Goodbye needles, hello pills


Last month I talked to my Neurologist about switching medications from the daily injectable that I currently take (Copaxone) to a daily oral medication (Tecifidera). After a round of MRI scans and blood and urine tests, I finally got this in the mail.

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Relief.

I had started taking medication for my MS back in 2000. Back then I was injecting myself once a week with Avonex; it had to be injected directly into the muscles, so the needle was about an inch long, and the side effects were pretty severe. I was left feeling like I had the flu for the better part of a day. Six years later, I switched to Copaxone; the shot just had to go into the skin, making for a much shorter needle, but I had to take that one once a day, and not only did I have site reactions, but I would also get headaches, experience dizziness and shortness of breath and the occasional bout of severely painful spasms. Thankfully, now that I am on a different medication, those days are behind me.

Not to say that Tecifidera itself is not without its own list of issues:

  • Flushing/warmth
  • redness
  • itching
  • burning feeling of the skin
  • Stomach/abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea
  • vomiting

A lot of those side effects can be ameliorated by taking Tylenol and eating when you take the medication. At the very least, I won’t be giving myself shots every day. As little as I look forward to having to take pills for the rest of my life, I relish the prospect of daily (or even weekly) injections even less.

(Aside) Now that I am taking the pills, I have a month’s worth of perfectly good Copaxone in the fridge awaiting disposal. It seems a shame to allow over $5,000 of medication to go to waste. I’m hoping that there is some way that I can donate what I have to someone who cannot afford the medication.

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2 comments
  1. kat said:

    I am so happy for you. As a diabetic I know the annoyance at best of having to do regular injections. On the other hand I am grateful for advances that make it possible for me, and my sweet precious friend Tony, to live a long and full life. If you ever find a place that takes unused medication do let me know. I have several times had my insulin changed and found myself with very expensive meds I had to toss when I know there was someone out there doing without their medication because they couldn’t afford it. Love to you, dear one. Kat

  2. Amen to that, thanks, and much love to you and your family, Kat :)

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