Thursday, August 29, 2013

Learn More About Your Melanoma Drug

I get asked about various melanoma drugs a lot. Though I've never used any and cannot speak from experience, I do have access to a lot of people who have either tried, or are currently using, the treatments that are available. Not everybody, though, has access to advice about how to handle side effects or what to watch for. You can, and should, talk with your doctor, but I've noticed that when side effects start, people want to know if theirs is "normal" and they want to know what to do about it right then...not call the doctor's office. Also, not all my melahomies are in groups where they can pick the finest and kindest minds around for info.

That's where this post may come in handy. I'll be the first to admit that this will not be an exhaustive list of resources by any means, but hopefully it will be helpful.

All drug manufacturers have websites, and often an individual drug will have its own site. Here are three drug sites where you'll find patient resources of various kinds. You'll also find possible side effects that are associated with the drug and possible remedies. You'll learn when to call your doctor. Scour the website of your drug. NOTE: I'm using the more common names and not the scientific name.

Zelboraf

Yervoy

IL-2

Temodar has a site but it's only for "health professionals." If you click on "not a health professional" you will get Merck's website. Which, be sure to look at the website of your drug's manufacturer as that is where you may also find info for patient assist programs, etc.

Information for  Interferon alfa 2-b and all the Interferons, as well as the above drugs and more, can be plugged into drugs.com which is the go-to site for pharmacists.

The information at drugs.com can also be easier to understand for laypeople. Information is out there. Do an Internet search and see if your drug has a website. If it doesn't, its manufacturer certainly will. And do check out what drugs.com says about your drug.

Information from reliable sources is out there and at our fingertips. And, by all means, plug into support groups if at all possible. There are excellent ones online, particularly on Facebook.

We're in this together.

charis