Rock icon Glenn Frey of the band The Eagles churned out hits like “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy.” He passed away this past week at the age of 67 (young for even a rock and roller). Likely the cause of death was pneumonia as it was reported in the media. He suffered for 15 years with Rheumatic Arthritis (RA) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and was placed on a newer agent to treat this condition. Some of the most effective treatments in conventional medicine, known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), work to suppress patients’ overactive immune systems, which can make them vulnerable to infection. Having RA and UC along can make a person more susceptible to infection. Add one of these agents and it could be a combo-for-disaster.
The “in vogue” DMARD medications are a group of drugs that suppress the immune system. They are classed as biologics and are essentially monoclonial antibody drugs that attack certain cells (TNF inhibitors) believe to contribute to inflammation in an effort to fight the pro-inflammatory and auto-immune conditions. However, one stark side effect is that they also suppress the body’s chief means of fighting infections. Hence the warnings in the commercials about immuno compromised patients or those with active TB or other infections. They have even been implicated in heart failure. It can be fatal as we see in Glenn’s case.
Maybe it will take the death of a celebrity rock star to wake up the world that for many patients these biologics are not really a safe approach for conditions that are non-lethal to begin with. The risks associated with these drugs in my opinion outweigh their medical benefit. RA and UC and other auto-immune diseases may be treated much safer with Functional Medicine protocols and therapies such as LDN or other agents such as QC0-3 by Zimetry