Getting on multiple sclerosis treatment
Benefits of DMD treatment for relapsing MS
Disease-modifying drugs (DMDs) are FDA-approved , and studies have shown that people with relapsing MS who use a disease-modifying drug:
- Have fewer MS relapses
- Reduce the accumulation of lesions within the brain and spinal cord as seen on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
Some DMDs may even slow disability progression.
How DMDs might help:
- Even if you don’t have any symptoms, MS can still be active. Continuing with your treatment as prescribed may reduce the frequency of relapses.
- Studies have shown that people who take a disease-modifying drug may have fewer MS attacks than those who do not.
- Permanent damage to nerve fibers may occur early in MS.
The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) advise treating active relapsing MS with a disease-modifying drug soon after diagnosis.
If you have been diagnosed with relapsing MS, you can enhance your conversation with your health care provider about the disease-modifying therapy that’s right for you using the Treatment Guide. The Treatment Guide helps you identify preferences for your treatment routine, including dosing, administration and product features, and allows you to create a report that you can take with you to your next appointment.
Continuing with DMD therapy for relapsing MS even when you’re feeling good
Some DMD therapies have been proven in clinical trials to slow disability progression in relapsing MS. It’s important to take your therapy as prescribed.
If you are thinking about stopping your DMD therapy or you’re having trouble staying on treatment, call your health care provider and reach out for the support you need to help you stay on track.
"I ask patients to come up with one or two of the biggest reasons why they went on therapy in the first place and to write them down and keep referring to them. When you get to those places where it’s hard to stay on therapy, it’s important to remind yourself of those reasons."—Patricia Kennedy, RN, CNP and MSCN Nurse Practitioner and Patient Education Specialist, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis
If you have been diagnosed with relapsing MS, talk with your doctor to find out which DMD treatment is best for you.
The MS LifeLines® team is also here to help you start and stay on Rebif® (interferon beta-1a). Learn tips for taking Rebif.
MS LifeLines is here for you
The MS LifeLines Nurse Network provides training and support to individuals with relapsing MS.
Located throughout the United States, the MS LifeLines Nurse Network makes available diverse offerings to meet the needs of the MS community:
- MS-certified nurses provide education to people taking Rebif and their families about MS and tips for people taking Rebif.
- If you are taking Rebif, licensed and registered nurses can also provide one-on-one injection training for Rebif in your home.
Nurses are available by phone Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 10 PM ET and on weekends from 9 AM to 5 PM ET.
Talk to a health care professional if you have any questions or concerns about symptoms or side effects.
If you have questions about affording your therapy, the MS LifeLines Financial Support Team will help you understand your options for affording therapy and connect you with appropriate assistance programs, including those offered by MS LifeLines.
Rebif is used to treat relapsing forms of MS to decrease the frequency of relapses and delay the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS. Rebif is not approved for treatment of chronic progressive MS.
Important safety information
What is the most important information I should know about Rebif?
Rebif will not cure multiple sclerosis (MS) but it has been shown to decrease the number of flare-ups and slow the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS. Rebif can cause serious side effects, so before you start taking Rebif, you should talk with your doctor about the possible benefits of Rebif and its possible side effects to decide if Rebif is right for you. Potential serious side effects include:
- Depression. Some patients treated with interferons, including Rebif, have become seriously depressed (feeling sad). Some patients have thought about killing themselves and a few have committed suicide. Depression (a sinking of spirits or sadness) is not uncommon in people with multiple sclerosis. However, if you are feeling noticeably sadder or helpless, or feel like hurting yourself or others you should tell a family member or friend right away and call your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may ask that you stop using Rebif. You should also tell your doctor if you have ever had any mental illness, including depression, and if you take any medications for depression
- Liver problems. Your liver may be affected by taking Rebif and a few patients have developed severe liver injury. Your health care provider may ask you to have regular blood tests to make sure that your liver is working properly. If your skin or the whites of your eyes become yellow or if you are bruising easily you should call your doctor right away
- Risk to pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Rebif you should call your doctor right away. Rebif may cause you to lose your baby (miscarry) or may cause harm to your unborn child. You and your doctor will need to decide whether the potential benefit of taking Rebif is greater than the risks are to your unborn child
- Allergic reactions. Some patients taking Rebif have had severe allergic reactions leading to difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Allergic reactions can happen after your first dose or may not happen until after you have taken Rebif many times. Less severe allergic reactions such as itching, flushing or skin bumps can also happen at any time. If you think you are having an allergic reaction, stop using Rebif immediately and call your doctor
- Injection-site problems. Rebif may cause redness, pain or swelling at the place where an injection was given. Some patients have developed skin infections or areas of severe skin damage (necrosis) requiring treatment by a doctor. If one of your injection sites becomes swollen and painful or the area looks infected and it doesn't heal within a few days, you should call your doctor. For more information, please see medication guide
Who should not take Rebif?
Do not take Rebif if you:
- Have had an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, flushing or hives to another interferon beta or to human albumin
If you have any of the following conditions or serious medical problems, you should tell your doctor before taking Rebif:
- Depression (a sinking feeling or sadness), anxiety (feeling uneasy or fearful for no reason), or trouble sleeping
- Liver diseases
- Problems with your thyroid gland
- Blood problems such as bleeding or bruising easily and anemia (low red blood cells) or low white blood cells
- Are planning to become pregnant
Tell your doctor about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Rebif and other medicines may affect each other causing serious side effects. Talk to your doctor before you take any new medicines.
What are the possible side effects of Rebif?
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches and tiredness)
- Skin reactions. Soreness, redness, pain, bruising or swelling may occur at the place of injection
- Depression and anxiety. Some patients taking interferons have become very depressed and or anxious
- Liver problems
- Abdominal pain
- Blood problems. You may have a drop in the levels of infection-fighting blood cells, red blood cells or cells that help to form blood clots. If the drop in levels are severe, they can lessen your ability to fight infections, make you feel tired or sluggish or cause you to bruise or bleed easily
- Thyroid problems. Your thyroid function may change. Symptoms of changes in the function of your thyroid include feeling cold or hot all the time, change in your weight (gain or loss) without a change in your diet or amount of exercise you are getting
- Severe allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are rare and may be associated with difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness, which require immediate medical attention
Let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms or feel sad, tired, hot or cold, or experience hives, rashes, bruising, yellowing of the skin, or a change in body weight (gain or loss).
Refer to the Instructions for Use that comes with the Rebif® Rebidose® (interferon beta-1a) autoinjector.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
This information is not intended to replace discussions with your doctor. For additional information about Rebif, please consult the Prescribing Information and Medication Guide and talk to your doctor. You can also visit www.rebif.com or call toll-free 1-877-447-3243. Rebif is available by prescription only.
MS LifeLines is an educational support service for people living with MS and their families. MS LifeLines and MS LifeLines Ambassadors are sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. Speakers and MS LifeLines Ambassadors who participate in Talk MS or in live events are sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc. UNIQUELY [you] is a service mark of EMD Serono, Inc. or its affiliates. Rebif, Rebif Rebidose, Rebiject II and MS LifeLines are registered trademarks and the Rebif logo is a trademark of EMD Serono, Inc. or its affiliates.
This information is intended only for residents of the United States.
Copyright © 2013 EMD Serono, Inc. All rights reserved.
EMD Serono, Inc., One Technology Place, Rockland, MA 02370