Swine Flu And Asthma: NIH Prepares To launch 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Trial In People With Asthma

The National Institutes of Health is preparing to launch the first government-sponsored clinical trial to determine what dose of the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine is needed to induce a protective immune response in people with asthma, especially those with severe disease. The study is cosponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), both part of NIH.

“People with severe asthma often take high doses of glucocorticoids that can suppress their immune system, placing them at greater risk for infection and possibly serious disease caused by 2009 H1N1 influenza virus,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “We need to determine the optimal dose of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine that can be safely administered to this at-risk population and whether one or two doses are needed to produce an immune response that is predictive of protection.”

The study plan has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review. With FDA allowing it to proceed, the clinical trial will be conducted at seven sites across the United States that participate in NHLBI’s Severe Asthma Research Program.

This program already has a well-characterized group of participants with mild, moderate or severe asthma who may be eligible for this new study. These groups are largely distinguished by the amount and frequency of glucocorticoids needed to control asthma symptoms. People with mild disease may not need glucocorticoids, or may require low doses of inhaled glucocorticoids; those with moderate asthma need low to moderate doses of inhaled glucocorticoids; and those with severe asthma need high doses of inhaled glucocorticoids and frequently use oral glucocorticoids as well.

Individuals who already have been infected with 2009 H1N1 influenza or have received a 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination will not be eligible for the study.

“The results of this study will have immediate implications for individuals with severe asthma as well as those who have milder asthma,” says NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.

Early results from other clinical trials of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccines in healthy adults have shown that a single 15-microgram dose of 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine without adjuvant is well tolerated and induces a strong immune response in most participants. The same vaccine also generates an immune response that is expected to be protective in healthy children ages 10 to 17 years. Ongoing trials are comparing the immune response to one and two doses of 15- or 30-micrograms of vaccine given three weeks apart in various populations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that certain at-risk populations receive the new H1N1 vaccine as a priority before the general population. These target populations include pregnant women, health care providers and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions, including asthma.

People who have severe asthma may be particularly at risk for infection with the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus. A report published in 2004 suggested that some people who took high doses of glucocorticoids to treat their asthma may receive less protection from influenza vaccines against some strains of influenza. Early in the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak a CDC review of hospital records found that people with asthma have a four-fold increased risk of being hospitalized with infection compared to the general population.

The study will enroll approximately 350 people with mild, moderate and severe asthma. Participants will be organized into two groups: those with mild or moderate asthma and those with severe asthma. Half of the participants in each group will receive a 15-microgram dose of vaccine, and the other half a 30-microgram dose. Three weeks later, each participant will receive a second dose of the same amount. The strength of the immune response induced by the vaccine will be determined in blood samples by measuring the level of antibodies against 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

Safety data will be collected and examined throughout the course of the study by trial investigators and by an independent safety monitoring committee. Participants will be monitored for any side effects they may experience because of the vaccine, as well as asthma attacks that occur during the study period.

The vaccine to be used in the trial, manufactured by Novartis, contains inactivated 2009 H1N1 influenza virus and therefore cannot cause anyone to become infected with the virus.

The trial will be conducted at the following locations:
Cleveland Clinic, Ohio

Emory University, Atlanta

University of Pittsburgh Asthma Institute

University of Virginia, Charlottesville
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis
Detailed information about this study can be found on the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=H1N1+AND+asthma.

Source:
NIAID Office of Communications
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Medic Alert Bracelets

Since the last topic was about Adrenal Insufficiency, it seemed that a great next topic would be about Medic Alert Bracelets.

Many doctors insist that everyone who has had pituitary or adrenal surgery have a bracelet – and some will even tell patients what they should say on them.

While I was still a patient at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) after my pituitary surgery, I was given my first bracelet along with my kit in care of adrenal crisis.  I had to learn to give myself a shot before I could go home.

Now, my endo checks mine at every visit to be sure I’m wearing my bracelet and reads it to be sure it’s still legible and checks to see what the text says.

