Friday was that time of the year again. Time to have an MRI.
In July 2008, I switched MS drug therapies. I now take Tysabri, a once-a-month IV, and I'm very happy with it. But it does have it's draw backs. Tysabri is an immunosuppressant, an the largest risk of taking it is contracting PML, a potentially lethal brain infection. While the chance of getting PML is relatively small, it's higher than the general population. The only way to monitor it is through MRI's. So I have one every six months.
The Results: No change. I saw the pictures myself. A bit depressing because I was hoping my body would have at least started healing the existing lesions by now. BUT the good news is that there are no new lesions and there haven't been since I've been on the big T. I can't complain really, because I can still function. I don't have any pain. I don't get too exhausted. There are some limitations, but overall, I'm doing good.
Because I'm doing so well, my Neuro and I talked about increasing the time between Tysabri infusions from once a month to every other month. Tysabri is the most powerful MS medication currently available. Because it's so strong, they're trying to determine if reducing the the number of infusions in those who are doing well will still allow the meds to offer protection while reducing the risk of PML. This decision will, of course, take into consideration the newest recommendations based on the most recent research. So we'll see if there are any changes in protocols over the next six months. We may also change the frequency of my MRI's from every 6 months to once year depending, again, on the potential to get PML based on the newest research.
I'm now "participating" in a study to see if there's a link between having been exposed to the JVC virus (which causes PML) and getting the disease. I say "participating" because it's only a blood draw once a year for three years. But I hope it helps.
I also talked to my Neuro about the new MS pill that was recently approved. I like to keep on top of what's going on with MS. As excited as I am about the advances that are being made, the side effects of this new med is a reason for me to hold off (even thought I have no desire to switch drugs). I mean, if the first time you take the pill, you have to do it in the doctor's office so they can monitor you for SIX hours, well, the risk vs. reward seems a bit skewed to one side.
We also talked about stem cell research, but I think I'll post that discussion in another post. This one has gone on long enough.