera?

Even if it improves compliance. The next question is "Compliance with what?" A dosing regimen that is inaccurate and infelxible?

From Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, Author of Diabetes Solution and The Diabetes Diet:

“When inhaling insulin the unpredictability of absorbtion will be a major negative factor in using it. The current studies with inhaled insulin show some unpredictability in adsorption.”