He feels that the bracelets – and he insists that they LOOK like medic alert bracelets, not disguised as jewelry – are life savers.

I’m not so sure – I read stories on the message boards that people have gone into AI (adrenal insufficiency and no one has ever looked at their bracelet.  That was certainly the case for young Sam.  Her mom had instructions everywhere, none were heeded and the situation rapidly turned disastrous.

…We have dealt with Addison’s for 7 years; but I have handled everything. Apparently the vials of solu-cortef with step-by-step instructions hanging on the bulletin board in the kitchen, medicine cabinet and in every vehicle somehow missed his attention…  (read the whole story at survive the journey: Stars Go Blue)

A Paramedic wrote on the message boards:

I’d like to add a couple things from the perspective of a Paramedic…

A lot of us are not taught about adrenal insufficiency during our education….nor do many of us (if any at all) have a protocol to administer Injectable for AI unless we are able to contact the ER doctor for permission. So…if any of you should have an AI crisis please gently nudge your paramedic to contact the receiving physician for permission to administer the medication. I know this sounds like a lot of responsibility on the part of the patient…but you have to realize that we’re taught to recognize the most common life threats and endocrine disorders (other than diabetes) most usually do not present with life threats (we all know that as cushing’s is more recognized that this will change)…and our protocols cover the most common life threats….so while we may recognize that you are hypotensive and need fluids (IV) and are sweaty, nauseated, decreased level of responsiveness etc…we are not equipped to deal with the actual cause unless you help educate us….

Also…please don’t get angry with us….if we are having problems understanding…just gently insist that a call be made to your doctor or the receiving ED (usually not feasible for us to call your doctor since they do not come to the phone for just anybody but if you have access to them, as many cushies do, it would be great to talk to them)…

Paramedicine is evolving….someday soon, hopefully, our education will include more diagnostic skills…untill just in the past 5 years or so we were NEVER to make a diagnosis at all…just treat the symptoms!!!! So there is hope out there for futher understanding of such a critical problem for those without adrenal (or asleep adrenals) glands….

The medical alert jewerly is a life-saver and we do look for it….

So, the questions for discussion are:

  • Do you have a medical alert bracelet
  • Does your doctor check on it or suggest proper wording.
  • If you have one, has any medical staff read it during a crisis
  • And… what does yours say?

Adrenal Crisis

Robin wrote a great blog post about Jackie and Sam dealing with Adrenal Crisis.  This is a very important article that all should read.  Be your own advocate!

New PDF! Managing Adrenal Insufficiency

New Podcast! Podcast: Adrenal Crisis

If left untreated, adrenal insufficiency can cause serious illness or death. But by working with their doctors and nurses, patients can learn how to manage this condition.

A Paramedic wrote on the message boards:

I’d like to add a couple things from the perspective of a Paramedic…

A lot of us are not taught about adrenal insufficiency during our education….nor do many of us (if any at all) have a protocol to administer Injectable for AI unless we are able to contact the ER doctor for permission. So…if any of you should have an AI crisis please gently nudge your paramedic to contact the receiving physician for permission to administer the medication. I know this sounds like a lot of responsibility on the part of the patient…but you have to realize that we’re taught to recognize the most common life threats and endocrine disorders (other than diabetes) most usually do not present with life threats (we all know that as cushing’s is more recognized that this will change)…and our protocols cover the most common life threats….so while we may recognize that you are hypotensive and need fluids (IV) and are sweaty, nauseated, decreased level of responsiveness etc…we are not equipped to deal with the actual cause unless you help educate us….

Also…please don’t get angry with us….if we are having problems understanding…just gently insist that a call be made to your doctor or the receiving ED (usually not feasible for us to call your doctor since they do not come to the phone for just anybody but if you have access to them, as many cushies do, it would be great to talk to them)…

Paramedicine is evolving….someday soon, hopefully, our education will include more diagnostic skills…untill just in the past 5 years or so we were NEVER to make a diagnosis at all…just treat the symptoms!!!! So there is hope out there for futher understanding of such a critical problem for those without adrenal (or asleep adrenals) glands….

