Underpants Gnome Logic: Treating Crohn’s Disease with Biologics. An Illustration. (Phase 1. Destroy Your Immune System. Phase 2. ?? Phase 3. Feel Better).

The Underpants Gnomes from South Park have this critical thinking thing down.  Exactly as well as anyone taking (or giving) biologics to treat autoimmune disease, anyway.  I wish there was more rampant discussion about this literally everywhere, but if there is I haven’t seen it.  The best I have seen is this post by RA Warrior (links within) addressing Big Pharma propaganda, specifically how Big Pharma lies about every facet of autoimmune disease including how disabling autoimmune diseases are, how effective the treatments are (necessarily including a cost-benefit analysis considering the iatrogenic illnesses and injuries inherent to Big Pharma treatments including biologic treatment) and how these diseases progress.

In fact, autoimmune patients know too well that the reality of living with an incurable, untreatable and progressive disease — and autoimmune patients often live with more than one — exists in stark contrast to the messages in these propaganda campaigns: these diseases are often extremely disabling and cause systemic (not merely localized) effects; the symptoms including pain and disability are NOT treatable, where they do not respond, do not respond well, or do not respond for long to conventional treatments including biologics; and autoimmune diseases are progressive where you will be lucky to just stay the same and not get worse.  None of this is consistent with the claims that autoimmune patients can “get their lives back” with any Big Pharma treatment, let alone a treatment that destroys your immune system like so-called biologics do.

I discussed the problem of biologics here, where autoimmune patients (who are mostly women) are expected to let doctors (who are mostly men) essentially give them AIDS to treat the symptoms of autoimmune disease, with the end game being that seriously incurably and progressively ill women are supposed to get relief from the crippling pain and symptoms of disease.  In exchange for their immune systems, they are promised their lives back.  Even though we have all known since the 80s that getting AIDS was (and still is) basically the polar opposite of getting your life back seeing as how full-blown symptomatic AIDS was (AND IS TO THIS DAY) a death sentence.  You cannot live without your immune system, you cannot be healthy without an immune system, you cannot be pain-free without an immune system.  AIDS is not compatible with life.  WE KNOW THIS.  Note that I am talking about AIDS, not HIV.  HIV is a fucking walk in the park compared to AIDS.

And yet women are so desperate for pain and symptom relief, they are so desperate to “get their lives back” caring for dependents and making money (or earning disability-based benefits) in order to avoid homelessness and/or incarceration for the literal crime of being chronically ill women in capitalism and patriarchy that they are essentially voluntarily contracting AIDS and then waiting patient-ly for the payoff to materialize but it never does.  In fact, it can’t.  This should be obvious.  Shouldn’t it?  Why is this not obvious?  Or, if it is obvious, why do we continue to do it, and why are we expected to do it?  Is calling attention to this and discussing it even worth the energy?  Are we this bad off?  What the fuck?

Interestingly, WordPress does not even recognize either iatrogenic or biologics as words.  This is not surprising considering that almost every Crohn’s and autoimmune disease blog on WordPress is literal Big Pharma propaganda.  I think we are this bad off, and that terrifies me.  Most of us don’t have the words to discuss it even if we wanted to (or not on WordPress anyway!) and most people don’t even have the time or energy to bother, and especially not sick people and especially not sick women.  And it wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference even if we did.  And I don’t even know what else I can say about it except that.

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5 thoughts on “Underpants Gnome Logic: Treating Crohn’s Disease with Biologics. An Illustration. (Phase 1. Destroy Your Immune System. Phase 2. ?? Phase 3. Feel Better).

  1. Your posts on biologics have led to me paying more attention to this. Yes, there are these ads showing this as a way to return to “normal.” Eye-opening to have a different point of view from your blog, one that rings true for me. Not that I trusted big pharma much, but some of the propaganda gets through my filters, especially if you don’t have/know about the illness they are talking about. You assume there are these people out there getting “better.”

    Of course, I’ve had more failures than successes with other drugs for problems unrelated to the ones you’re talking about and even the “successes” come at a cost, in every case it seems. Hell, even ibuprophen has a cost for me, I took it briefly for inflammation following a dental procedure, but when I stopped it felt like my body was filled with new and worse pains everywhere. My taking it is rare, so is this rebound, or is there damage done even with this OTC drug taken short term? I have friends who take so many drugs, some for the side effects of the other drugs. It’s really a house of cards, isn’t it. An expensive house in every sense of the words.

