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Larry King Live

What's the Best Way to Combat Arthritis?

Aired August 29, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, for the first time, Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner announces osteoarthritis nearly ruined his life. Hear how he survived the crippling disease.

Plus, Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill shares her struggle with the same disease, a condition that affects 20 million Americans, including actor Robert Culp of the hit television series "I Spy" -- he's undergone surgery and swears he has the answer.

And joining us from Wilmington, North Carolina, the medical director of The Arthritis Foundation, Dr. John Klippel.

They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Both Mr. Jenner and Ms. Hamill are kind of coming out tonight to discuss this disease, they will be touring in September on behalf of the Merck company for a drug they take. Robert Culp has arthritis.

But let's start with Dr. Klippel first in Wilmington. What is arthritis?

DR. JOHN KLIPPEL, ARTHRITIS FOUNDATION: Well, Larry, arthritis is actually a symptom of a hundred or more different diseases, so tonight we'll be talking about two of them. But it is important that people realize this is a symptom of 100 different diseases.

KING: Well, the two of them we're talking about are the more common?

KLIPPEL: Yes, that's right, Larry. We are going to talk tonight about osteoarthritis, by far the most common, 20 million, as you commented; and rheumatoid arthritis, certainly one of the more serious, 2 1/2 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

KING: And this is simply a degenerative disease of the joints?

KLIPPEL: Well, Larry, people talk about osteoarthritis as a degenerative disease, but in a sense that is really not correct, that is, not everyone gets osteoarthritis. (AUDIO GAP) 20 million, so 1 in 7 Americans have arthritis, so that means that the vast majority of people never experience arthritis.

KING: All right, let's start with -- we'll come back to the doctor. Bruce, why are you coming out? Why are you telling us? What is your involvement?

BRUCE JENNER, OLYMPIC MEDALIST: Well, you know, fortunately I have been very healthy all my life and very active all my life, and have enjoyed an active lifestyle.

KING: Gold medal in the decathlon, the Olympics...

JENNER: Well, yes, I have those little things, Larry, but, you know -- and so for me, as I grow older, you know, hit the big 50 this year, and it really was getting more and more difficult, mainly because of my knee. I have had two knee surgeries on my right knee, that was my jumping leg that I jumped off for years and years. Then all of a sudden it happened in my shoulder, my shoulder started giving me a problem.

And so, basically what I did is I couldn't live with the pain any longer, I mean, I had to start giving up sports. I mean, I love to play basketball, play tennis, I couldn't do that any longer because every time I played, my knee -- it would take me two weeks to recover from it. So what I did is I went to my doctor and said, hey, what are the solutions out there, what can I do? And he put on me the drug Vioxx, and it seemed to -- it's helped the problem.

KING: It helped?

JENNER: In a very positive way.

KING: And you and Dorothy are going to go around in September discussing Vioxx?

JENNER: Yes, we are. In fact, Larry, we're kicking this thing off with you tonight.

KING: It begins tonight?

JENNER: Yes. And actually...

KING: So this is the first time you are publicly discussing having this?

JENNER: Absolutely.

KING: Did you have hesitancy about doing that?

JENNER: No, none whatsoever.

KING: None?

JENNER: I -- you know, I do a lot of motivational speaking, I go around and I talk to people. If I found something that really has worked for me and is very -- you know, works very, very well for me, you know, I love telling the story. I'm a good motivator and love telling people and making them aware that, you know what, there is solutions out there.

KING: Dorothy, tell us about your case. DOROTHY HAMILL, OLYMPIC MEDALIST: Hi, Larry. Hi, Bruce. How are you?

JENNER: Hello, Dorothy.

HAMILL: Nice to see you.

KING: Robert is here, too. Let's not leave Mr. Culp out of this.

HAMILL: Hi, Robert. I'm sorry.

ROBERT CULP, ACTOR: Hi, Ms. Hamill.

HAMILL: So -- hi. For me, it was -- I was getting to the point where, you know, I could barely play with my daughter. And I still make a living ice skating, and I was getting to the point where I thought, you know, I might have to give this up and not just from a performing standpoint, but just from a -- something that I love to do for me, for fitness. Mine has been my neck and my back. I would get up in the morning and I'd sort of shuffle to the bathroom, and think, oh, if I could just spend the rest of the day in bed. And it has taken me, I would say, three years until I actually got to the bottom of it.

I just -- I felt old, I felt depressed, tired all the time. I mean, having chronic pain is exhausting. And I got to the point this year, I was on tour and I couldn't skate. And so, I went to a doctor, and we finally got to the bottom of it, and my doctor prescribed Vioxx for me, and it's as if I've been given a new life, it's just -- it's been amazing. I feel 20 years younger, I don't look it and I don't skate it, but I feel that way.

KING: So you have osteoarthritis. Can I ask how old you are?

HAMILL: Yes. I'm 44.

KING: OK, is that about the normal age to acquire this, it -- does it occur in the 40s and 50s?