The medical alert jewerly is a life-saver and we do look for it….

Be sure to print this page to carry with you.

From the NIH. This information was developed by the patient care staff of the Clinical Center to help patients with adrenal insufficiency (AI) understand their condition and how to take care of it. It explains what causes adrenal insufficiency and how it can be controlled. If left untreated, adrenal insufficiency can cause serious illness or death. But by working with their doctors and nurses, patients can learn how to manage this condition.

National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service

6 Information Way
Bethesda, MD 20892–3569
Phone: 1–888–828–0904
TTY: 1–866–569–1162
Fax: 1–703–738–4929
Email: // <![CDATA[
var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to';
var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '=';
var addy41985 = 'endoandmeta' + '@';
addy41985 = addy41985 + 'info' + '.' + 'niddk' + '.' + 'nih' + '.' + 'gov';
var addy_text41985 = 'endoandmeta' + '@' + 'info' + '.' + 'niddk' + '.' + 'nih' + '.' + 'gov';
document.write( '‘ );
document.write( addy_text41985 );
document.write( ‘
‘ );
//n
// –>
// ]]>endoandmeta@info.niddk.nih.gov // <![CDATA[
document.write( '‘ );
// ]]>This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it // <![CDATA[
document.write( '’ );
// ]]>

Internet: http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/

The National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service is an information dissemination service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The NIDDK conducts and supports biomedical research. As a public service the NIDDK has established information services to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals and the public.

Publications produced by the NIDDK are carefully reviewed by both NIDDK scientists and outside experts.

This publication is not copyrighted. The NIDDK encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as many copies as desired.

From http://endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/creutz/alert.htm


DebMV suggested that you should have a Medic Alert bracelet from medicalert.org

Toll free number in the USA is: by phone 7 days a week, 24 hours a day: 888-633-4298
209-668-3333 from outside the U.S.


Lorrie got this important info for us.

Alternative names:

adrenal crisis; Addisonian crisis; acute adrenal insufficiency

Definition:

An abrupt, life-threatening state caused by insufficient cortisol, a hormone produced and released by the adrenal gland.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The two adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys. They consist of the outer portion, called the cortex, and the inner portion, called the medulla. The cortex produces three types of hormones, which are called corticosteroids. The androgens and estrogens affect sexual development and reproduction. The glucocorticoids maintain glucose regulation, suppress the immune response, and provide for the response to stress (cortisol). The mineralocorticoids regulate sodium and potassium balance. These hormones are essential for life.

Acute adrenal crisis is an emergency caused by decreased cortisol. The crisis may occur in a person with Addison’s disease, or as the first sign of adrenal insufficiency. More uncommonly, it may be caused by a pituitary gland disorder. It may also be caused by sudden withdrawal of corticosteroids, removal or injury of the adrenal glands, or destruction of the pituitary gland. Risk factors are stress, trauma, surgery, or infection in a person with Addison’s disease, or injury or trauma to the adrenal glands or the pituitary gland. The incidence is 4 out of 100,000 people.

Prevention:

People who have Addison’s disease should be taught to recognize signs of potential stress that may precipitate an acute adrenal crisis (cause it to occur suddenly and unexpectedly). Most people with Addison’s disease are taught to give themselves an emergency injection of hydrocortisone in times of stress. It is important for the individual with Addison’s disease to always carry a medical identification card that states the type of medication and the proper dose needed in case of an emergency. Never omit medication. If unable to retain medication due to vomiting, notify the health care provider.

