Sunday, November 16, 2008

Drugs and Side Effects

In the study I am in for my multiple sclerosis, one of the drugs I take is Avonex. It could be a placebo, but the nurse at the clinical coordination site tells me that based on the side-effects, I probably am taking the real deal. And it is those side effects that make me wonder why anyone would take this drug. For about 24-hours after taking the injection, I am down for the count. My body aches. I am more tired than usual. I just have this horrible "blah" feeling and I don't want to do anything except lie down and veg. I'm sure my liver appreciates the 2400-4800 mg of Ibuprofen I take just to be half-way functional for the day.

I have just over another year to go in the study and I have a hard time seeing myself continuing to use Avonex. Other than the cost ($400 per shot), I feel like I lose a day every week. I inject myself a couple of hours before I go to be on Saturday night so that I can sleep through part of it, but Sundays are just shot. I keep asking myself if the drug does enough to slow down the advance of MS in order to make it worthwhile and I just don't know. It's a tricky balance for anyone with a major disease. When do the side-effects of a medication outweigh its benefits?

Right now, I'm not sure that taking Avonex is worth it for me. I've got a year to think about it, though.

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