HAMILL: I'm not sure. The doctor could probably tell you that. But I must say that I have been feeling this and it's gotten worse gradually over at least the last three, maybe four years, maybe even more.

KING: We'll get back to the doctor.

Robert Culp, osteoarthritis as well, right?

CULP: Well, actually, yes, I guess you would -- you certainly don't -- it's certainly not rheumatoid, so yes, you would call it osteoarthritis. I...

KING: Meaning, you get what kind of pain where? What happened to you? CULP: Well, the first of it, outside of later on in life doing a bunch of stunts and, as in all stunts, something always goes wrong, and you hurt yourself. When I was a teenager, Bruce, I was a pole vaulter, I was a triple quadruple threat.

JENNER: No way, very good.

CULP: Quadruple threat track man on...

JENNER: You weren't just acting the role of a pole vaulter, you were actually a pole vaulter.

CULP: Yes, I was.

KING: And you got hurt then?

CULP: And -- but in those days, Bruce, we only had bamboo, we were one step above.

JENNER: Oh, you are dating yourself.

CULP: You better believe it. This was 1946. A pole broke with me and landed me on my head in the -- on the back of my head in the pit, and in those days, it was a pit. It wasn't a great big wonderful thing full of...

JENNER: Sawdust and sand.

CULP: ... rubber. So yes, it was sawdust and sand.

KING: And did that -- did they trace that to the beginning of arthritis?

CULP: So the next week I went out and jumped to get my letter, because it was the first chance I was going to get to get it, and the -- my doctor said, well, I hope you enjoy your letter when you are 40. It didn't take that long. What happens is that those little holes in the spine where the nerves merged to the rest of the body from the spinal column begin to close up, with bone, with calcium, and so for the rest of my life until recently when I had surgery, I just got worse and worse and worse until I finally couldn't take it anymore.

KING: So when we saw you acting in movies or in "I Spy," you were in pain?

CULP: I was in pain and on drugs.

KING: What kind of surgery?

CULP: Huh?

KING: What kind of surgery?

CULP: Well, I don't know what you -- yes, it has a name, but I couldn't possibly pronounce it. He goes in with a little laser and he cuts away the bone that has grown where it is not supposed to be all up and down these vertebrae at the top end of the...

KING: Are you now pain free?

CULP: No. I wish I could say that I was. It worked wonderfully for about three years, but that was about five years ago and little by little I can feel it creeping back again.

KING: Do you take vitamins?

CULP: I am now -- no, I don't. I'm into MSM.

KING: Oh, yes, we discussed that...

CULP: Lignasol (ph) MSM.

KING: James Coburn thinks it absolutely works.

CULP: Jimmy got me on this, Jimmy saved my neck, literally I guess you could say.

KING: MSM?

CULP: Yes, they also have MS -- Lignasol MSM also has a little -- unique life (ph) MSM has a little lotion that you can put on -- well, your hands...

KING: Have you ever tried that, Bruce?

JENNER: No, never have tried that.

KING: Let me get a break, we have lots of thing to talk about -- a disease common to many: arthritis. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: By the way, we're having a technical difficulty with our satellite and Dr. Klippel in Wilmington. As soon as we straighten it out, we'll bring him right back into the conversation.

And Dorothy Hamill and Bruce Jenner are both spokespersons for Merck, which makes Vioxx. And Robert Culp is also a spokesperson for Lignasol...

CULP: Lignasol...

KING: Lignasol, the MSM...

CULP: Unique Life Lignasol MSM.

KING: That's a dietary supplement, it's not a drug.

CULP: Yes, it is. It's not a drug and it does not claim to make you pain free. We are not allowed to use that word, as a matter of fact.

KING: Is Vioxx over the counter or prescription?

JENNER: Prescription.

KING: OK.

JENNER: You have to go to your doctor to get that.

KING: It heals pain? It takes away pain?

JENNER: Yes. In my case, basically what happened is I started the product -- I was having a lot of problems with anytime I did anything really active on, especially my knee, I got a lot of swelling, it was sore, I mean, the next day it took days to get back. And, many, many years ago, I used to take some anti-inflammatories, basically. You know, I mean, and the problem was...

KING: Steroids?

JENNER: No, I don't know what it is, I don't even know what the product was it was such a long time ago. But anti-inflammatories always seemed to work well for my joints, but the problem was you couldn't take them all the time. So when I went to my doctor, we started discussing what was going on. I was looking for a product that I could take all the time, you know, because I still had -- you know, this problem just keeps coming back and back and back.

KING: How long can you take it?

JENNER: You can take it every day. It's an everyday product, and so, you know, all of a sudden the joints heal up, you don't get the pain, and the swelling goes down.

KING: Are you pain free?

JENNER: Yes -- well, yes, pretty much.

KING: Nobody...

JENNER: I mean, unless I'm really, really active, you know. The thing is I've got -- you know, I've been very fortunate to have a lot of kids and like you, I have some little ones, and you know how active they are.

KING: I have heard.

JENNER: And you have heard, huh?

KING: Well, firsthand today.

