Monthly Archives: April 2003

by Janet Segall, IPPF Executive Director

In order for patients with pemphigus and pemphigoid to get control of their disease, there are certain drugs that patients must take. Prednisone is the first drug of choice for treating these diseases. Immunosuppressive drugs are often given as well to help patients reduce the doses of corticosteroids (prednisone/prednisolone).

Prednisone (prednisolone) is one of the most successfully and one of the most commonly used drug for treating a variety of diseases, but it can have many side effects. Some of the effects of long-term steroid use on our health are: weight gain, increased appetite, loss of muscle mass and bone density, increased fatty deposits, reduction in zinc, Vitamin D, and C levels; loss of potassium, fluid retention, gastric problems, hypertension, high cholesterol, and hampering the body’s ability to handle blood sugars.

The Foundation is pleased to report that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has just released an Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan encouraging research into the causes, treatments, and prevention of autoimmune disease, including pemphigus.

This Plan takes us a giant step closer to getting additional funding for autoimmune disease research. Congressional approval is now needed to implement and fund the Plan. The Foundation is asking everyone to advocate for this Plan by contacting their Senators and Representatives and urging them to support it. This effort is being coordinated by the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), which worked closely with NIH on the development of the Plan. Virginia Ladd, Executive Director of AARDA, said: “It is important for all patients with any autoimmune disease to fight for funding for this plan. Supporting autoimmune disease research will help all patients, regardless of their particular illness.”