How I chose Rebif and how it's working for me

When I was diagnosed, my neurologist sent me home with information on Avonex, Rebif, and Betaseron (not sure why he didn't give me info on Copaxone), but I did my own research on all the CRABs. I wasn't ready to try less "conventional" therapies. I'm still not ready to do that, although I keep my mind open to them. My neurologist didn't seem to think it was important which CRAB to start, just that it was important to get on one.

I chose Rebif based on effectiveness and lifestyle considerations. From my research on CRABs, I chose Rebif because in head-to-head comparisons with Avonex, it did better.  I also was not crazy about the idea of Avonex's IM injections. I chose Rebif over Betaseron because of the 12 injections/month compared to 15. I also liked the flexibility of Rebif's 3x a week. Depending on what's going on with my travel and work commitments, I can do Mon-Wed-Sat, Sun-Wed-Fri, etc. This has worked well for me.  

I've been on Rebif for almost two years. It's hard to say if I've had relapses since being on it. I'd say I've had one very mild relapse which lasted a couple weeks. I count myself lucky.

Sometimes Rebif can hurt like hell on injection, and other times I barely feel it. There seems to be no rhyme or reason. That said, if I don't warm it up to body temperature, it always hurts a lot.  I get site reactions on at least 90% of my injections. These are red itchy 1-2 inch diameter spots that last for anywhere from 3-8 weeks. 

I don't have much of the flu like side effects, but do notice that if I take Rebif too late at night, I'm groggier than normal in the morning.

I use the autoinjector for hard to reach places (buttocks) but use the manual method for easy to reach places (abdomen).  I find I can regulate the pain of the injection with the manual method by injecting very slowly. When I use the autoinjector, I don't use the needle cap remover. There's too often a drop of liquid on the end of the needle and in the autoinjector, it's hard to make sure that's cleaned off and dry before injection. So I remove the cap before carefully loading the autoinjector.

Emotionally, I've handled the injections pretty well. It usually takes 15-30 seconds for me to psych myself up for the manual injections. Sometimes I start to feel sorry for myself, especially when the injections have been more painful.  Then I remind myself that I have nothing to complain about, as I am still fully functional.

carolsue carolsue
3 Responses Apr 2, 2006

A tip to considerably ease the injection pain is to soak a towel with lukewarm water and apply on the area to be injected for 10-15 minutes. This has the effect of dilating your skin pores so that the medication flows easier. It also numbs the nerve cells on the injection site.

How do you dry the drop of liquid off the needle? Can't tell any difference since taking Rebif. Have been on it three months.

It sounds like you are doing a good job remaining up beat with some very difficult circumstances.