JENNER: Well, you are the perfect specimen, you're the perfect health specimen really.

KING: How about today?

JENNER: You know, you can keep up with these kids. You know, me... KING: I've luckily avoided arthritis.

JENNER: Really?

KING: Except once I had it in my finger.

JENNER: You've had everything else.

KING: No, I had it in a finger, they gave me a cortisone shot, and it went away.

JENNER: Did you really?

KING: Whatever that was.

JENNER: That was all. So basically, I mean, I wanted to keep up with my kids and I wanted to stay very active, and I want to enjoy the lifestyle I've always enjoyed.

KING: Isn't it hard, Dorothy, to be an athlete and have this? I mean...

HAMILL: Yes.

KING: ... doubly hard, because there are things you can't do you used to do easily?

HAMILL: Yes. Partly because of age, I mean, physically I just don't have that muscle strength that I used to have. But, because of pain and just -- I mean, nothing moved. I got to the point where I literally was trying to figure out, OK, I'm going to time this performance so that I can do one layback spin and, you know -- and I don't even do triple jumps, so I'm not talking about really difficult things the way the young kids are today. But I am almost pain free. If I don't take Vioxx, I feel it immediately the next day.

KING: And what does MSM do for you, Robert?

CULP: Well, let me put it this way.

KING: Is it a tablet as well as this spray?

CULP: I take 18 grams a day -- I forget what Jimmy told me.

KING: Just like in health food stores, right?

CULP: What?

KING: Health food stores?

CULP: Yes -- but my real baby here is the lotion form, because I have a big toe on my right foot that I've broken a couple of times, it is now just a big knot of calcium, and I couldn't walk, God knows I couldn't run. I couldn't even do a push-up because to do a push-up you have to be able to bend your toe 45 degrees at least, and I couldn't do it. With this stuff, when I discovered it, and with less than a week I was walking absolutely pain free and have been ever since. However, I have to put it on, that is to say rub it in, like -- this stuff is horse liniment (ph) essentially, that's what it started from. But this is not the Chinese stuff that has been coming into the country, which is made from petroleum. This is from pine trees, believe it or not.

KING: Are there a lot of charlatans in this field, Bruce? Do you hear from a lot, hey, I have got the cure? Because you look at ads in the paper...

JENNER: Everybody has a cure.

KING: ... everybody has a cure for arthritis.

JENNER: Yes, everybody has a cure. That is why I think really going to your doctor, taking a really very scientific approach to what you are trying to do, looking at all the options, because there is other options, there is a lot of competition, there is prescription drugs, there is non-prescription drugs, things like that. And I really think the best person out there is to go to your doctor, and that is what we are trying to encourage people to do.

You know, like we were talking earlier with Dorothy, you know, I come from the world of athletics, man, you'll play through the pain, you know, no matter what it is, you go through it. And it just got to a point in my life where I didn't want to play through the pain any longer, you know, I wanted to look at some solutions here. And so, with going to my doctor and consulting him and, you know, taking a very scientific approach to what I'm trying to do, Vioxx was the solution for me. I mean, I had very positive results from that. I felt better, I could move better.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Whatever works for you, right?

JENNER: I got a -- and I got a serious golf game I'm working on, you know. Larry, I want to make sure that, that golf game is improving.

KING: It must be terrible, Robert, though, to be in constant pain? One would have to think of what that's like after all those years?

CULP: When I first went to the doctor who did the surgery on my neck, that was before I knew about MSM at all, I said look, my -- the only time I have in the day that -- where I feel halfway decent like a human being is when I turn the hottest water I can imagine in the shower in the morning on the back of my neck. The rest of the time I'm living with pain all the time, it's just horrible, and it goes from the back of my neck up into a headache in my head, and it's horrible, help me, and he did.

KING: Arthritis can kill, too. It can kill you, arthritis. (CROSSTALK)

JENNER: Thanks, Larry, I need to hear that.

KING: Well, I'm just pointing it out.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I had a friend whose wife died.

CULP: Thanks for sharing that, Larry.

JENNER: Really, really?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: OK, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we'll straighten out the satellite with the doctor and he'll tell me I'm wrong. We'll be right back, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back, and we understand we have connected now well with Dr. John Klippel, the medical director of The Arthritis Foundation, part of our panel tonight.

He, by the way, interrupted his vacation to appear with us tonight, we certainly thank him for doing that.

First, was I wrong, can arthritis kill, Dr. Klippel?

KLIPPEL: Yes, I mean, Larry, a lot of people don't understand that, there are forms of arthritis -- rheumatoid arthritis would be a great example, in which there is a shortened lifespan just because of arthritis, so you are absolutely on target there.

KING: OK, now what we have talked about so far, what do you think of MSM?

KLIPPEL: Well, I mean, there is a lot of nutritional supplement -- so MSM, as Bob points out, is a nutritional supplement and there are actually lots of nutritional supplements used, MSM, glucosamine, condroitin (ph) sulfate, all popular remedies. We don't know a whole lot about the science of nutritional supplements, and as Bob points out, there are people who swear by these things.

