The first dose was horrid and each since has been more horrid. Spending most days curled up in bed or on sofa due to pain in joints; skin also hurts serverly (back, shoulders, neck &, as of 4 a.m. this morn, scalp).
Fatigue unreal. Chills. Fevers. Rigors (shakes).
Bruises are incredible. Rebif hotline tells me to drink more water. As if I'm not up multiple times every night to
as it is.
I know your pain. My first year with Avonex was very difficult and I had many of the same symptoms. What are you taking to counter the side effects? Many people, including myself, have found that ibuprofen is more effective than acetaminophen (Tylenol). If you can take ibuprofen, then I would recommend taking 400 mg at the time of your shot and then another dose after 4 hours. Additional doses may be helpful if the side effects are severe. You can take it with food to help minimize the impact on your stomach.
Here's something else to consider. Avonex does have a couple of advantages over Rebif. One is that it's an intramuscular injection. As such, there are no injection site reactions. Another is that you just feel cruddy for one day out of the week and not all week where you never get a chance to recover. Some might argue that Rebif is better since it's a higher dosage. While that might be true, it should be noted that there is a difference in absorption efficiency between an intramuscular injection as compared to a subcutaneous one. In effect, an intramuscular injection has around an 80% absorption efficiency while a subcutaneous injection only has about a 40% absorption efficiency. Thus, the difference in dosage is not as great as it seems once this information is taken into account. I've been on Avonex for a little over 9 years. At this point, my side effects are usually limited to feeling run-down and tired the next day (I still take some ibuprofen about 3 to 4 hours after my shot). While it's certainly not a cure-all for MS (far from it), I feel that it has been beneficial. I have had some decrease in my physical abilities in the last couple of years but I have not had any incident that I can identify as a distinct relapse. To be fair, I should also note that I take several supplements including 6g of omega-3 fish oil/day, green tea, turmeric, ground flax seed, r-lipoic acid, natural vitamin E, and a combined calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D3 supplement. I have also given up eating trans fat and try to eat less processed food and less sugar overall.
I forgot to mention this earlier. If you do consider Avonex, then request the freeze dried form that you have to mix with sterile water instead of the prefilled syringes. Many people have mentioned that they have worse side effects with the prefilled syringes. I believe that this is due to the differences in the buffer. The freeze dried form is in a phosphate buffer near neutral pH at 7.3 while the prefilled syringes are in an acidic buffer at pH 4.8 (in order to inhibit bacterial growth).