How Effective is Your RRMS Treatment?
Treating relapsing-remitting MS requires a personalized treatment method between the patient and their doctor. However, the most widely accepted first-line of treatment is an injectable medication. While self-injectable treatments can be highly affective, patients may have some complications ranging from mild to more severe and observing the effectiveness of such treatments can sometimes be difficult to diagnose.
A mild and common complication is known as self-injection phobia where the patient is simply uncomfortable injecting themselves. If this is a concern, talk to your doctor as they can provide anxiety support as well as offer resources for cognitive-behavioral self-injection therapy groups and classes. The National MS Society website also offers many suggestions for over-coming self-injection phobia including: relaxation techniques, changing how you think, and understanding why you are afraid. Obtaining the benefits of injectable treatments could be one step away. Don't let psychological fear of self-injection get in the way of conquering RRMS.
While each drug comes with its own set of possible complications and side effects, the outcome of not being able to continue using an injectable is possible. Some potential side effects include: depression, elevated liver enzymes, low white blood cell count, and flu like symptoms. Depending on the drug being taken, different side effects can arise. If side effects become a problem you will want to speak to your doctor and discuss other treatment options. While most side effects aren't serious they could be uncomfortable and you may need to choose between dealing with the side effect or find an alternative.
If, at any point, MS symptoms worsen or new problems arise, consult your doctor as your treatment method may not be working. Patients should watch for increased frequency or intensity of relapses, numbness, tingling, decreased cognitive abilities or difficulty walking. These could all be signs that a new treatment option needs to be investigated.
Aside from medication treatment options, there is an array of alternative treatment options that may be effective. Alternative treatments can cover numerous areas of RRMS including, enhancing mobility, promoting emotional well-being, and managing symptoms. One alternative treatment is enrolling in rehabilitation to promote function and overall fitness, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, cognitive rehab, chiropractic therapy and vocational rehab. Other forms of treatment include acupuncture, eating a high fiber and low fat diet, medicinal marijuana and practicing stress management. Consulting a doctor is always advisable when considering a new treatment approach.