KING: You don't discount them, then?

KLIPPEL: Oh, no. I think we have to take -- people who are using these are in pain and if people are saying that the use of nutritional supplements relieve their pain, I think the medical community ought to take that seriously.

KING: Yes, I have always wondered when doctors pooh-pooh something where someone is helped.

What about Vioxx, Doctor?

KLIPPEL: Oh, yes, I think drugs like Vioxx -- those are, as was pointed out, are prescription drugs, they actually come from some understanding of what causes the pain and the inflammation in osteoarthritis, and they're a new safer way of using an anti- inflammatory drug. So this an example of what we believe is a real advance.

KING: Is it curable?

KLIPPEL: Well, certain forms of arthritis are curable and certain aren't, Larry. For example, gout would be a form of arthritis in which we not only understand what causes gout, but we have medications that can virtually eliminate the disease. So...

KING: Osteoarthritis...

KLIPPEL: ... it depends a bit on what form of arthritis.

KING: Osteoarthritis, curable or not curable?

KLIPPEL: Is osteoarthritis curable?

KING: Yes. Is it?

KLIPPEL: That's not curable at this point, Larry, we don't know enough about it.

KING: Just treatable. We don't know why Bruce Jenner gets it and Phil Jones doesn't, right?

KLIPPEL: Well, we can guess. In -- we know that injuries to joints, and I think both Bruce, Bob, and Dorothy indicated that maybe trauma or injuries to joints might have played a role here -- we know that's true.

KING: Dorothy, you definitely connect injury to it, right?

HAMILL: Well, you know, I don't remember actually having an injury in my neck, I do know that, you know, I have had a lot of falls. Maybe just the repetition of falling and falling, and the jarring on my neck and spine. In the '70s, we used to do a lot of head rolls and I was thinking, you know, that could have been it as well. I mean, I don't really know. I really don't.

KING: You can jump in, Bruce.

JENNER: Yes, actually, you know, what I feel like is what we are trying to do is we're trying to get the message out here. A lot of people think, OK, a product like Vioxx is for, you know, former athletes like myself who have lived this very active lifestyle, or got injured, or has a problem like that. But really, it is -- it's for everyday people that are out there, I mean, that is what people have to realize.

There are 20 million people out there with osteoarthritis that today, with technology being what it is, you know, there are options for them out there now, and that is what I'm trying to get across, and -- you know, so they can pick up the kids. It's a mom that has been working, you know, around the house lifting kids all the time, and next thing you know, their shoulder is a problem and, you know, this and that. Because I had that with my shoulder, I mean, I had a hard time picking my kids up.

KING: And you put that spray right on the spot three times a day?

CULP: It's not a spray, Larry, it's a lotion.

KING: You rub it in.

CULP: You rub it in just like horse liniment three times a day and I am pain free, where I couldn't walk at all.

KING: And no -- Doctor, what about the miracle cures? There is a lot of it in this field, you see ads in all the magazines, "We cure arthritis, call this number," right? I guess the tabloids are kept alive by arthritis ads. Do -- what do we do about charlatans?

KLIPPEL: Well, I think we have to recognize there is -- there are no miracles here, there are no cures here. It is important that people understand getting a doctor and getting a diagnosis is really where one starts effective treatments, we clearly have effective treatments.

KING: So -- but what we are talking about, for the benefit of the audience and those that will be calling in, we are talking about treatments, not cure.

Right, Doctor?

KLIPPEL: That's absolutely right, Larry, we are talking about treatment.

KING: We'll be right back...

KLIPPEL: Although, in osteoarthritis, Larry, we can begin to talk about prevention -- right -- we know ways in which people might protect themselves from developing osteoarthritis.

KING: Let's talk about that right after this. We'll be right back, we'll take your calls in a couple of minutes. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our panel, we'll reintroduce them all at the bottom of the hour, we'll also include your phone calls.

Dr. Klippel, how is arthritis preventable?

KLIPPEL: Well, Larry, three-ways, being over weight expses -- increases one's risk of osteoarthritis; being unfit, that is staying fit protects you from osteoarthritis; and number three, we believe the first sign that you get of joint pain you should see a doctor and try to understand whether this is really osteoarthritis and start treatment early. So there is three important ways we can think about prevention.

KING: What kind of doctor is the doctor to see?

KLIPPEL: Well, there is specialists, the rheumatologists. So I'm a rheumatologist, these are people who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis. And generally, for most people there is a health care team that could include therapists, could include surgeons, could include a variety of people to help.

KING: And without being too technical, what tells you it's arthritis?

What makes it as a diagnosis -- how do you know Robert Culp has arthritis?

KLIPPEL: Well, the first thing people complain about are things like pain and stiffness, and they usually associate it in osteoarthritis with very characteristic joints, Larry. It is typically a knee, a hip, or the spine, or in many people, it is the small joints at the ends of the hands. Those are very characteristic locations for osteoarthritis.

KING: And then is there a test that confirms it?

