Month: <span>February 2008</span> has a piece this morning about the Multiple Sclerosis drug Tysabri® (natalizumab). The drugmakers have issued warnings to doctors because Tysabri is causing significant liver damage to some patients who take it. In some patients the damage occurred as early as six days after beginning the treatment. : Multiple sclerosis drug linked to liver injury

Information about this new warning is available from the FDA web site, too:

Read the revisions to the Warnings and Precautions section of the full Prescribing Information:

(Notice, too, I’ve added a link to the Food and Drug Administration’s web site to the “MS Resource Sites”. The FDA is at:

The liver is an incredible organ which often goes unappreciated. Because it cleans the blood, anything in the bloodstream can impact the health of the liver. has a good article titled, “Drug-Induced Liver Disease” by Dennis Lee, MD. If you care for an MS patient, this article should be required reading.

Caregiver Tip: Whether the person you care for takes Tysabri or other medications, read “Drug-Induced Liver Disease” and pay attention to signs and symptoms of liver damage.

MS Medications

It’s Sunday.  In many cultures, this is a day of rest.

Do you find it difficult to slow down and catch your breath? In the best of situations, finding time to relax can be difficult. However, even brief breaks help.

This afternoon I bulk-loaded some Kodak Plus-X125 black and white film, grabbed my old Pentax and laid down in the yard to take some macro shots of the blooming daffodils and budding roses. I haven’t taken pictures like this in more than 20 years and it felt great.

I wasn’t in the yard more than 30 minutes. But the 30 minutes were exquisite. The sky is crispy blue, the few small clouds are scattered far apart, the breeze is cool and bouncy, the temp is perfect and the humidity is low. In other words, it’s the perfect day to lay in the grass with my old lens a few inches from a bright, yellow daffodil.

Scripture notes that on the seventh day of creation even God rested. I can tell you, it sure feels good.

Caregiver Tip: Take a rest!

Caring for Yourself

A bad thing happened last night.

So I called the National Poison Control number 1-800-222-1222. (There is also an excellent poison control website!)

A calm, friendly voice answered, “Poison Control. How can I help you?

I, a little stressed, asked quickly, “My 30-pound Cocker Spaniel just swallowed one of my wife’s 5 mg Aricept pills. What do I do?”

A calm, friendly voice replied, “Sir, I don’t think that will be a problem. Let me check my resources.”

I heard keys clicking quickly on a keyboard. “Sir, that will not be a problem for your dog.”

With great relief, I replied, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

I relaxed.

My dog, Einstein, slept well last night. And because of his Aricept-enhanced memory, he will never forget me chasing him like a crazy man and prying his jaws apart over that tiny little pill he swallowed.

1-800-222-1222 is the telephone number for every poison center in the United States. You may call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and talk with a poison expert.

Caregiver’s Tip: Keep the Poison Control Number handy: 1-800-222-1222. Store it in your cell phone. You never know when (or why) you’ll need it.

Practical Tips

When you pick up medications from the pharmacy, the drugs look so nice and clean.  Certainly, medications must be manufactured with the most stringent quality controls to ensure purity.  That’s probably why they’re so expensive. Right?  And if you’re like me, the high cost of medications does have the small positive effect of helping you feel good that you have access to such high quality substances.

Well, according to an Associated Press article released today, Tainted Pills Hit U.S. Mainland.  The article reports 13 of the 20 best-selling drugs in the US come from Puerto Rico and quality control measures are lax.

Is this article reason to be overly concerned or avoid taking medications?  No.  It should only serve as a reminder to inspect medications before they are taken.

Apparently, poor quality control has been an industry concern for years, yet industry professionals report the tainted medications are safe and effective.

Caregiver’s Tip: Always check the appearance of medications when they are administered. Know what the medications should look like. For example, clear liquids should be clear. Pills should not be contaminated with foreign material, paint flecks or other particles. Any medication that looks odd should be returned to your pharmacist.

MS Medications