Tuesday, May 25, 2004


“A” is for Avonex in the MS alphabet.  Patti used Avonex for a little over 2 years.


Here again impaired vision and coordination prevented self administration by Patti. Her neurologist arranged training in subcutaneous injections for our entire family and all possible caregivers. (What a difference from the days of NO support for Calcium EAP.) Even our daughter now middle school aged was included in training.


Avonex is an Interferon and simply put is designed to prolong the time between MS exacerbations thereby prolonging functional time of life. Of course much like Betaseron it was oriented toward early diagnosis and remitting remissive MS.


Patti’s neurologist went to bat with our insurance. At the time, some European trials were showing success even with chronic progressive MS. Fortunately our insurance agreed to pay and we entered the Avonex era at a more than affordable copay of $25 every three months, versus a listed price of $980 per month.


From a caregiver perspective, weekly subcutaneous injections were a breeze compared to bee stings or twice weekly intravenous injections with Calcium EAP. Side effects were non-existent. Patti NEVER demonstrated any of the flu-like symptoms.


Did It work? Not really. Maybe it slowed some progression of physical symptoms. However the onset and rapid deterioration of memory and thinking skills, quality of life issues like both bladder and bowel incontinence, and more all began and progressed during the Avonex era. 


Avonex and the interferons eventually joined the ever growing junk yard of efforts to slow the beast for Patti.


For others with MS, Avonex is a license on life. MS is baffling.

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