KLIPPEL: Well, I think early on, this is a diagnosis made by someone who is experienced in knowing about osteoarthritis. There are no blood tests for osteoarthritis, and X-rays simply show damage to the joint, Larry, so one sees changes quite late in the disease, not early.

KING: Did it bother you, Bruce, when you were told you had it?

JENNER: Yes, it kind of scares you, you know. Osteoarthritis, boy, that is a big word, sounds terrible...

(CROSSTALK)

JENNER: Am I going to live?

KING: Arthritis sounds like it's for the aging, doesn't it?

JENNER: Yes, and my mind is still writing checks, but my body can't cash them right now, OK, you know what I mean? I have been very fortunate like that, you know. You still think we can go out there and we can all run the mile in four minutes, you know, your mind still thinks that, but then you go out and actually try to do it, it's kind of scary. But, yes...

KING: But when you're told you have osteoarthritis...

JENNER: Yes, it is kind of scary because in my case, I didn't know if any -- OK, I can't cure this, it's not like it's going to be over with. And in my case, in my knee, you know, I had to go see the doctor, and then when he tells you that, at least I found out that there were some solutions here -- OK, I have got it, I'm dealing with a lot of pain here, you know, what are my options? And for me it was great -- Vioxx.

KING: Was it tough for you to hear, Dorothy?

HAMILL: Actually, it was a bit of a relief because I -- as I said, I had lived with it for three or four years and I would always joke, and Brian Bointano (ph) got to a point where he said, "If you say the word 'old' one more time, you're going to pay me a quarter every time you say it." And I just felt old, and so there -- I was relieved when I knew that there was something I could do about it. And as Bruce said earlier, you know, this is not just for the former Olympic athletes, this is -- can help and there are medications and things that can help people who, you know, are struggling just to climb stairs, or struggling just to -- you know, simple things. So...

KING: Yours, Robert, you don't just have to live with it, you can do something about it?

CULP: No. I'm the best example there is. I tried surgery, I tried a lot of other stuff before this. The surgery works, it works up to a point. And that was really serious surgery, too, on the spine, spinal surgery. And then for something that really was crippling me up, something as simple as this, rubbing this on three times a day.

KING: And you get Lignasol in health food stores, right?

CULP: Yes, health food stores.

KING: We'll take a break, come back and include your phone calls. Dorothy Hamill -- we'll reintroduce the whole panel, tell you their involvements with all of this, and include your calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Drew Carey tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's reintroduce our panel. They are Bruce Jenner. Bruce is the -- won of the gold medal in the decathlon, the 1976 Montreal Olympics, motivational speaker, sports commentator. Has osteoarthritis. And as of tonight, has become a spokesperson for Vioxx, which is made by Merck.

Dorothy Hamill, gold medal figure skater, also in the '76 Winter Olympics at Insbruck, five time world professional skating champion, tours with Champions on Ice. She, too is representing the Merck Corporation and Vioxx. She, too, has osteoarthritis.

Robert Culp, actor, writer, director, many, many films, probably best known for "I Spy," one of the most successful television series ever, and he is a spokesperson as well for Lignasol, the MSM dietary supplement, which he takes for his osteoarthritis.

And in Wilmington, North Carolina is Dr. John Klippel. John is medical director of the Arthritis Foundation, and thinks -- and was previously with the National Institute of Arthritis.

And let's go to your calls. San Diego, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: My question would be directed to the doctor.

KING: Yes?

CALLER: For those suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, what does the doctor think of the new drugs, for instance, Enbrel? What is his take on that?

KING: Doctor?

KLIPPEL: Enbrel is an example of a real miracle in science. That is, we understand rheumatoid arthritis a lot better than we understand osteoarthritis. So this is a product that is developed in and around the science of rheumatoid arthritis, has really been one of the major, major advances in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

KING: Can you briefly explain what rheumatoid is as opposed to osteo?

KLIPPEL: Yes, Larry. Rheumatoid arthritis, one of the things we learned tonight is that young people get arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a great example of this. These are basically -- starts around the age of 30, in women, affects the lining of the joint, called the scnovian (ph). It becomes inflamed and starts to eat away at the cartilage and bone and become very damaging, and as we discussed. affects two and half million Americans.

KING: Is pain the same?

KLIPPEL: Well, to an extent, it is. Osteoarthritis, as we have discussed tonight, oftentimes is associated with sitting around and just getting up and experiencing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is pain every hour of every single day, also a chronic condition, clearly one of the more serious forms of arthritis.

KING: Glenolden. Pennsylvania, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry?

KING: Yes.

CALLER: I was just wondering, is there any side effects this Vioxx, because I have end stage arthritis they say on both of my knees.

JENNER: Not my question. I have had absolutely none. I have had none. I think we'd probably refer that on to the doctor.

KING: Let's check if any of our people have it. Dorothy, have you had side effects?

HAMILL: I have not. And actually, I have a history of bleeding ulcer when I was younger. So I have been very lucky with Vioxx, I have had no problems at all.

