Talk about waiting until the last minute. This morning I was up early reading more about Tecfidera while preparing to catch the float plane to Ketchikan. I am heading to Seattle for a neurology appointment and to begin a new MS treatment. Of course I have read about Tecfidera but this morning I needed to know more. What are the sources saying about this relatively new drug?
As a person terrified of PML, the serious brain infection that comes from the JC virus, I raised an eye brow when I read about several people dying from an ingredient found in Tecfidera. A small comfort can be found in that none of these people were taking Tecfidera but rather another drug for a different purpose with the ingredient in question.
On a positive note, Tecfidera is believed to prevent new MS attacks by 50%, not a shameful number by any means and it is a pill. I was a trooper giving myself shots for 10 years but I really am done with that, if at all possible.
Side effects include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, flushing, and requires blood tests to monitor the liver. The side effects go away after the first couple of months for most people. Those with low white cells counts are discouraged from taking the medication. Another eye brow went up as I have a low white cell count but not terribly low. How low is low? That is one of my questions for tomorrow’s appointment. I’ll update this post with information as I begin my journey on yet another MS treatment plan, my fifth in 14 years. Oh, and the cost is nothing to sneeze at, $55,000 annually.
Tecfidera’s official website: www.tecfidera.com