It’s best to learn about common side effects of Multiple Sclerosis medications before taking any of them. Whichever meds your doctor prescribes for MS, a pamphlet or information sheet should be supplied with it. If the doctor doesn’t provide you with this information, then the pharmacy will when the prescription is filled. The details for your meds need to be read before you take the first dose. Since most MS meds are injectable, there is always the possibility that a reaction will be seen at the injection site. This could be anything from redness to swelling.

Interferon-1a and 1b both have similar side effects; the redness and swelling mentioned previously, as well as itching at the injection site. A less common, yet brief reaction to these meds causes the chest to tighten, heart to race, difficulty breathing, and it feel similar to a panic attack. This type of reaction will occur right after the injection is give, if it happens at all. Only around 10 percent of those on Copaxone have an experience like this. However, feeling as if a heart attack is occurring can be extremely frightening.

Typical side effects of interferons include; soreness, fatigue, chills, low-grade fever, and achiness. These symptoms mimic the flu, but they aren’t long term effects of Multiple Sclerosis meds. They only last around 3 weeks.

Gilenya is a brand name for fingolimod and doesn’t generally cause any side effects when mixed with other drugs. It has shown to cause swelling at the back of the eyeball, which is known as ‘macular edema’. There might be a raised risk of an infection occurring also, but this or macular edema is common. One suggestion doctors usually make to an MS patient about to receive Gilenya is that a chickenpox vaccine be administered. An instance occurred where someone died from having the chickenpox while on Gilenya, hence the cause for concern. The very first dose of this MS med is administered by a doctor in the office, due to the likelihood of a drop in heart rate after taking the medicine.

Additional side effects of various MS meds includes; liver damage, thin skin and bones, mood swings, weight gain, acne, elevated blood sugar levels, and bloating.


Common Effects of Multiple Sclerosis in the Body


Multiple Sclerosis causes the body’s immune system to attack the nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord. These attacks cause the demyelination of nerve cells, meaning the outer covering used to conduct electrical signals is stripped right off the cells. Nerve damage occurs once too much of the sheath is stripped off by the white blood cells. The brain is normally off limits to these white blood cells used to fight infections, also known as ‘T-cells’.

As the cells become stripped of their covering, they quit being able to conduct electrical signals as effectively. This lack of the appropriate signals being sent to the body and brain wreak all sorts of havoc. The effects of Multiple Sclerosis include; numbness, tingling, a loss of balance, a lack of coordination, the inability to think clearly, and blurred vision. If the disease begins to progress, additional symptoms can include fatigue, paralysis, and limited mobility.

MRI scans are used to see how much damage has occurred on the brain from MS. Lesions are revealed during an MRI and active lesions can be pinpointed through the use of gadolinium. This colorless dye is injected into the system of the person with MS and it causes active lesions to appear bright in color on the MRI scan. Damage to the brain actually begins to occur well before MS symptoms ever present themselves. Medications can prevent flare-ups of these lesions and reduce the number of side effects of Multiple Sclerosis on the human body.