The side effects of MS are difficult to handle. These side effects of Multiple Sclerosis occur because the body’s own immune system attacks the nerve cells of the brain and the spinal cord. These particular attacks cause the demyelination of nerve cells, which means that the outer covering used to conduct electrical signals is stripped off the cells. After too much of the sheath is stripped off by the white blood cells nerve damage occurs. The brain itself is safe as normally these white blood cells, known as ‘T-cells’, can’t get that far.

What happens after the cells become stripped of their covering is that they are no longer able to conduct electrical signals effectively. This lack of communication, so to speak, causes a lot of trouble within the body. The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis vary in intensity but include the following: loss of balance, lack of coordination, numbness, tingling, inability to think clearly, and blurred vision. They can get worse, and if they do, additional symptoms such as paralysis and fatigue can also happen.

The side effects of this disease are visible on a MRI scan. What this scan reveals is lesions that are causing the side effects. The doctors use a dye called gadolinium which is injected into the system of the patient and causes lesions to glow under the scan of an MRI machine. It is important to note that the brain can become damaged even before the patient notices symptoms. Medications used are designed to prevent and treat these lesions and therefore reduce the symptoms and side effects.


Reported Side Effects of MS Medication


It is important to understand that side effects of medications for MS can be as challenging to handle as the side effects of the disease itself. Usually the prescription will contain an information booklet or a pamphlet which should be read by the patient very carefully in order to understand what effects that particular medication will have on the body. It is also important to ask questions at the doctor’s office and understand any side effects that may occur. Many of these medications have to be injected and even if the medication itself is tolerated well the site of the injection can appear inflamed or swollen for a short period of time.

The types of medications used for this particular disease are called interferon-1a and 1b and they do have flu-like effects on the body which can last around three weeks after taking the medication. These symptoms can be anything from fatigue, achiness, soreness, to chills and a low-grade fever.

Another commonly prescribed drug to control side effects of MS is fingolimod which is available under the brand name of Gilenya. This particular drug is safe to combine with others as it is designed to not interfere with how other medications function, as well as effective in controlling side effects of Multiple Sclerosis. However, this drug will be administered for the very first time by a medical professional because it does cause a drop in heart rate when it is taken at first, and can cause a macular edema, which is the swelling in the back of the eyeball.