MS Treatment, Aubagio

Is This Treatment Really Working For My MS?

I have now been taking Aubagio for 2 1/2 months and am seriously blown away with how much improvement that I have since starting it. This past year was difficult at best and the only way to describe how it was going for me is to compare it to one of those slides you see at a water park. You start down a slope then level off for a short period of time before heading down yet another steep slope. By Christmas time, I had reached the lowest level and was in a full blown relapse. This was the time of the year when you needed to be at your best to enjoy all the activity going on, but it wasn’t for me. Struggle was the operative word, just to take care of me was difficult not to mention trying to take care of shopping for presents, cooking for family, and preparing for the Holiday. It was NOT “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year”!

If you have read prior posts of mine, you know that the past several years I have been on Lemtrada with much success on the initial 3 treatments. It was the one and only medication that worked and reversed how MS had effected my body. The last 2 year treatment results were at best discouraging. It was a struggle to even get to a place that I called my “norm”. Don’t get me wrong, I believe Lemtrada is an amazing medication and am so grateful for what improvement it brought to me. I still don’t truly understand why my body decided to to respond to the past couple of treatments though. The only reason I can think of is that any medication that I take over a long period of time, my body just decides to stop responding to it. This even stumped my MS Specialist, who felt like it must be working…but finally conluded after 3 relapses this past year that he guessed it wasn’t. That is when he decided it was time to try something different and suggested Aubagio. I was excited that it was a pill so I wouldn’t have to do the injections.

I started Aubagio on Janurary 1st taking it in the morning hours so I could easily remember to do this. The first week was difficult because of the side effects which I experienced. My blood pressure went up significantly, heart felt like it was beating hard and out of my chest, experienced severe headaches, and nausea. I figured that it would subside after my body got use to taking it, but decided to change and take it at night before going to bed hoping to sleep through most of negative effects. Whether this was the charm or my body adjusted to it, these side effects have subsided mostly. Normally my blood pressure is low, so was surprised that it was as elevated like it was, but now it is lower…within normal limits. The two things that were mentioned in the literature that most people experienced as side effects, hair loss and diarrhea have not been an issue for me. Laughingly, I’m a little disappointed in the diarrhea part because I struggle with constipation, so hoping thought it would even things out a little.

What has been gained by taking Aubagio is improvement in every area; sleep, fatigue level, strength, muscle spasms, pain level, etc. I am waking up each morning with a smile on my face for the first time in several months. There is no longer morning pain and spasms which took me a couple of hours to lower to a functioning level. It is refreshing to wake up feeling rested and energized which makes wanting to accomplish activity so much easier. I’ve started exercising again after not being able to for a couple of months. What is really refreshing is by sunset, there isn’t that drop dead fatigue where you simply can’t put one foot in front of other that was all too present. I can actually make it through watching a couple of hours of television with my husband in the evening now in place of passing out on the couch.

My monthly lab results have showed a decrease in White Blood Cell count, but that is to be expected. To me that means it is working, but requires me to be careful when out among people during the flu season and other sickness that is going around. It also requires me to wash my hands frequently and to remember not to touch my face area or finger foods without hand sanitizer when I’m out and about. A lower WBC leaves you open to infections because you don’t have as many cells there to fight, so just using common sense to protect yourself is important. So all in all I give Aubagio a big two-thumbs up with how it is working. I will still be receiving my 6th dose of Lemtrada in the Spring, so it will be interesting to see how these two medications combined will work. Hopefully, it will bring me back to a level I only dream about.

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.