Who is the best candidate for Tysabri treatment?

A board to discuss the newly-released drug Tysabri, (formerly known as Antegren) as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

Who is the best candidate for Tysabri treatment?

Postby Sunshine37 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:53 pm

I am new to this forum and looking for answers regarding Tysabri.

I was dx'd w/ r/r MS 11 years ago. Once I got consistent on Rebif, I have not had any relapses in more then 5 years. (I used to average about 4/year.) I have little issues pop up here and there, but nothing too concerning. My biggest issue is fatigue. I get a yearly checkup from my doctor. My MRI's are always clear. About six weeks ago, I woke up with my entire right side numb. (A sidenote - I was about a week into Chantix to quit smoking, and quit immediately when I saw that MS is actually listed as a rare adverse reaction to Chantix on the patient insert. Additionally, there are MANY forums out there about people waking up numb after starting Chantix. I wondered if it could have triggered something in someone who already has MS.)

Anyway, the numbness still hasn't resolved itself, though it is not interfering with my life in any discernible way at this time. It's just annoying, and having lived with MS for so long, I knew it wasn't a good sign. I finally went to see my doctor today, and sure enough there are active lesions on my brain. She is strongly suggesting I try Tysabri, and this isn't the first time she has suggested it. She did a blood test to find out if I've developed antibodies to Rebif, in addition to the anti-JC virus antibody test. If I have developed the Rebif antibodies, and the other test comes back negative, she thinks I should try Tysabri. I am TERRIFIED of Tysabri, but that isn't my concern. What I'm curious about is if I'm the best candidate for this drug? My MS is r/r, and seems to be managed fairly well on Rebif at this time. I am curious if Tysabri is more for MS patients with more severe symptoms. My MS hasn't progressed in more then five years. Is this drug appropriate for me?

I appreciate any insight you can offer.
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Re: Who is the best candidate for Tysabri treatment?

Postby HarryZ » Wed Jun 13, 2012 6:56 pm

Welcome to the forum, Sunshine 37.

Tyabri's label states that it is for MS patients who are R/R. Some patients do very well on it, others remain neutral and some do poorly with it. It's difficult to say whether Tysabri is right for you because what works for some MS patients doesn't for others. That's why it is so difficult to figure out which medication to use or whether to use any of them.

Your test for the JC virus will be important because if your are positive , that along with your long use of Rebif will significantly increase your risk level for PML. And even if you test negative for the JC virus, you will need to do a "wash out" period for the Rebif before you could start Tysabri.

Whatever your decision, ensure that you obtain as much information as possible so you can be fully informed before deciding what direction you want to go.

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