Treating Your MS: A User’s Guide to Multiple Sclerosis Medications

Treating your MS HR_book cover jpeg-2I mentioned in my previous post that I wouldn’t be reading non-fiction for a while. However, since I’m in between drugs at the moment and this book came out a little over a month ago, I thought the timing was perfect.

I haven’t been taking anything for MS since February, and right now what I’m going to take next remains a huge question mark. I started on Avonex when I was diagnosed but soon it became clear that interferons are a big no for me due to side effects. I moved to Copaxone but disease progression as seen on MRI made doctors consider other possibilities.

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This book, released a little over a month ago, is completely up to date on all the available drugs for MS as well as on all the latest info about the disease. When I purchased it I thought I would skip the first five chapters, given that I’ve already read so much about MS and that I keep track of all the research and trials currently underway, but I’m glad I didn’t. It sums up all the key points currently known about MS in a way that is easy to understand and read. Most pieces of news I read online feel out of context, so it was nice to have a place where it all came together.

Now on to the what really matters – the drugs. Each chapter reviews each of the medications currently approved to treat MS. You get a brief history of the drug’s development from the beginning, how it’s perceived to work, the clinical trials, efficacy measured in terms of relapse rate, disability progression and inflammatory activity on MRI, side effects, how it compares to other drugs – all the risks and benefits.

Ultimately, in my case, in my country, it won’t be up to me or my doctor to decide which drug to take next. So you have an idea, my doctor said Gilenya would be the best option for me but there was no way the hospital was going to approve the request since it’s the most expensive drug and the hospitals have no money due to cuts. Still, when it comes to discussing options, I want to know what I’m talking about and what questions to ask my doctor. And when the time comes I should start something new, whatever it will be, I want to know what I can expect and what I’ll be up against. This book was a nice help and I would recommend it to anyone who’s in the same situation as me or who’s considering changing their medication for some reason.

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