Let's Talk: Medication
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
Ah, so we meet again with another medication update! If you remember a few posts ago, I was just quitting the disease modifying drug Gilenya (Fingolimod). Gilenya is one of the two oral medications (now three, according to a recently approved oral medication by FDA) that can be used to treat MS and lessen the appearances of exacerbation. This medication worked great for me until it didn't. It took about two to three months for the initial side effects to appear, of which I was experiencing morning nausea, constipation, diarrhea and stomach cramps. The nausea was nearly every morning, but worse came to worst about once a month, leaving me debilitated and unable to function very well. After completely stopping this DMT, my doctor prescribed me Copaxone, or Glatiramer Acetate.
Glatiramer Acetate is a subcutaneous injection medication that aids the course of MS and seeks to lessen the frequency of MS flare-ups and further damage. The first prescription arrived at my residency on my birthday in a large foam cooler full of ice. I received a welcome pack from the manufacturer along with a starter kit that included a sharps container, some alcohol swabs and a calendar (which I'm thankful for because I'm so forgetful!) This would be my first time every having to administer my own injections before, let alone on more than one occasion.
I take my injection three times a week and not always at the same time of day (guilty!). I initially chose to take it on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule but sometimes I forget or things come up where I can't get back home in time to take my shot, so every now and then I will switch to a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday routine for the week. This medication does come with a few side effects but the most common ones are redness, swelling and itching at the post-injection site that can last up to 15-20 minutes. It's been a total of six months now since I've started this medication and I have not had very many side effects, I've been able to continue doing the fun things I love to do and my symptoms remain at bay.
So far, Glatiramer Acetate has shown to be the DMT for me. I used to be afraid of needles before I started this medication and I got over that fear by realizing that for a few seconds of uncomfort comes a longer period of better health and a regulated disease. My follow up appointment with my doctor is in the next two weeks to discuss my MRI (from August) as well as how the medication has been going for me! I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful for deciding which medication to start to manage MS! Check out my other posts related to MS here and have a great rest of your day!