Advice please? Treatment change

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kb453
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/22/2006 12:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I was taking Avonex, but my doctor stopped it due to liver problems.  He wants me to start on Copaxone.  I have been off the Avonex and have been trying to decide whether or not I want to start any new treatment.  My year on Avonex was one of more symptoms or worsening symptoms.  It seems as though I did better before I started on treatment.  I would appreciate opinions on Copaxine.  Thanks very much.  (This is my first post.)

uppitycats
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 7/22/2006 3:55 AM (GMT -6)   

I'm sorry you had problems with the Avonex.  The Copaxone is not an interferon like Avonex (or Betaseron or rebif), so while it does have some side effects, they're not the same as what you experienced with Avonex, and may be more tolerable for you.

None of the drugs promises to stop *all*  exacerbations...only slow down the number and intensity of those that you do experience.  Often early in the course of the disease, it will seem like you experience lots of flares, lots of new symptoms, but hopefully that will slow down a bit over time, and over the course of treatment.

I'm not on Copaxone (I've been on Betaseron for over 12 years), but I do encourage all folks with a diagnosis to get on one of the drugs. Knowing what can happen without treatment (there was none for the first 14 years that I've had MS), I'd hope that everyone would be on one of these disease-modifying drugs and would not have to experience the severe disability MS can bring.


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....


Kimber
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 1852
   Posted 7/22/2006 9:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kb453,

Sometimes people have a tolerability problem with some of the injectables and need to switch to a different therapy. We have several people on this site that have had to switch for one reason or another and I agree with Uppity that being on one of them is very important to slow down progression. It's definately worth trying Copaxone, you'll never know if it will be effective for you unless you give it a try.

My husband has been taking Copaxone for almost six years now and does quite well on it. Of course the side effects vary from person to person but he really doesn't have much along the lines of side effects at all, just some minor burning at injection site but that's usually gone in like 15 minutes. As far as effectiveness, his neuro is quite pleased. He hasn't had much progression since started the medication and I really do hope that you have a similar experience with it should you decide to give it a try.

Please let us know what you decide to do, and how things go for you.

Kimber
 
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kb453
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/22/2006 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the responses---But I have another question..... Since the interferons can potentially cause liver damage and essentially give someone the flu once a week and Copaxone really doesn't have any side effects....why would any doctor opt for an interferon in the first place? All I can come up with is that Copaxone really doesn't even come close to the results of the interferons and I'm wondering if it is really worth the expense and daily injections if the results are minimal.

uppitycats
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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2135
   Posted 7/22/2006 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   

No, I don't think your analysis is correct.  The interferons are older, more established drugs. They've been around longer, there are long-range results as to their efficacy, and doctors are generally more comfortable prescribing things that are older and more established, and drugs that they've had the most experience with, with their patients.  Your doctor may really like Avonex, had good results with it with other patients, and so started you on it.  While they *sometimes* can affect a patient's liver, they certainly don't always do that. As I noted, I've been on Betaseron for over 12 years now, and have experienced no liver problems.

Copaxone is newer.  While the results have been excellent so far...and there was just some results published the other day from Britain, talking about a combination of Copaxone and another drug and how successful that was --

while the results have been excellent so far, it hasn't been around as long as the interferons, so doctors often will start with those first, and if the patient has difficulty, then switch to the copaxone.  It has been around for, I think, 8 years now or maybe longer...and well established...just not as long as the interferons (for 15 or so years.)


...I am not a doctor, nor health professional, and don't pretend to be one, here.....

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