MS symptoms: Tecfidera – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

tecfideraReady! Set! Go! I begin Tecfidera on Sunday. This is a huge step for a fraidy-cat like me. I hate new medications and the risk of bad reactions. I have prepared.

35,000 MS patients worldwide are taking Biogen’s Tecfidera. Tecfidera’s, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…

The Good
Tecfidera or BG-12 (a pill) has completed two different Phase III trials called DEFINE and CONFIRM showing 50% fewer relapses and 38% delay in disability progression. (Biogen, Inc.) In October 2013, Medscape Medical News quotes Dr. H. Heine, “These are reassuringly meaningful clinical results showing that the effects of BG-12 over 2 years are maintaining in the third and fourth year, with no additional safety concerns.” At $55,000 annually, it is cheaper than Gilenya and the company has a program to help patients financially obtain Tecfidera.

The Bad
Convincing me to take a new medicine is like convincing an elephant not to be afraid of a mouse. MS medications have wrecked havoc on my body in the past. How do I trust another new drug?

The Ugly
The ugly begins with flushing describe to be from mild to horrendous. No one likes gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain (18%), diarrhea (14%), nausea (12%) or vomiting but 40% of Tecfidera users will experience these side effect. Thirty percent of people have decreased white cell counts though evidence shows no true increase in serious infections. My liver will be feeling the difference in the first few months. A headache may be on my agenda. And, catching the common cold more often seems to be in my potential future as well.

Check in next week to learn how I am doing, how Tecfidera works, and tips & tricks for alleviating and even preventing The Ugly side effects.

Information from Biogen, Inc.

About the Author

Melissa Cook
Melissa Cook is the author of As a retired high school teacher and school district administrator, she chooses to share her MS story in hopes of benefiting others.