I\'ve Tried Them All

A Perspective from the US:

I was diagnosed with MS in 1999.  Four months after diagnosis (and after another exacerbation which permanently disabled my right hand) I started with Avonex.  I used Avonex with essentially no problems - and no exacerbations - for about 3 years but my MS was definitely progressing (from my point of view.  Doctors didn't think it was "progressive"). 

I asked for a change to hopefully find something to slow the progression and my doctor suggested Copaxone (Probably not a good move).  Since then I've read that Copaxone is least likely to help with progresive forms of the disease but the daily injection was easy with the auto-inject and side-effect free (and even seemed to help with miscellaneous MS pain) so I used it for about three years.  I am still progressively losing ground and now walk with a noticeable limp. 

I tried Betaseron  but the cutesy-kit is too hard for me to manipulate with my gimpy right hand.  I tried Tysabri just before it was pulled from the market.  I am now tryng Rebif.

I guess I'm glad I've always been on something (and had the insurance to cover them all) but from what I've read and heard I think that Betaseron and Rebif are probably the best alternatives.  AVONEX may be a good starting place for those who are asymptomatic. 

Doctors often won't come out strongly for one or another - or it's hard to know what kind of support they are getting from which drug company.  When I started on Avonex I couldn't believe the resources available to help a prospective patient get their inurance to cover it and then help the patient adapt to the medicine.  (It's no longer a mystery why it costs so much...)  In the US, REBIF seems to get the least funding for marketing.  I was indirect but kind of fishing to switch to REBIF several years ago when my doctor suggested Copaxone.  Clearly, as I now start REBIF, the patient support is less than what I've had with other drugs.  I'm not saying I want or really need the support but it might be important to others to know that.  First, if they are newly diagnosed and might need the support it could be a factor in choosing therapies (Although the auto-inject option- which Copaxone also has - makes it very easy to use).  Secondly, it could be a factor in weighing comments their doctor may make about the desirability of one drug over another. 


Sally4now Sally4now
Apr 28, 2006