Sometimes the choice of therapy to treat your disease is as hard as fighting it.  The MS Avonex alternative is another of the myriad of choices you’ll need to make.  Some of the other drugs that fall in the same category as Multiple Sclerosis Avonex therapy are the so called CRAB drugs.  The other drugs in this same class, which are all shown to be about equal in their effectiveness of reducing relapses are Copaxone, Rebif, Avonex, and Betaseron.  They all reduce relapses by about 30 – 35% in RRMS patients.  One advantage MS Avonex therapy has is that it is only injected once weekly, compared to as many as 7 times weekly for some of the others.    This fact alone is enough to make up some patients mind at first.


MS Avonex effectiveness and side effects


The findings from extensive trials are that the relapse rate was decreased an average of 32% in patients with mild to moderate RRMS.  It is clearly not indicated for advanced or worsening MS forms.  And it doesn’t seem to lose its effectiveness after prolonged use.  This is particularly important for younger patients that catch the disease early and may have to stay on Multiple Sclerosis Avonex therapy for many years, even decades.  Unlike some of the other similar drugs used to treat Multiple Sclerosis, Avonex is injected in the muscle rather than simply under the skin.  This makes some people squeamish, but most adapt quickly.  And even thought the injection is deeper than other injections given for MS, Avonex does not seem to cause as many injection-site reactions.

Some of the side effects that do occur with MS Avonex treatment are flu-like symptoms, elevated liver enzyme levels, and decrease of both red and white blood cells and platelets.  Blood testing is recommended regularly for this reason.  Finally, if depression is one of the many debilitating symptoms of your battle with MS, Avonex has been known to increase the depression levels, so caution is advised.


MS Avonex Services


Avonex has a program called AVONEX Services that offers a co-pay program as well as an access program.  The way to enroll is to phone them at 1-800-456-2255.  You can not apply online, since a telephone interview is the first step of enrollment.  You must also have a current prescription for the drug.  They will take financial information and turn it over to their financial assistance team.  The team will do its best to research different ways to help you pay for your MS Avonex therapy if you have no insurance, or ways to help with your co-pay if you are insured.  It is all done on an individual case basis.  If you are having trouble paying for your therapy, it might be worth a phone call to see if there is any help available for you.