Medication Questions.....

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Medication Questions.....

Postby craftiegal » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:55 am

I'm trying to get a handle on MS medications. Is MS one of those diseases where you have to find the right combination of medications for each individual? The last thing I feel like is having medications make me feel whoopier than I already am!

Other than researching medications/discussing tx options with dr./and pinpointing my worst symptoms/what else can I do to prepare for the options of medications that are out there?

Do most MS'ers take the immunno-suppresent drugs in combination with other meds for various symptoms (vertigo, depression, pain, etc.)? Or do the immuno-supp. drugs help alleviate these symptoms too?

I guess what I'm asking is if the lesions cause the issues - and the immune medications help reduce the frequency of attacks - does that mean the vertigo, pain, insomnia, etc., go away also?

Gosh - am I making any sense?
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Postby patientx » Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:24 pm

You make perfect sense - I get just as confused as you.

I'll try to answer some of your questions, but I've only been diagnosed since last August; there are a lot of people here who know a lot more than me.

First, I think you can divide MS medications into 2 broad categories - those that treat symptoms, and those that try to treat the underlying disease. An example of the first group would be Neurontin or some of the anti-depressants for neuropathic pain. Another examples would be medicines to help with spasticity or stiffness. An extreme example would be IV steroids which help with reducing the length of relapses.

The drugs that try to treat the disease include the popular DMD CRABs - Copaxone, Rebif, Avonex and Betaseron. These are the popular front-line treatments. But there's also Tysabri, Rituxan and some others. In general these aren't used to treat symptoms, but to try to limit future relapses, and slow down the progression of MS to some extent. Which medicine does either one of these the best (or at all) is open to a lot of debate.

So to answer your question, yes, each individual needs to find the right combination of medications. Yes, many people take both a DMD and medicines to help with symptoms on a regular basis. (I only take a DMD currently, since my symptoms have been bearable). The answer to the last question is a little complex. The body has a certain capacity to heal itself; so in the absence of relapses or disease activity, then it's possible for damage to heal and symptoms to go away. So, yes, indirectly the CRABs and other immuno drugs can cause symptoms to go away.


To help prepare for the CRABs (if that' the route you're thinking), I'd read up as much as possible; the internet is pretty good for this. Many times the choice comes down to how often you want to inject, and what side effects you can tolerate. This site has a separate message board for each medicine, so you can find much information there. The drug manufacturers' websites also have useful information, but you will have to read this through you own filter. Of course they're each going to tout their drug as the best. As far as medicines for symptoms, you can post any specific questions you have here, and I bet you can a lot of good answers.

Hope this helps.
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Postby she-aardvark » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:10 am

I have used Avonex and later Copaxone which I still use. I also
need solafenacin for my bladder I trained as a pharmacologist and I have trained medical students about the disease modifying theapies but I couldn't have put it better myself.

I think you would rarely be started on more thann one at a time as they need to see how you react to each and then pin down what is left to deal whith. This may also change over time and also new therapies, with a better side effect profile, may be introduced.

Don't assume you will feel worse with the drugs you may feel better. Avonex was a bit of a trial for me but since I moved to Copaxone it's been a breeze, no side effects and definately feel better
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