Now that the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was made, it was time to talk about what to do about it.
There are two ways of using medications to treat MS. The first would be taking something, steroids is an example, that would address the symptoms that you were suffering. Since I had hardly any symptoms, this wasn’t something that I needed to consider. At least not yet. The second group are what are called disease modifying drugs, also known as DMDs.
The idea of DMDs is to slow down the progression of the disease. Unfortunately none of them halt it completely. They also don’t work the same on all people. There are the lucky few who might find a drug that slows it down so much that it does effectively halt it. Other’s may find that no drug slows it’s progression down at all. Obviously, I hope that I will be in the former group, but only time will tell.
My doctor explained that there are about a dozen drugs currently approved with a variety of results and side effects associated with them. For someone in my circumstances she had three that she used as baseline treatments. I had done a little research before and knew that some of the newer drugs were taken as pills. I told her to give her best recommendation for me and I would go with it, hoping that it would be a pill.
My doctor recommended Rebif. I will go into more detail in another post, but basically it involves giving yourself a subcutaneous injection three times a week. She said that it has a very long safety profile and that with any luck, it may be the only medication that I will need.
But give myself a shot? Having someone else do it is bad enough. I just couldn’t imagine having to stick a needle into myself.
In actuality it isn’t really that bad (more to come on this). And for the first time at least I felt like I was doing something for my disease. It was the most empowered that I had felt in a long time.
At a later appointment I asked doc why she went with Rebif instead of Tecfidera, which is a new popular pill? She replied that treating MS is a marathon. At some point we may have to switch medications. When that time comes, it is much easier to switch a patient from an injection to a pill than the other way around. I couldn’t disagree with that.