My plan for a side effect free Tecfidera experience

The specialty pharmacy that my insurance company uses called to let me now that they will be overnighting my first dosage of Tecfidera for delivery on Tuesday.  Tecfidera is known for initially causing flushing and abdominal distress in patients that usually gets better over time.  The key is how to get through that first month on the drug.  My personal situation is further complicated because my MS is a secret from my workplace, and I have a pretty hectic travel schedule with my job.  Bad flushing, nausea and diarrhea could be a real problem.

If I get the pills on Tuesday, I will have a week to try them before I have to hop on an airplane next.  Based on the recommendations from my doc and the hospital’s pharmacist who works with a lot of patients on tecfidera, the following is my plan:

  • Take an aspirin a half hour prior to the pill.  This helps with the flushing.  Many on the internet take a baby aspirin.  My doctor recommended a full adult dose.  I will stick with this for at least the first week or so.
  • Eat a full meal with fats and proteins just prior to popping the pill.  This slows down the absorption of the medicine quite a bit.  I will stick with this indefinitely.
  • Take a probiotic.  This is a tip that you don’t hear often.  The hospital’s pharmacist insisted that people who take a probiotic while starting on tecfidera, don’t have any of the stomach issues.  The probiotic is a once a day pill that supplements the good bacteria living in your gut.  I bought an 80 pack of Culturelle which will take me through the first two months on the tecfidera.  Hopefully by then my body has adjusted to it.  I checked with my doc who said that this is fine.
  • Be a guy.  My doc said that in general, her male patients seemed to have fewer side effects.  Maybe this is because it is the same dosage but being absorbed by a larger person?

I will write new posts next week as I start the medication to let readers know how the plan is working.

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