KING: Any side effects to MSM?

CULP: Known whatsoever. This stuff is -- has the toxicity of clean water.

KING: Doctor, side effects?

KLIPPEL: That's one of the important things, Larry, Vioxx was developed to reduce side effects, so if you will, one of the -- where it's a real advance is that it's a safer drug to use.

KING: And MSM is something the medical industry has not studied?

KLIPPEL: Larry, I think in general, we're just beginning to start to do studies about nutritional supplements. I mean, National Institutes of Health has actually taken the lead. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines is now conduct studies of nutritional supplements and arthritis. So we'll see...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Our friend Dr. Andrew Weill has said often the medical fraternity, to their chagrin, has overlooked this field, which has helped a lot of people. Do you agree?

KLIPPEL: Oh, I agree with that. I think it has been very healthy that we have opened up our eyes to other ways to approach arthritis.

KING: Chicago, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I have a question about Vioxx, because I have osteoarthritis in my knee. I'm a runner, and I have some trouble with it, at least that's what the doctor that I'm seeing told me, because my blood pressure started to escalate. So he switched me to Celebrex, which is going very well. What can anyone on the panel or the doctors say about Celebrex?

KING: Doctor what about that drug?

KLIPPEL: Well, it is similar to Vioxx, the same basic principal, a safe form of nonsteroidal drugs. There are -- Larry, there are going to be individual variations in people's response to these drugs and the side effects.

KING: That's true, there could be a popular drug, that for you is great for you, and for you produce stomach aches.

KLIPPEL: Yes.

KING: Auburn, Michigan, hello.

I should hit the button -- Auburn, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.

KING: Yes?

CALLER: I would like to ask the doctor, I have high blood pressure. How safe is Vioxx for me?

KLIPPEL: That's an important question, Larry, because, I think one of the potential side effects of all nonsteroidal drugs, and Vioxx would fit into that category, is that it can lead to kidney problems and potential increases in blood pressure, so I think you need to work closely with your doctor if these drugs are going to be prescribed. It's an important question.

KING: By the way, the Center for Disease Control, says that by the year 2020 -- it's only 20 years away -- one in five Americans will have what you three have -- one in five.

JENNER: You know what, I have.

CULP: Why more? Why?

KING: I don't know. More active people?

JENNER: I've kind of grown up with this, I'm part of that Baby Boomer generation, I'm kind of right in middle that, that large part of the population that's kind of aging and moving on, and I've always kind of been I felt like, you know, part of these people, and then, you know, we're getting older now, and this large group of people are getting older, and so maybe, you know, in 20 years from now, we're all going to -- this large group are getting older, and so maybe, you know, in 20 years from now, we're all going to -- you know, this large group is going to be a lot older, so there's probably going to be more of these problems.

KING: Also more active people, right, Dorothy?

HAMILL: I guess so. I guess that's what they say. I don't know, I suppose this is my punishment for all the wear and tear that we have all put on our bodies.

KING: But it was worth it, right?

HAMILL: It was absolutely worth it. And it's so great to be able to be able to continue doing it, not as well, but continue.

KING: Robert, when you are acting in a scene and you're in pain, you're really acting?

CULP: Yes, but I don't know, there are blocks, there are neurological blocks you call into play and you don't feel it, it isn't there. Yes, you can...

KING: Like rise above it?

CULP: Yes, yes. We'll be back with more include your -- more of your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our panel.

Three Rivers, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hi. I was told that I have osteoarthritis my left hand, I believe it's in the basal joint, although I don't ever remember having the earlier symptoms that have been described. My joint is enlarged. What can I do to prevent it from getting larger, and also losing the use of my left thumb?

KING: Doctor Klippel, what can she do?

KLIPPEL: So what she's s describing is pain at the base of the thumb. It's another common location, for osteoarthritis. Larry was commenting about injecting joints. Sometimes injection of that joint is helpful. Drug therapy like Vioxx, or any of the nonsteroidal drugs also would be of help, and finally, physical therapy, to sort of splint the thumb and get the joint to quiet down is often helpful.

KING: Don't they inject cortisone a lot when a joint is tight or feels jammed?

KLIPPEL: Yes, including in osteoarthritis, Larry, injecting cortisone into a joint with osteoarthritis can in many people be very helpful.

KING: Frederick, Maryland, hello.

CALLER: Hello, my question is for the doctor.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I have arthritis in my knees and in hands, and I'm taking Vioxx 25 milligrams, and it has relieved me pain from my hands, but I still have a lot of pain in my knee. Would it help to up the dosage or ask my doctor to up the dosage? Or is there anything else I can do?

KLIPPEL: Yes, you need to be careful to work with your doctor with the dosage of Vioxx or any other drug. And of course if any therapy that you're using, whether it's Vioxx or anything else, isn't working, there are a number of other options that you need to consider with your doctor. So I think that's the key there, make sure your doctor is involved in working with you.

KING: Bruce, you say you are urging people to see their doctor. Wouldn't one assume that if one had pain they would go see a doctor? Wouldn't it be automatic, or is it not automatic?

