Sunday, August 17, 2008

Henna, Xeloda, Roche, Europe, August

Monique Doyle Spencer's Op-Ed about the use of henna as an antidote for a known side-effect of Roche Pharmaceutical's important cancer drug, Xeloda, has been picked up and published by the International Herald Tribune. Roche is based in Europe, so maybe the article will get more attention there. On the other hand, it is August, and people in Europe often take off the whole month. That probably would explain why I have received no reply to my note to the CEO of Roche on the same topic.

Meanwhile, even though it is August, Monique did receive an apologetic note from a staff person at Roche, particularly for the part about inquiring about her long-dead mother, but the person missed the point again. With her permission, I include excerpts from a follow-on note from Monique:

I appreciate the kind letter you sent. I understand how mistakes like this happen and I'm sure everyone felt chagrined....

I have exactly one issue. I am deeply frustrated that no one has answered my question: Does anybody at Roche seek remedies for side effects due to Roche's products? Is that anybody's job?

To be honest, I have no interest in becoming a henna poster child. Yet ... when henna came my way, it made a great difference in my ability to tolerate Xeloda. The Xeloda will extend my life and the henna is the ONLY reason I can tolerate the Xeloda....

In New England, the Boston Globe and WBZ radio reach a broad audience, so I am receiving phone calls and letters asking for my help. I've created a
web page to send people to, giving them full instructions about henna. Elderly people often do not have internet access, so in some cases I've given people henna or sent them printed instructions.... I expect word to continue spreading. I've already noticed the story appearing on cancer bulletin boards, and I've posted on a few to pass information along.

My point is that people really suffer from HFS. For some it keeps them out of their favorite sports, for others it is crippling pain. I just want somebody with the means to help them! I hope that Roche will look into it, or fund a study to prove or disprove henna's efficacy.

Can you help?

Thanks again for your kind letter.


Monique Doyle Spencer


Girl, Please! said...

Thank you for posting this. My mom's metastatic breast cancer options are now down to chemo and Xeloda was an option. She's afraid of HFS. As always, perfect timing from a wonderful blog, Mr. Levy.

Henna Caravan said...

Please make sure you use premium quality henna and not some fake chemical substitute.
To keep the henna from dyeing the hands and feet so dark, you can mix your henna with boiling liquid, or mix and let sit for 10 days so the dye exhausts.
I recommend henna here, it is very good quality
my diabetic relatives use henna on their feet as well for neuropathy and it is a topical antibiotic!!