Symptoms:

  • headache
  • profound weakness
  • fatigue
  • slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • low blood pressure
  • dehydration
  • high fever
  • chills shaking
  • confusion or coma
  • darkening of the skin
  • rapid heart rate
  • joint pain
  • abdominal pain
  • unintentional weight loss
  • rapid respiratory rate
  • unusual and excessive sweating on face and/or palms
  • skin rash or lesion may be present
  • flank pain
  • appetite, loss

Signs and tests:

  • An ACTH (cortrosyn) stimulation test shows low cortisol.
  • The cortisol level is low.
  • The fasting blood sugar may be low.
  • The serum potassium is elevated.
  • The serum sodium is decreased.
  • This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
    • sodium, urine
    • 17-hydroxycorticosteroids

Treatment:

In adrenal crisis, an intravenous or intramuscular injection of hydrocortisone (an injectable corticosteroid) must be given immediately. Supportive treatment of low blood pressure is usually necessary. Hospitalization is required for adequate treatment and monitoring. Low blood pressure may be treated with intravenous fluids. If infection is the cause of the crisis, antibiotic therapy is indicated.

Expectations (prognosis):

Death may occur due to overwhelming shock if early treatment is not provided.

Complications:

  • shock
  • coma
  • seizures

Interview with MaryO

Listen to CushingsHelp on internet talk radio

The Call-In number for questions or comments is (646) 200-0162.

Cushing’s Help Founder, MaryO

MaryO“MaryO”, Mary O’Connor is the founder and webmaster for Cushings-Help.com and related sites. She is also a Piano Teacher and web designer in northern Virginia. She started having Cushing’s symptoms in early 1983 and finally had pituitary surgery at the NIH in November, 1987, Mary is a 25+ year survivor of Cushing’s Disease.

Due to her Cushing’s experiences and the lack of websites for people with Cushing’s, Mary founded the Cushings-Help website in 2000 to help others who were dealing with the rigors of testing and surgery.

MaryO, as she is fondly called by the members of the support board she runs in conjunction with the website, has been instrumental in educating thousands of people about Cushing’s. Through the use of her website and support boards, these same folks have been able to garner support and information invaluable to their diagnosis and treatment.

Mary is a survivor. Not only has she survived, but she has enabled so many others of us to survive, also.

She has been recognized in Forbes Magazine, many newspaper and journal articles, and is a speaker at Cushing’s Awareness events. She is married to Tom and has a grown son, Michael.

Intro: Hello, I have with us today Mary O’Connor, founder of the cushings dash help dot com website. Mary is a 20 plus year survivor of Cushing’s Disease. For those who do not know what Cushing’s Disease is, you may want to peruse the Cushings-help website. Briefly, it is an endocrine-related disease caused by a pituitary tumor (also called an adenoma) which causes life-threatening symptoms. Cushing’s Syndrome is a similar disease caused by an adrenal or other tumor.

MaryO, as she is fondly called by the members of the support board she runs in conjunction with the website, has been instrumental in educating thousands of people about Cushing’s. Through the use of her website and support boards, these same folks have been able to garner support and information invaluable to their diagnosis and treatment. She has been recognized in Forbes Magazine, many newspaper and journal articles, and is a speaker at Cushing’s Awareness events. She is married to Tom and has a grown son, Michael.

Mary, I know the listeners would love to hear your story. What can you tell us about your symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment with Cushing’s?

Other Topics Discussed:

  • Why did you decide to start the cushings-help website?
  • What are some of the things that can be found on the site?
  • What are the message boards?
  • How many members are there on the boards?
  • How much work is involved in keeping up the site and the boards?
  • How are you doing now? What has happened since your surgery for Cushing’s?

Closing: As you can see, Mary is a survivor. Not only has she survived, but she has enabled so many others of us to survive, also. Please stay tuned for more stories from these survivors! For more information, visit the cushings-help website.

Keywords: adenoma, adrenal, arginine, arthritis, aspirin, awareness, cortef, cortisone, cortrosyn, Cushing’s, diagnosis, endocrine, energy, Forbes Magazine, gland, growth hormone, gym, insurance, kidney cancer, MaryO, menopause, migraine, nap, NIH, obesity, pituitary, Power Surge, rare, renal cell carcinoma, staticnrg, steroid, stimulation, support board, surgery, survivor, symptoms, thyroid, tired, transphenoidal hyposection, treatment, tumor, website, weight, Weight Watchers

Read Mary’s bio.
Listen to MaryO’s Archived Interview from January 3, 2008

%d bloggers like this: