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I was at a local LC support group at the Wellness Community last week and heard some interesting stuff from a 'regular' of the group.

First of all, he is in his late 60's and was diagnosed with Stage IV NSCLC coming up on 6 YEARS AGO. He has been on almost constant chemo for the past 6 years. He actually said he "set the Philadelphia record for consecutive treatment on the same chemo protocol" -- he had monthly infusions of the same chemo for 2 years straight. After that he switched to something else, then Iressa, then back to standard chemo......6 years and he has no intentions of giving up. His sense of humor has certainly stayed intact (as has most of his hair!!).

Secondly, he told his oncologist recently (Dr. James Stevenson of the University of Penn) that he is starting to feel a little tired after all these years of treatment. The doctor decided to give him something to "pep him up" and prescribed RITALAN. I have never heard of this being used in cancer, but he said that ritalan is used to calm down children, but has the opposite effect on adults. It actually stimulates you. He had only been taking it for 2 days when I saw him, but I am very curious to see how it impacts him by next month's meeting. I'll keep you all posted!

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Hi Heather,

I go to the (THE Wellness Community) Boston Chapter and it’s a great place for support and information.

That’s wonderful and positive news to hear from that gentleman. Thanks for posting that and it gives us all hope and inspiration.

I am also on Ritalin (60 mg) and have been for many months. It does make a difference helping with my fatigue. I've had no side effects from the Ritalan. Of course everyone is different and one should stop if that is the case. One should also not abuse it and use it for what it is being prescribed for and that is to help with fatigue. Was surprised my doctor gave it to me and she said the same thing (used to calm down children, but has the opposite effect on (stimulates) adults) about it. I do hope it works for him and will be interested in knowing how he makes out with it.

Note: If someone does go on it it is a controlled substance and you need a paper copy to bring to the pharmacy to get it refilled. Found out the hard way when I ran out and thought I could get it called in over the phone.

Peace, take care and God Bless. Rich

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Good for your friend! What a survivor! I don't know that Ritalin is such a good drug for cancer patients suffering from extreme fatigue though.

Ritalin is an older stimulant used mostly to treat ADD and ADHD. It use to be prescribed as a diet pill. It can increase energy, but the negative effects far exceed the positive in my opinion. It can cause insomnia, cathexia, agiatation, palpitations, and tachycardia. The drug is a narcotic, a controlled substance. It must be titrated, and high doses can cause paranoia, hallucinations, and delusional beliefs.

Other similar medications are Dexadrine and Adderall. Another medicine that might work is called Concerta, a time released stimulant. The side-effects would be more tollerable, because the drug is time released. These drugs behave much different in children and Adults with ADD and ADHD. They actually have a calming effect. The opposite would be true of the "Average Joe" taking a stimulant. It isn't called "Speed" for nothing. I just wanted your friend, who has done so well, to consider his options. Heather, You and I both know exercise, diet, and supplements are best for increasing energy. Wish him well for me!


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