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  2. Hi Bluejay and thanks for your comment! I think there are also autoimmune treatments (drugs) that destroy your immune system but are not “biologics” which just refers to the way it’s made — with proteins and whatnot from humans and animals. It’s hard to keep them all straight and I’ve been looking into this for 6 years. These non-biologic drugs include immunity-decimating anti-rejection drugs they give to transplant patients to keep them from rejecting the new organs, and chemotherapy including chemo meds that never worked to treat cancer (but they had to use them for something, right?) It’s obscene. And how dare they call any of these “biologics” which sounds life-giving doesn’t it? Talk about a patriarchal reversal. And I too have had problems with ibuprofen, it’s what I was taking for my workers’ comp injuries and what I was taking when my Crohn’s finally became uncontrollable with diet and supplements, which I had been treating myself with for 2 decades before it just couldn’t be controlled anymore. Crohn’s patients are forbidden from taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen and naproxen basically) because they are known to cause flares and GI bleeding. The only pain medicine we are allowed to take that won’t make GI symptoms worse and even life-threatening (besides marijuana) is Tylenol which destroys your liver. Anyway, it seems likely that the ibuprofen is what started me on the downward spiral with my Crohn’s. The hormonal birth control pill is known to cause Crohn’s too and I was on that for years. House of cards is right.

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  3. Wow about the ibuprofen/hormones and Crohn’s for you! And tragic! So many women have been prescribed these over the years. How does this relate to women having autoimmune diseases? If there were unbiased researchers they might run statistical correlations of these two common, nearly ubiquitous, substances that women take and any upswing in cases after a lot of women started taking them, x being the number of years after many women starting these that the autoimmune diseases increase. Lots more to it, like food, additives, pesticides, etc. All these common things are not much on the radar as they look for exotic viruses, etc. Also interactions among all these things that are really foreign to our bodies and their functioning.

    Off topic, but there are reports of a burgeoning problem with life-threatening meat allergies arising suddenly in adults and bites from the lone star tick. This is new, but more evidence in a breakdown of all systems.

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  4. Now that you mention it, it does seem odd that a drug could cause an autoimmune disease, but inflammatory bowel disease is right there in the list of known side effects of birth control pills. As far as I know, the only inflammatory bowel conditions are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (both are autoimmune diseases and treated with immune decimation) and there aren’t any other types of IBD that aren’t autoimmune. Here is a link https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353315

    So WTF? Supposedly autoimmune disease is our immune system malfunctioning and attacking us. How in the world would Advil (or the Pill) cause that? What the fuck? It’s weird. The way they do talk about it seems specifically designed to prevent actually thinking about any of it. I had Crohn’s for a couple of years before I even realized it was an autoimmune disease. My doctors never told me that, just that it was “inflammatory” in nature which is why they were treating me with anti-inflammatories. When I agreed to take the immunity decimating infusions I don’t think I even knew what that meant in real terms (it’s basically AIDS) and I’m sure I didn’t know that my immune system was attacking me! No one ever told me that, and (somehow) I didn’t find it or it wasn’t clear to me in my research until sometime later. I should also mention that I was prescribed Pentasa for my Crohn’s which is an NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory) !! When I realized that I was taking an NSAID but was forbidden from taking Advil because it’s an NSAID I called the emergency line for my GI’s office and the doctor on call explained to me that Pentasa, even though it’s an NSAID, is fine! It’s ridiculously confusing, and being sick as hell makes it hard to recognize the inconsistencies or to recognize what any of this actually MEANS. Honestly, it seems to me like there is some serious bullshit afoot. Your comment about “breakdown of all systems” is consistent with that and could easily explain it. A cover up?

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  5. I have a friend who was having horrible anxiety, took some trazadone recently and then started having all kinds of things go wrong, scary, life-threatening seeming things like real rapid heartbeat upon slight exertion. She looked it up and those were side effects. Does this seem like it would calm someone with anxiety? (rhetorical)

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