Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe
So, what in the world am I talking about with the title of this article? Well, let me clarify that. I’ve had a lot of people message me and ask me if they should be on medication to help manage their MS, which medication they should be on, and so on and so forth (you get the idea). So, I thought that this would be a good topic to write about. I’m sure it’s been written about in the past, but this is a topic that I am VERY passionate about, and I wanted to give my opinion on it.
Let me start off by saying first off that I’m NOT going to give you medical advice. I’m also not going to tell you what you should and should not do. But I can tell you what I would do, in your position. Or what I have done, in my case.
Deciding if treatment is right for you
I know there are many people out there who are not even taking disease-modifying treatments (known as DMTs or DMDs) to manage their MS, and that is completely their choice. That is just not the choice that I have made for myself. As we all know, each of our disease courses is different, and no two cases are the exact same. Not one medicine is going to work for every patient, and so on and so forth. So, for starters, if you do decide to be on a medication, you need to decide which one is right for you.
What factors should you consider?
There are many factors that will come in to play on how you should, or should I say how I would go about choosing a medication for myself.
(You can click here to view the available medications and read information about them.)
How the medication is administered
Let's start off with the obvious, right? What everyone is going to look at first: how it’s administered. Is it a daily shot, it is an oral pill, is it a so-many-times-a-week shot, a monthly infusion, etc. That seems to be the popular way most patients are choosing their medication these days.
Safety of the medication
Okay, so you have looked at how the medication is administered; next is the safety of the medication. This is looking at the side effects, any warnings that may come with the medication, etc. This is obviously a VERY IMPORTANT step that needs to be taken into account.
Okay, so what’s next? You’ve looked at administration and safety/side effects? What else could there be? Well, I haven’t run into this problem, but it’s always good to check and make sure that there are no issues with the medication you are interested in taking interacting with any current medications you are taking for anything else.
Now, the dreaded COST of the medicine because, of course, there is going to be a cost associated with the treatment. It might take a bit to find out what it will be with your insurance, but you should be able to get an estimate. Also, each DMD/DMT company most likely offers a financial support program of some sort; your neurologist should be able to point you in the right direction, or of course, many of the MS resources out there like the MSAA or National MS Society.How the medication actually worksSo, what’s next? You think you’re done? Most would think so, but this is where I get… annoyed? I wouldn’t really say annoyed - maybe just disappointed that many patients aren’t even aware of or don't even know HOW to find the information that they really SHOULD be able to EASILY search for when it comes to the search for which medication they want to start with. The science of how the medication works, the relapse reduction rate, etc. I know - science. My son loves it, me… not so much. But, I will say this: it’s good information to know when it’s time to choose a medication to manage your MS. This is also information you can ask your neurologist.As you can see, this is a topic I'm very passionate about; sorry if I babbled too much, but I really want to let MS patients and their loved ones know that there are many things to know about the medications you are choosing when it comes to that time.If you've tried many different medications, you're not aloneAlso, if you have gone through medication after medication, and you haven’t found anything that works, you aren’t the only one - don’t ever forget that. Just remember that there ARE things being studied in the MS pipeline that look VERY promising for MS patients, even for those with more progressive forms of MS. You can see what I’m talking about by clicking here. Be sure to check back in with MultipleSclerosis.net often for news about MS research!As for the topic about medicating and not medicating, choosing meds to treat symptoms and using alternative treatments - these are topics I will get to in the near future!Wishing everyone the best!xoxoAshley RingstaffFollow me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter | Follow me on Pinterest
How many specialists did you see before finding "The One"?