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One Hollywood Stuntman Uses an Athlete’s Mindset to Overcome His Toughest Ride Yet

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(BPT) - When Chris Arthur is asked to recall the highlight of his career as a Hollywood stuntman, his face lights up. He remembers how he once stepped foot on a helicopter to receive the memory of a lifetime in the air.

“There I was hanging out the side of a helicopter filming a scene for the season finale of a popular TV show,” Chris says. “There were two of us, and while in a majority of stunts you’re the bad guy, I’m pretty sure we were the good guys. Talk about a high point.”

An Unexpected Turn

Reflecting back, the 42-year-old thrill-seeker can hardly believe the turns his life has taken since he was laying in a hospital bed 15 years ago, listening to doctors recommend surgery to remove part of his large intestine.

A lifelong athlete, Chris always had a love for athletics, competition, extreme sports and racing. However, at just 19 years old—in the prime of his life—he was diagnosed with a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) known as ulcerative colitis (UC). On the cusp of his dream of becoming a professional race car driver, his career would take a backseat as he focused on finding relief from his symptoms and learning to live with this chronic disease.

Approximately 3 million adults in the United States have IBD, which includes conditions like UC and Crohn’s disease.1 UC is a disease that affects the digestive system, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea and weight loss.2 For some patients, the disease can interfere with their day-to-day routine and change their sense of normalcy.2,3

Searching for the Right Path

Chris’ subsequent journey evaluating his treatment options benefited from finding the right doctor for him.

“Just like athletes need a strong coach, finding the right doctor was critical in treating symptoms of my disease, which helped me get back to the things I love doing, like racing,” says Chris. “I found a doctor I was comfortable with and he talked to me about my health goals, and transparently walked me through what to expect living with ulcerative colitis.”

After discussing all of Chris’ questions, he and his doctor ultimately decided that a biologic medication called STELARA® (ustekinumab) was the proper choice for his moderately to severely active UC. From his own experiences, Chris knows everyone’s body chemistry is different and there are no guarantees when trying new medicines. But, for him, STELARA® got his symptoms under control which helped him get back to doing the things he used to do.

STELARA® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults 18 years and older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

In a clinical study in UC, the majority of patients treated with STELARA® saw relief from their UC symptoms in just eight weeks, with nearly 1 in 5 achieving remission. Additionally, in another study, 4 out of 10 patients were in remission at year one after responding to the IV induction dose and continuing on treatment with STELARA®. Please note that individual results may vary. STELARA® is not for everyone. Only you and your doctor can decide if STELARA® is right for you.

STELARA® treatment starts with a one-time intravenous (IV) infusion through a vein in the arm that provides the amount of medication based on your body weight and is administered by a medical professional. After the onetime IV infusion, you will receive STELARA® as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) every 8 weeks. STELARA® is intended for use under the guidance and supervision of your doctor. If your doctor decides that you or a caregiver may give your injections of STELARA® at home, you should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject STELARA®. Please see below for related and other Important Safety Information and review the Medication Guide for STELARA® to learn more about risks associated with STELARA®. Discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

Chris notes that he now has so much value for every moment of every day. He looks forward to having the time to go camping and play sports with his kids.

Thinking Like an Athlete

As the nation’s best athletes perform on the world’s biggest stage in Tokyo, stories of perseverance couldn’t be more timely as participants continue to raise public awareness about seemingly insurmountable feats still being possible.

With a disease like UC, everyday struggles can include symptom flare-ups that can impact even the fittest athletes. In addition to seeking treatment options with your doctor, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to living with UC. Some tips include4:

  • Establishing an exercise routine that is right for you
  • Considering meditation or yoga to relieve stress
  • Eating a healthy diet, small meals and limiting dairy products. Additionally, avoiding gassy foods (e.g., beans, cabbage, broccoli), raw fruit juices and fruits, caffeine and carbonated beverages, which can trigger flare-ups
  • Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated

For Chris, these healthy lifestyle tips, paired with adopting an athlete’s mindset, were critical to his own journey.

“It has been incredibly difficult at times, as the symptoms associated with this daunting and sometimes demoralizing disease can impact your ability to do the things that you want,” he says of living with UC. “If I could offer advice to anyone else out there living with the disease, I’d say find a doctor who believes in you and who you can communicate with openly. Have confidence that where you are now is not where you have to spend the rest of your life.”

By working with your doctor to identify disease management strategies that are right for you, that intimidating feat may actually be within arm’s reach.

Results may vary. STELARA® may not be right for everyone. Only your doctor can decide if STELARA® is right for you.

WHAT IS STELARA®?

STELARA® is a prescription medicine used to treat adults 18 years and older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

STELARA® (ustekinumab) is a prescription medicine that affects your immune system. STELARA® can increase your chance of having serious side effects including:

Serious Infections

STELARA® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. While taking STELARA®, some people have serious infections, which may require hospitalization, including tuberculosis (TB), and infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses.