JENNER: A lot of people don't know that there are solutions out there, there are things that you can do.

KING: You mean they're saying, I've got this pain, I'm 55, I got to live with it?

JENNER: I've got to live with it. And a mom that picking up kids and that's shoulder still sore and will never get any better, they think that's the way I have to live.

CULP: Here's another issue that I found traveling around and sitting and talking to people about unique life, MSM, the Lignasol, a lot of people come up and say, what is this stuff? What does it do? It's MSM. That surprises me people that don't know about it to start with. But I'm beginning to realize that it's not as well-known as I thought it was. The other is price. When you think you have to go to the doctor, you always say, it costs money, that costs money, well, I'll just live with it a little bit longer. Pretty soon, you get in habit.

KING: That's a good point. You assume that a lot of people, wouldn't you think, Dorothy, a lot of people are afraid to go for afraid of what the prescription might cost?

HAMILL: Yes, that's a big part of it, absolutely. And as you said before, I think we all think we just have to live with it, and I think that is kind of the message, that there are solutions, whether it's osteoarthritis or something else completely, only your doctor can help you. And I mean I just I just can't say enough that it's OK to go to your doctor, it's OK that if you have pain, but you have to get to the bottom of it, and you don't have to live with that. Because it's depressing. I really thought I was in a state of depression. I lived with it at least four years.

KING: Before you did anything about it?

HAMILL: Before -- well, I went to my doctor, and it took us at least two years to get to the bottom of it, because I went to -- it was just an annual checkup, and I kept saying I feel old, I feel old. And we tried several different things, and finally this year, when I had this severe case that I could not move, and I had a performance that night and I needed to do something, and I went to actually a sports medicine physician on the road, and he had prescribed Vioxx for me, and it was just -- I can't tell you not only was I able to work that night, but I haven't been off of it since, and if I run out of my prescription, and I don't have it, I start feeling those aches and pains instantly. So when I think I had four years that I could have maybe not felt like this.

KING: Dr. Klippel, how about over the counter? Over the counter, you will see, arthritis-strength Bufferin, Tylenol, Aspirin, Bayer arthritis strength -- is that just public relations?

KLIPPEL: Well, no, Larry, I don't think we should discount over- the-counter products. I think the products that you mentioned, or products like Aceda Medephin (ph) or Tylenol, all have a role in the management of osteoarthritis, so it doesn't always require a prescription. And that would include nutritional supplements or over- the-counter products that you get at drugstore, they can definitely have a role.

KING: The key here is, what works, right?

KLIPPEL: That's right, Larry. The key is, doing something about it. I mean, what we heard tonight is, from Bruce. Bob and Dorothy, is that they lived with it for a long time, they finally decided to do something about it, and they have their lives back.

KING: Dorothy, have you skated in pain?

HAMILL: Oh, every night, every night I skated in pain. And as said, I was getting to the point where I thought, you know what, I'm going to have to hang them up, and you know, I don't do triple jumps, I do a couple spins, and some tiny little jumps, but even the simplest moves were painful.

KING: Robert Culp said that he could tune it out sometimes when he was acting. Can you tune it out when you are skating?

HAMILL: Well, adrenaline applause a big factor, yes, it does.

Go ahead.

KING: Bruce, have you competed in sports in pain?

JENNER: Oh, yes, I certainly have. You know, until I started on Vioxx, I was actually carpooling in pain. You know, I mean I have a lot of kids and stuff, I'm driving kids around, and my knee sore because the day before let's say I played golf and walked the course.

KING: But you competed in pain?

JENNER: Oh yes, everybody has, you know, you have to at some point, unfortunately.

KING: What do you, though? Do you do rise above it?

JENNER: Yes, adrenaline plays a big factor in it. I could play with pain if I knew that, let's say the pain was not something that was, you know, going to get worse if I played with it. You know, if it was going to make it worse and worse and worse, then I would just stop, back off, because you just can't do it.

KING: That's stupid, right?

JENNER: Yes, then it becomes stupid.

KING: We'll back with more. Don't go away on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back.

North Miami Beach, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hello. My question is for the doctor.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I took Vioxx over two years. And then about six months down the line, I got a call from the doctor, he told me to stop it. He was very adamant that my having blood work every three months, CBC, creatin liver function. About six months ago, there was change, and he told me that I must stop the Vioxx. This was not addressed at all this evening.

KING: No, I didn't know that.

Should there be tests of people on drugs, blood tests? I know people do it with other drugs for other diseases, doctor.

KLIPPEL: Larry, for most people, there is not a need for regular blood testing. Now, we pointed out a couple potential complications. There can be kidney problems nonsteroidal drugs like Vioxx. There can be gastrointestinal problems. I think what the caller is describing would be distinctly unusual with this class of drugs.

KING: You have not been told, Bruce, have you, to take special tests every three months?

JENNER: No, no, I haven't. But I go to regular checkups with my doctor anyway that and that. But no, nothing out of the ordinary that I wouldn't just normally do.

