(There are four first line drugs recommended to MS patients. Three, including Rebif, are interferons, and one, Copaxone, is not. All are given by injections. Rebif happens three times a week; Copaxone, daily.)
I didn’t make a note of the day I went off Rebif and on Copaxone. It didn’t seem like the sort of occasion I would want to celebrate in the future. But I know that sometime within the past month I passed the one year anniversary of my life with Copaxone.
A year ago I was pretty grouchy. I had really liked the Rebif. Frequently the shots hurt like heck going in, but as soon as they were in it was all over. No red spots, no lumps, no flu like symptoms, and if I was having a few “break through symptoms,” who could say it was because the Rebif wasn’t working? Maybe that was the best we could hope for. The three times a week shot regimen? I’d rather not do it at all, but it was a lot better than seven times a week. Perhaps most importantly, in my head I believed that nothing out there was better than Rebif.
The neurologist was patient. He let me take the neutralizing antibodies test twice, four months apart. But the numbers didn’t get any better. I scoured the internet looking for studies that challenged the link between neutralizing antibodies and ineffectiveness of the medicine. I found scads of information convinced there was a correlation, and maybe two that questioned the link, but they didn’t deny it.
So last September he lowered the boom. I was a Copaxone girl.
A year later, I think I owe Copaxone an apology.
I still get the occasional “jelly legs” when I’ve been sitting around too long. It’s a bit less now than when I was on the Rebif (but with a disease as fluid as MS how can anyone say assuredly that the difference is in the injections?)
I’m no fan of the daily shots. They hurt less going in, but about fifteen seconds afterwards…YOW! Though as I think about it, the stinging sensation has lessened over the twelve months, hasn’t it, Self? The red spots, bruises, bumps and lumps have brought an end to my modeling career (chuckle, chuckle), but it wasn’t going anywhere anyway. I cringe when I think I’ve found a dent in my skin, and look frantically for virgin real estate.
But my world didn’t collapse. I’m still chugging along through each day. And I’ve come to wonder if the lack of reaction I had to the Rebif indicated that the medicine was neutralized right off the bat, and hence not doing any good. A no pain, no gain sort of thing.
So I’m resolved to stick with the Copaxone for now. But still thinking how nice some oral medication would be…..