  • Your doctor should check you for TB before starting STELARA® and watch you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with STELARA®.
  • If your doctor feels that you are at risk for TB, you may be treated for TB before and during treatment with STELARA®.

You should not start taking STELARA® if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.

Before starting STELARA®, tell your doctor if you:

  • think you have an infection or have symptoms of an infection such as:
    • fever, sweats, or chills
    • muscle aches
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • blood in phlegm
    • weight loss
    • warm, red, or painful skin or sores on your body
    • diarrhea or stomach pain
    • burning when you urinate or urinate more often than normal
    • feel very tired
  • are being treated for an infection or have any open cuts.
  • get a lot of infections or have infections that keep coming back.
  • have TB, or have been in close contact with someone with TB.

After starting STELARA®, call your doctor right away if you have any symptoms of an infection (see above). These may be signs of infections such as chest infections, or skin infections or shingles that could have serious complications. STELARA® can make you more likely to get infections or make an infection that you have worse. People who have a genetic problem where the body does not make any of the proteins interleukin 12 (IL-12) and interleukin 23 (IL-23) are at a higher risk for certain serious infections that can spread throughout the body and cause death. People who take STELARA® may also be more likely to get these infections.

Cancers

STELARA® may decrease the activity of your immune system and increase your risk for certain types of cancer. Tell your doctor if you have ever had any type of cancer. Some people who had risk factors for skin cancer developed certain types of skin cancers while receiving STELARA®. Tell your doctor if you have any new skin growths.

Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome (PRES)

PRES is a rare condition that affects the brain and can cause death. The cause of PRES is not known. If PRES is found early and treated, most people recover. Tell your doctor right away if you have any new or worsening medical problems including: headache, seizures, confusion, and vision problems.

Serious Allergic Reactions

Serious allergic reactions can occur. Stop using STELARA® and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as: feeling faint, swelling of your face, eyelids, tongue, or throat, chest tightness, or skin rash.

Lung Inflammation

Cases of lung inflammation have happened in some people who receive STELARA® and may be serious. These lung problems may need to be treated in a hospital. Tell your doctor right away if you develop shortness of breath or a cough that doesn’t go away during treatment with STELARA®.

Before receiving STELARA®, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have any of the conditions or symptoms listed above for serious infections, cancers, or PRES.
  • ever had an allergic reaction to STELARA® or any of its ingredients. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.
  • are allergic to latex. The needle cover on the prefilled syringe contains latex.
  • have recently received or are scheduled to receive an immunization (vaccine). People who take STELARA® should not receive live vaccines. Tell your doctor if anyone in your house needs a live vaccine. The viruses used in some types of live vaccines can spread to people with a weakened immune system, and can cause serious problems. You should not receive the BCG vaccine during the one year before receiving STELARA® or one year after you stop receiving STELARA®.
  • have any new or changing lesions within psoriasis areas or on normal skin.
  • are receiving or have received allergy shots, especially for serious allergic reactions.
  • receive or have received phototherapy for your psoriasis.
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if STELARA® can harm your unborn baby. You and your doctor should decide if you will receive STELARA®.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is thought that STELARA® passes into your breast milk.
  • talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you receive STELARA®.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

When prescribed STELARA®:

  • Use STELARA® exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • STELARA® is intended for use under the guidance and supervision of your doctor. In children 6 years and older, it is recommended that STELARA® be administered by a healthcare provider. If your doctor decides that you or a caregiver may give your injections of STELARA® at home, you should receive training on the right way to prepare and inject STELARA®. Your doctor will determine the right dose of STELARA® for you, the amount for each injection, and how often you should receive it. Do not try to inject STELARA® yourself until you or your caregiver have been shown how to inject STELARA® by your doctor or nurse.

Common side effects of STELARA® include: nasal congestion, sore throat, and runny nose, upper respiratory infections, fever, headache, tiredness, itching, nausea and vomiting, redness at the injection site, vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, sinus infection, bronchitis, diarrhea, stomach pain, and joint pain. These are not all of the possible side effects with STELARA®. Tell your doctor about any side effect that you experience. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Please click to read the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide for STELARA® and discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit http://www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data and Statistics. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/data-statistics.htm

2 Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Living with Ulcerative Colitis. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/pdfs/living-with-ulcerative.pdf

3 Bannaga AS, Selinger CP. Inflammatory bowel disease and anxiety: links, risks, and challenges faced. Clin Exp Gastroenterol. 2015;8:111-117. doi:10.2147/CEG.S57982

4 Mayo Clinic. Ulcerative colitis flare-ups: 5 tips to manage them. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ulcerative-colitis/in-depth/ulcerative-colitis-flare-up/art-20120410