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Working With Your Doctor to Manage Symptoms

Talking to your doctor before you start taking a new MS medication can make the potential side effects seem less frightening, and arm you with strategies to manage those side effects. "Letting them know what to expect and that it's going to improve over time goes a long way toward helping them manage those symptoms," Miller says.

It's also important to schedule regular visits to your doctor's office, especially when you start on a new drug. You'll probably see your doctor every couple of months to start, and then every six months after that, according to Ratchford.

Your doctor should give you regular blood tests to check your liver function while you are on the interferon drugs or Gilenya. People who are taking Tysabri will have to answer questions about their treatment at every monthly infusion, as part of an FDA-mandated monitoring program. Get in touch with your doctor in between scheduled visits if you see any signs of an allergic reaction (rash, swelling of the mouth), infection (fever, skin damage), or worsening of your MS.

Although you can have side effects from your MS medications, they shouldn't stop you from getting the treatment you need. Know what symptoms to watch for, get support from your doctor, and follow your treatment plan, and your MS medications should help you stay active and healthy for a long time.

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