Jun 132005

I was asked fairly recently if there is some good, unbiased, material to help identify the best Interferon. Alas if only such information did exist. On the other hand we probably all know that a combination of Glyconutrients and LDN will almost certainly cure you! 😉 Here is my slightly modified email:

As far as the medicine I’m not sure an unbiased review exists. All of the studies are basically funded by the drug companies which is a bit of a conflict of interest. My $.02 is that all of them are about the same, with possibly the exception of Tysabri but that isn’t much of an option. 😉 There does seem to be some indication that Rebif is more effective than Avonex – at least during the first 2 years. Of course that is probably due in no small part to it being over 3x’s the amount of medication and gets spread throughout the week. Also, the only once a week Avonex injections supposedly hurt pretty bad; probably due to them being IM – I think this is the same case with Betaseron. With the new needles on Rebif I can barely feel the injection – which is definitely a plus. I have not had Copaxone so I don’t have that to compare to, but I would expect it to be similar to Rebif just with the old larger sized needle (and smaller is better!)

At this point a big deal is picking something that can work with your lifestyle. If you absolutely hate shots then that would rule out Rebif/Copaxone. Betaseron is currently running a promotion where the first couple of months are free. Rebif injections are probably the least painful. And on and on. If your quality of life is ruined by an aspect of one of the medicines or you stop taking it because of side effects, etc. then it really does no good.

Personally, I am a big fan of Rebif, but as long as you go on one of the ABCR drugs you will be making a good decision.

On another note I know when I was diagnosed that I wanted to go on the absolute best medicine regardless of the frequency, pain, etc. I thought that Copaxone was the best, my Neuro disagreed, but the point was I was willing to take a daily injection if it was the best. Now I can’t imagine taking something else unless it is a lot more effective.

To further complicate issues the medicines tend to work differently in different people. Another of the many joys of MS. If one doesn’t work out either effectively or in regards to quality of life then just switch to another.

An additional item after I wrote this was that I’ve never seen a MS medication (other than Tysabri) advertise that it was more effective than Rebif. They all advertise their own benefits but I don’t recall seeing one that said they are more effective. If this is indeed true is it a quiet concession by the drug companies that Rebif is typically more effective at reducing lesions/relapses?

 Posted by at 4:47 pm

  11 Responses to “Best Treatment for MS”

  1. hi erik, i was on rebif for 8 months untill my nuero took me off we were mutual about that one, due to the fact that i had flu like symptoms that lingered almost all of the time. i started copaxone 3 weeks ago. i developed an allergic reaction to that, horrible welts and they were hot and red.i am awaiting to start avonex, however with the beurocracy of getting this is amazing. the company that makes avenox likes to control how and when…meaning had i got the rx i should of got it filled at my pharmacy instead of going through biogen, they fax me forms and twice they tell me they did not receive my confidelity statement ect..right now i am not on anything and let me tell you i FEEL ALIVE! i am hoping the avonex will not cause me problems. i intend to self inject and reach my husband to help me at times.. i likes this blog because you write about many things that i can relate to and i am glad you are back
    take care and good health to you and your family camille

  2. Camille,

    I am so sorry you have had so many side effects! Wow. Erik had lots of those reactions at first (Not 8 months worth!) and they looked like they hurt so much.

    I hope that the avonex works without all the side effects


  3. First of all, I have been taking Rebif for a little more than a year, and I rely completely on the “Rebi-ject” injector device- really makes it easy for needle-phobics like me. Second, I have never seen any convincing argument that any of the CRABs actually do anything. My neuro said, “Pick one,” when it was time to start medication, and has told me that he has his doubts that they do anything at all. There is little harm in them, so why not. But don’t expect that your disease will not progress just because you are injecting interferons into yourself.

  4. camille: “right now i am not on anything and let me tell you i FEEL ALIVE! “
    Yeah, that is how I felt after going through all the different meds and developing reactions to them. Nope, Med free and happy as can be these days. Knock on wood, very few ‘incidents’.

