Although it has been 20 years since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, there still has not been a cure discovered. When I was diagnosed, there were not many disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) available and the ones that were offered were all injection based. I will never forget the first two I tried because they failed miserably. To be 100% honest, it may not have been the medications that failed, but instead, I was at fault because I found it too difficult to give myself a shot. Of course, injecting yourself with a sharp needle is challenging, but I think that the after-effects were much more miserable.
One can experience side effects with any medication, which I believe is because most medications, no matter how helpful they seem are poison and they require another medication to combat the symptoms. I guess you could say that big pharma knew exactly what they were doing to keep their pockets filled deep and everyone else to be broke.
During the past twenty-plus years, which is more than two decades, there have been many improvements and advancements in the treatment for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. The DMTs are no longer only injection-based and there are now a variety of medications available. Not only are there numerous medications to choose between, but most have copay assistance programs making the medications more affordable. These copay assistance programs are very beneficial, especially, if you lived in the United States where healthcare and medications are outrageously expensive.
In the rest, of this post, I am going to share the different types of medications available for Multiple Sclerosis and if there are copay assistance programs available. Please be advised and understand that I am not a medical professional, nor am I providing any advice on the best medications to try. The information in the remainder of this post is all information I have discovered through the years and research.
I am going to start with my least favorite type of DMT, which was the only type available when I was diagnosed.
Rebif, an Interferon beta medication was the first medication I “tried” after my diagnosis. This medication is taken three times a week and at least 48 hours apart. Rebif is administered subcutaneously, which means you are injecting the medication with a short, thin needle just under the skin. Rebif offers three injection options: the Rebif prefilled syringe (which is what I had), the Rebif II autoinjector, and the Rebif Rebidose Autoinjector. There are two options or dosages, 22 mcg, and 44 mcg. The following link will take you to the website for Rebif’s copay assistance. https://www.rebif.com/home/1-on-1-support/Financial-support-specialists.html.
Copaxone was one that I did try for a short time. Both myself and my doctor knew it was not working well enough for me as I had already proven I was terrible at giving myself injections. This type is also given three times a week and at least 48 hours apart. It is best to do the injections at the same time and day each week. Copaxone 40mg can be administered with autoinjector 2 in a glass syringe. There is a copay assistance program for this medication, which you can visit at the following link. https://www.copaxone.com/shared-solutions/copay-assistance.
Avonex is a once-a-week medication. This is a 30-mcg intramuscular self-infection that is injected into the muscle. Avonex is available in two ways. One way is the Avonex pen which is a single-dose autoinjector. The second way is an Avonex prefilled syringe that allows you to inject your weekly dose. Copay assistance for this medication is available, so if you are interested in this, please see the following link https://www.avonex.com/en_us/home/support-and-events/financial-information.html
Although, oral medications are easier and do not involve needles, not all oral medications will be the most effective treatment for everyone. I am going to share the oral medications that are currently available and if there are copay assistance programs available.
Oral Medication Options:
Aubagio is a once-a-day medication. Copay assistance programs are available. https://www.aubagio.com/cost
Tecfidera was one that I did try, but it was because I was having issues with increased headaches, and everyone I know (not my doctor) was blaming them on the Gilenya. This medication is taken twice a day with or without food. This medication does have a copay assistance program available to help with the costs. Please see the following link if this is something you are interested in. https://www.biogenoptions.com/en_us/home/biogen-support-services/financial-insurance-cost-assistance.html
When on Vumerity, during the first week, the patient would take the starter dose of 231 mg as one pill twice a day. After the first week, the patient would begin the regular dose of 462 mg as two pills twice a day. As with all the others I have gone over so far, this medication also has a copay assistance program. https://www.vumerity.com/en_us/home/biogen-support-services/financial-support.html
With Bafiertam, during the first week, the patient could take the starting dosage of 95 mg, which a day. After the initial seven days, the dosage would increase to the normal dose of 190 mg twice a day. Copay assistance for this medication is available, please see the following link to learn more https://copay.bafiertam.com/
Gilenya is the medication that I have been on for many years. The first dose of 0.5 mg needs to be monitored for at least six hours by a healthcare professional. After the first dose, this medication is taken once a day with a daily dosage of 0.25 mg. There is a copay assistance program, which is a lifesaver as this medication is insanely expensive. For a better understanding of the copay assistance that may be offered, please see the following link https://www.gilenya.com/ms-pill/co-pay
Zeposia is another type of oral medication that I have not heard much about and it surely was not an option when I was diagnosed. This medication is taken once a day as well. There is a copay assistance program available, please see the following link for further information. https://www.zeposia.com/multiple-sclerosis/copay/
Another oral medication that I am not too familiar with, and it was not available when I was diagnosed is Ponvory. This medication is a once-a-day pill, but it does involve a special way to begin the medication. There is copay assistance available for this medication, please see the following link to view more information https://www.janssencarepath.com/patient/ponvory/cost-support
There are numerous other options available to treat Multiple Sclerosis and so many more than I was offered when I was diagnosed. Of course, I do encourage anyone who has been battling with this disease for years or those who have been recently diagnosed to do research on different medications. I am including a link to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, as this website explains the different types of medications available and if there are any assistance programs available.
I do think it is also good to talk with your specialist because they should be very knowledgeable about the medications that are available. I did share several in this post, but I did not want to make you read about so many medications, when you can read about the types that seem appealing without reading as much as I have already shared. Plus, I do not want to encourage anyone to try any medications because again, I am not a medical professional. The only thing I know is, I have been fighting this disease for over 20 years and I am still waiting for a cure to be available.
Thank you for visiting my site today. Even though I am not making any suggestions on the best medications, I hope the information I shared regarding copay assistance was helpful for you. Considering I have been dealing with these copay assistance programs for a long time, I am happy to help if you should have any questions. I hope you are having a lovely weekend and I am looking forward to reading your comments or questions, which I will respond to as quickly as possible. Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, support, and MANY positive vibes!