Professional Athlete Carl Schlacht Leads an Active Life On and Off the Race Track
What would you do if you were frequently sick and knew that even catching a common cold could turn into a serious medical ordeal? This is a question that faces the approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with primary immune deficiency (PI).
PI is an inherited medical condition that affects the cells, tissues and organs of one’s immune system. Because the immune system for those living with PI does not work as it should, people with the condition are more susceptible to common infections and germs, and consequently, secondary complications that can be severe.
According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 150 different types of PI, each affecting different parts of the immune system, but all leading to severe and frequent infections. While the more severe forms of PI are often diagnosed shortly after birth, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, many people aren’t diagnosed until their 20s or 30s.
Living an “Extreme” Life despite primary Immune deficiency
Professional Supercross racer Carl Schlacht was diagnosed with Agammaglobulinemia, a disorder classified as primary immunodeficiency, at age one. “I decided early on that I would not let PI prevent me from competing in Supercross and achieving my lifelong goal of becoming a professional racer,” said Carl, who turned pro in 2005.
Today, Carl’s one of approximately 80 racers who tour the U.S. each year competing in front of tens of thousands of fans at each venue. The sport, which consists of racing off-road motorcycles with steep jumps and obstacles, requires peak conditioning, daily practice and months of training leading up to the season.
“As a professional athlete I always have to be at my physical best,” said Carl. “This means I have to manage my condition appropriately to ensure I have the right steady-state of immunoglobulin in my body. Immunoglobulin helps protect me against infections.”
Carl manages his condition weekly with Hizentra®, Immune Globulin Subcutaneous (Human), from CSL Behring. Hizentra is an immunoglobulin replacement therapy, indicated for the treatment of primary humoral immunodeficiency, that is administered subcutaneously (i.e., under the skin).
“Treating PI weekly keeps my immunoglobulin serum levels at a steady-state,” said Carl. “This works for me. Due to the product’s low volume it only takes about an hour to an hour and a half a week to self-administer. The ability to manage my condition wherever and whenever I choose is really convenient as I lead a fast-paced life.”
Carl added, “I’d recommend anyone experiencing the warning signs of PI to visit his or her doctor. I also encourage people who have PI or another serious medical condition to chase their dreams and not let their condition hold them back.”
Carl, who is sponsored by CSL Behring, plans to take his own advice and continue competing at the highest level of his sport.
Important Safety Information
Immune Globulin Subcutaneous (Human), Hizentra®, treats various forms of primary immunodeficiency (PI) in patients age 2 and over.
WARNING: Thrombosis (blood clotting) can occur with immune globulin products, including Hizentra. Risk factors can include: advanced age, prolonged immobilization, a history of blood clotting or hyperviscosity (blood thickness), use of estrogens, installed vascular catheters, and cardiovascular risk factors.
If you are at high risk of thrombosis, your doctor will prescribe Hizentra at the minimum dose and infusion rate practicable and will monitor you for signs of thrombosis and hyperviscosity. Always drink sufficient fluids before administration.
Tell your doctor if you have had a serious reaction to other immune globulin medicines or have been told you also have a deficiency of the immunoglobulin called IgA, as you might not be able to take Hizentra. You should not take Hizentra if you know you have hyperprolinemia (too much proline in your blood).
Infuse Hizentra under your skin only; do not inject into a blood vessel.
Allergic reactions can occur with Hizentra. If your doctor suspects you are having a bad allergic reaction or are going into shock, treatment will be discontinued. Immediately tell your doctor or go to the emergency room if you have signs of such a reaction, including hives, trouble breathing, wheezing, dizziness, or fainting.
Tell your doctor about any side effects that concern you. Immediately report symptoms that could indicate a blood clot, including pain and/or swelling of an arm or leg, with warmth over affected area; discoloration in arm or leg; unexplained shortness of breath; chest pain or discomfort that worsens with deep breathing; unexplained rapid pulse; and numbness or weakness on one side of the body. Your doctor will also monitor symptoms that could indicate hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), and other potentially serious reactions that have been seen with Ig treatment, including aseptic meningitis syndrome (brain swelling); kidney problems; and transfusion-related acute lung injury.
The most common drug-related adverse reactions in the clinical trial for Hizentra were swelling, pain, redness, heat or itching at the site of injection; headache; back pain; diarrhea; tiredness; cough; rash; itching; nausea and vomiting.
Hizentra is made from components of human blood. The risk of transmission of infectious agents, including viruses and, theoretically, the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) agent, cannot be completely eliminated.
Before being treated with Hizentra, inform your doctor if you are pregnant, nursing or plan to become pregnant. Vaccines (such as measles, mumps and rubella) might not work well if you are using Hizentra. Before receiving any vaccine, tell the healthcare professional you are being treated with Hizentra.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Senior Manager, Public Relations and Communications
US Commercial Operations
1020 First Avenue