What Are the Side Effects of MS Treatments?
Take Your Pills continued...
Your doctor might prescribe dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera), a pill that can help with the inflammation and nerve damage of MS. It might make you flush in the face, make your skin itch, or start a rash. In very rare cases it’s been linked to PML.
Another pill, teriflunomide (Aubagio), targets specific immune cells that are related to MS. This also makes you more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu. It can also cause hair loss, liver problems, and a tingling sensation that may be a symptom of nerve damage.
If you take fingolimod (Gilenya), your doctor’s team will check on you for 6 hours after your first dose, to make sure it doesn’t lower your heart rate when your first take it. It can also lower your white blood cell count, so you should have a blood test before you start taking it. Watch out for chest pain, headaches, nausea, stomach pain, and depression.
When in Doubt, Ask Your Doctor
Speak up if you have a side effect that bothers you. "If something is not right, ask your doctor," Leist says. Together, you can decide on your next steps, whether it's changing your drug, adjusting your dose, or treating the side effect in another way.
MS medications also have support hotlines you can call if you're concerned about a reaction or a new symptom that could be drug-related, Leist says.