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.
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:
- burning feeling of the skin
- Stomach/abdominal pain
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.