KING: We go to Muscle Shoals, Alabama -- hello.

CALLER: Yes, this is for the doctor. I'd like to ask, did you ever recommend treating osteoarthritis with pretizone?

KING: Doctor?

KLIPPEL: So pretizone is cortisone or it's a hormone. It generally is not, is not used for osteoarthritis, with one exception, and that is, it can be injected into joints like the knee, but in general, it is not used as a pill to treat a disease like osteoarthritis.

KING: Once you have this doctor, you have it the rest of your life. The questions, these treatments work, they keep you hopefully pain-free, reduce the amount of pain, but you're not going to get rid of arthritis if you have arthritis.

KLIPPEL: That's right, Larry. Particularly for osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis; these are chronic conditions. Once they set in, in a sense, you have to learn to live with it. And it's very important that people take charge or take control. They -- there is no need to be passive about this. If this is going to become part of your life, you need to both understand it and to take control of it. KING: Any racial relationships? Would more whites get it percentagewise than blacks? Would more people from North than people from the South, in regions of geography? Any descriptions there that vary?

KLIPPEL: That's a really interesting question, Larry. We just don't have clues like that. It doesn't seem to like one race versus another. There is -- anybody can get osteoarthritis. It's a worldwide problem.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments. Some final comments from each of our guests, right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: I once asked George Burns if he ever had arthritis. He said he was first one to ever get it.

We go to Richmond, Virginia -- Hello.

CALLER: Hi, this is a call for the doctor.

KING: Sure.

CALLER: I was diagnosed with rheumatoid about a year ago, and I'm on a ton of medications. And my pain has gotten better, but I feel just like I have the flu all the time, run a fever, have chills, and the doctor can't seem to tell me if this is still from the rheumatoid or if it's from the medication. What do you think?

KLIPPEL: Well, that's a hard question, but one of the things, Larry, this points out is that rheumatoid arthritis would be an example of a form of arthritis that doesn't just affect the joints. So we talk about this being a systemic illness. People have profound fatigue, and just basically feel awful most of the time. So arthritis can mean more than just joint pain.

KING: By the way, doctor, does diet help?

KLIPPEL: Well, for osteoarthritis, diet helps if you can lose weight. The role of diet in treating arthritis also, like nutritional supplements, we don't quite understand the role of diet in either making arthritis better or worse, and there is need for more studies about that.

KING: So we know that if you're overweight, the chance of getting it is greater, but we don't know why.

KLIPPEL: That's a great question. We think it has something to do with the stresses across the joints, but it's certainly not that simple. But that's an important public health thing, Larry. If every 30-year-old understood importance of maintaining a healthy weight, we could reduce the risk of osteoarthritis substantially. It's a great public health lesson.

KING: I would assume, Bruce, you have been healthy all your life -- you have taken care of yourself

JENNER: I have taken care of myself my entire life, always kept myself in very good shape.

KING: Obviously. For you, Robert.

CULP: Absolutely.

KING: Always, Dorothy?

CULP: Not always, but most of the time.

JENNER: Want to tell us about those years.

CULP: No.

KING: Dorothy, have you always watched what you eat?

HAMILL: Yes, I have, I absolutely have.

KING: So you're very aware of that. Does Vioxx have a theme for all this?

JENNER: Well, yes, We -- actually Dorothy and I will be traveling around the United States talking to people about what we call "everyday victories." That's our campaign. We're looking for people who had great results with the product Vioxx. We are also doing a lot to help support the Arthritis Foundation, and it's really going to be a lot of fun. I feel like I have had tremendous results with Vioxx, and very positive results, and, you know, I would like people to know, and our job is to educate people, tell them to get in there and see their doctor.

KING: Does MSM advertise, Robert? Do they promote a lot?

JENNER: Not great deal, no.

KING: Shouldn't they?

JENNER: Yes, I think they should. But this is a burgeoning field and a young field, and for example, I was taking MSM a couple years before I ran across these guys at Unique Life, Lignasol, and was found out I was taking the wrong amount. I wasn't taking enough. I was taking, perhaps, two or three grams a day, when I needed 18.

KING: That's one of the tough things doctor. You're prescribing Vioxx. How much Vioxx?

KLIPPEL: Well, it's going to be an individual variation on patients. I think you have to just work with your doctor to find a dose that relives the pain.

KING: All right, the big secret we've learned here tonight, if there is one -- it should be simple, but apparently, it's not, if you're in pain, go to the doctor. And go to a rheumatologist, a specialist in the field, get a checkup, find out what it is, and use the treatment that best works for you. The most important thing is for you to stay out of pain.

We thank all of our guests for being with us. We appreciate it very much. Tomorrow night, Drew Carey will be with us. Next Monday is Labor Day, and that means the Jerry Lewis telethon, and as always, Mr. Lewis will be our guests this Friday night for the full show, a preview of annual Jerry Lewis right here on telethon LARRY KING LIVE.

Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND." For our guests, and yours truly and the whole crew, thanks for joining us and good night.

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