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MS Therapy: Gilenya

Updated on September 10, 2013

Gilenya is the new disease-modifying pill approved by the FDA for treating multiple sclerosis. Great, right?! I think so...but am I taking it? No. Not yet. My doctor really pushed for me to stay on my current medication until Gilenya has been on the market a little longer. Based on the information for it though, I'm convinced that I want to switch.

They did two clinical trials for the pill, and both showed promising results. I'm not going to get into the specifics of it. You can do that here: http://nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatments/medications/fingolimod/index.aspx

All I'm going to tell you is that it reduced relapses by 54% in the two year trial and 52% in the one year trial. According to the Avonex site, relapses were reduced by 32%...wait, what? Why am I not already switching?! That's exactly what I was thinking!

If I switch to the pill, when I take my first dose, apparently I've got to take it in the doctor's office so they can monitor my heart rate. It can severely reduce heart rate as well as cause dizziness, nausea, etc. All the same things my once-a-week Avonex can cause. I'm really interested in talking to someone who is taking the Gilenya. If you are, please comment!!

My main question is: Is it worth it? I would go from injecting once a week to taking a pill everyday. And I haven't had any relapses since I started my Avonex, so why ruin a good thing? Don't fix it if it ain't broke! Or should I?

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