As I think of the many meetings I attend as a speaker or attendee, the experience ranges from grueling to exhilarating. Yes, each venue has its own merit, including furthering my education, presenting my research, and, certainly, seeing old friends and interesting places. This particular trip had all of this but so much more.
Let me share a great wine and ACR 2105 story with all of you. It epitomizes everything I think of when I wish to blend my work and my life, and I owe this experience to Mike Schweitz, a noted rheumatologist from Palm Beach.
While there are currently 9 biologic agents approved and marketed for the treatment of RA, and although each has a valued place in our arsenal, I would propose none has been as influential or dramatic as TNF inhibitors. The “born again” rheumatoid feeling is not well captured by any of the usual metrics or measures. It’s not found in the HAQ, DAS28, SF36 (either mental or physical), fatigue score, or any lab parameter. I believe it’s best described by my patient RH who wrote me a letter soon after starting etanercept.
While decades of drug development have improved treatment options, some of our older drugs are harder to improve upon. The same can be said for old movies and new movies, or classic literature and current best sellers. Which do you prefer or rely on?
I have a 21 yr. old lupus nephritis patient on mycophenolate, hydroxychloroquine and prednisone 40 mg per day. She says both her current nephrologist and her prior pediatric rheumatologist told her NOT to get pneumococcal and flu vaccines. I thought she is supposed to get them - any comment?
I think this will be my 35th ACR meeting. Meetings such as ACR are family events as much as they are scientific events, meant to be celebrated with food and your favorite legal beverage, which in my case is wine.