Over my many years of living with relapsing-remitting MS, I’ve encountered trying multiple medications for the treatment of this chronic neurological disorder.
In 1993, I was part of the “lottery” for Betaseron, the first medication ever approved for altering the course of MS. There was an unprecedented demand for this new medication, the first of its kind. As a result, I was placed on a waiting list for this medication. By the time enough Betaseron had become available, I was informed that I had been misdiagnosed with MS.
Fast forward 1998, when I experienced a very severe MS relapse that removed all doubt about my diagnosis of this chronic illness.
In 1998, I began to inject Copaxone each day. I remember having to reconstitute the powder, prior to injection. Today’s pre-filled syringes are so much easier to use!
I used Copaxone for many years, with no significant side effects. I subsequently developed additional health problems, unfortunately. As a result, I was placed on various immunosuppressant medications, as well as different forms of chemotherapy, to treat symptoms of what was believed to be Wegener’s granulomatosis.
Fast forward many years, and I resumed taking Copaxone. Despite having tolerated my injections for many years, I now developed a severe post-injection reaction to this disease-stabilizing medication. I absolutely needed to discontinue Copaxone, since it rapidly induced crushing chest pain and intense facial flushing.
Consequently, my neurologist and I discussed the initiation of Aubagio. I was forewarned that it could create some gastrointestinal issues. Did it ever! So, I needed to discontinue taking Aubagio. I also lost a significant amount of hair with taking this form of chemotherapy.
Yesterday, I met with my neurologist to discuss undergoing a washout of Aubagio. This will take ten days, and result in gastrointestinal issues. I’m really not looking forward to doing this medication washout.
Subsequently, I will start taking Vumerity. Of course, I won’t be able to start this medication until I receive funding assistance. The cost of Vumerity is more than $88,000 per year! This medication is a variant of Tecfidera; it is associated with fewer gastrointestinal problems than Tecfidera.
I really hope that I can tolerate Vumerity. I know that it remains critically important to slow down the progression of my chronic illness.