Tyson's Brave Battalion

Tyson's Brave Battalion
Things don't go wrong and break your heart so you can become bitter and give up. They happen to break you down and build you up so you can be all that you were intended to be.” ~Samuel Johnson

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drug Shortage

A couple of people have asked me about the drug shortage and whether or not that will affect Tyson's treatment.  My answer is I don't know and I hope not!... but right now things are looking like they will be okay.  There is a specific type of Methotrexate that is preservative free so they can inject it into the spine of kids with A.L.L. It is in critical short supply right now and hospitals fear they will run out within a couple of weeks.  (Ty also takes Methotrexate in pill form once per week, 10 pills of it, but that type is not in critical short supply so I've heard)  The companies that make PF-MTX are working on increasing production, but that takes time and right now they are backordered through March.  From what I hear from other moms whose kids are also treated at PCMC, the doctors/pharmacy there has a good supply of it at the moment.  That supply, of course, could run out before they are able to get more and if that happens in Tyson's particular case, they would probably replace it with a spine injection of Ara-C.  Which has worse side effects than MTX so it is not ideal, but it is a comparable substitution.  He is not due for another Spinal injection (LP or back poke they call it) until April.  He had a dose of Ara-C in his spine as part of the normal protocol at the beginning of treatment.  Right now in maintenance they are trying to keep his ANC at a certain level and I am guessing that Ara-C will probably knock it lower than they want it.  I have heard that there is also a shortage of Mercaptopurine (not critical right now), which is the drug Tyson takes every day, and will take every day for the next 2 1/2 years.  I also heard that in the past there has been a shortage of Ara-C.  I've heard that making drugs for childhood cancers isn't very profitable, hence the shortages. That is kind of scary!  I have always taken for granted that if you found a cure for a certain type of cancer, certainly the medication that would cure it would be available...I guess that may not always be the case, especially in this economy.    If you want more information I will put some links:  ARTICLE ON SHORTAGE NYTIMES and UPDATE ON SHORTAGE FROM COG and  NEWS RELEASE FROM MANUFACTURER and ANOTHER MANUFACTURER Of course there are more articles on it, but that will give you a good summary if you are interested. 

Ty is doing great!  He is almost done with his first month of maintenance.  Next Tuesday starts month 2.  He still wants to sit in my lap a few times a day, some days more than others.  He is pretty pale, but isn't sleeping in the day so we aren't too worried about his counts yet.  He has chapped lips and gets a rash around his mouth once per week when he is on Septra.  I'll be asking the doc about that next week when we go down.  Septra is an antibiotic that he takes two days a week.  Some days he eats good and some days he prefers bland stuff but still eats.  So right now, no news is good news : )  Thanks for checking on him, and thanks for your prayers, we appreciate it so much!
 Had to do a pic of storytime, Ty's favorite time of day.  They wanted to read by flashlight this night.
 Walking around outside, he did his best to find little patches of snow to make footprints.  We have had uncommonly warm weather here lately, and very little snow.
Reading stories with big brother Ryan.  That's it!  I know boring right?  Boring is good!! : )

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