  5. Stephen,
    It must be nice having such an optimistic doctor to help you with your MS. 🙁 Even the drug companies only claim a reduction in relapses and a reduction in disability. As we are all too keenly aware the only guarantee with MS is no guarantees. 😉

  6. I’ve been on Avonex since October ’04. My neuro recently decided to switch me to Rebif. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I’m doing it.

    As with everything else, Avonex injection experiences differ from person to person (and sometimes even injection to injection). The 1-1/4″ paper clip thick needle can be freaky at first. I can’t say I’m used to it, but it doesn’t bug me like it did after about 6 injections. I started off so well, then CLICK, something in my noggin switched and I started having problems. A combination of Xanax an hour before each injection, severe concentration on relaxing the muscle receiving the injection, and slowly pushing in the needle helps tremendously. Your experience may differ.

    Side effects from leg injections tapered off considerably after a few months. Side effects from shoulder injections haven’t tapered much, though, I’m told because of the increase in circulation in that area. Regardless, it’s one night of flu-like symptoms and the “day after” aches and pains then it’s all over for the remaining 5 days of the week. Not bad.

    Sorry for the long post, I just figured I’d offer a bit of personal experience with Avonex. I’m not looking forward to switching to Rebif because of the pain horror stories I’ve read, but if doc says I should do it, what choice do I have?

    Ah, life with MS…

  7. erat,
    Don’t worry about the Rebif. It should be a walk in the park compared to Avonex in regards to pain.

  8. Erik – That’s good to know. I recall a measles innoculation I needed to get when I returned to college (my childhood immunization records burned up in my mother’s apartment fire so I had to get a few new innoculations). Man, did that stuff STING. It’s like someone injected boiling bacon grease in the back of my arm. I dealt with it, and it did go away after a short bit of time, but still… Hopefully Rebif won’t be quite so nasty. I’ll find out soon enough.

    (I’m definitely looking forward to the thinner/shorter needle. I won’t miss the weird “raw nerve” muscle twangs that I occasionally got when injecting Avonex.)

  9. In my experience Avonex is just nasty – or else not too bad. I can’t really predict. I use Tylenol 3 for the pain.
    I prefer knowing that I have 24 hours of “shot and after-effects” and having it DONE for a week. I just plan around it – when I am not dreading it.
    Now, whether or not it is doing me any good…I dunno. It’s been nearly 2 years – but with so many other personal changes necessitated by MS ( job loss, extreme income reduction, move to subsidized housing- all of which came after a divorce 2 months before I was diagnosed…)
    It is sort of difficult to focus on just physical health when so much else is happening.
    I just wish my daughter didn’t have to be affected by all of this. She’s 20, and at an age wherein she hopes to be unaffected by any parental influence. Unfortunately, I am not able to provide the same kind of financial (and emotional) support I had intended to be able to – and she may have unconsciously counted on.
    Glad to comment in a place where people know what I am talking about. Hey! we do hang in there, don’t we?

  10. hey,it’s another Camille from the one already here,i got ms too,was diagnosed at19 years old,I’ve been on avonex when it first came out totally freaked out by needles this was a problem for me,i tried everything to relax for this once a week i dreaded all week long and i have never been so SICK or in pain in all my life,but i got better, I’d find ANYONE to just give me that shot i never could myself,i used to be real thin and it hit a bone and grossed me out ti never did them again myself,then i lost my insrance and medicine for four years,yeah i felt goof at first,but then i had a HUGE attck that attcked me to where i went to pyscosis the doctors said it was ms and it is seen has anyone experianced that? all i know is now im bipolar and never was befor avonex and on rebif and the injections i do myself they aren’t painful at all as long as you set them out long enough it’s the cold that hurts not the needle.i feel alot better i get sick here and there but nothing like avonex,sometimes i dont even take painkillers after it only if i wake up sick,i’m on too much already depoke seroquil,galapentin,rebif so painkillers are only if i have to .sorry it’s so long just been there,and rebif is better does anyone develp like really itchy rashes very red,then itchy all the time that take a week or so to heal from these shot though only side affet im not doing well with

  11. oh i forgot how do you get the injector? i want that injector machine thing how do you get the free one i was told you can get one free with rebif anyone know/

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