I just learned from Nessie at lipstick, purfume, and too many pills that a new warning has been issued by the FDA concerning TNF-blockers (tumer necrosis factor-alpha blockers) - such as Remicade, Enbrel, and Humira. The warning being added to the labels of these medications states that people who take TNF-blockers may be at risk of infection from the bacteria Legionella and Listeria. Here is an article about the FDA announcement in Arthritis Today.
Now, I have no idea what those bacteria are or exactly what it is that they do. And this new information certainly won't stop me from taking my weekly Enbrel injection - because choosing to use a drug that suppresses my immune system has always been a trade off between risks and benefits.
However, especially as the flu season approaches, I do think the FDA announcement serves as a good reminder that my immune system is suppressed, and that if I am not feeling well I should brave the nurses (who sometimes give me a look like I am a crazy hypochondriac) and make certain that I don't have an infection that could become dangerous. It's also a good reminder to be as careful as possible in exposing myself to people who may already be sick.
In any event, since it was a good reminder for me (thanks, Nessie!) I thought I would pass it along here. It's especially worth considering this reminder because most of us aren't just on TNF-blockers - most of us are also on methotrexate and/or prednisone, which can also suppress the immune system.
Guess it's almost time to get my lysol supersoaker locked and loaded again!