Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis

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1 Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis

2 Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis What is multiple sclerosis? 1 Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. Normally, your immune system protects your body from infection and disease. In MS, your immune system attacks myelin, which is the cover that protects your nerves. This causes nerve damage making it hard for your brain to talk to the rest of your body. How can my MS be treated? Table 1 lists medicines that treat MS and the medicine that can be used to improve walking in people in MS. Table 1. Medicines for MS 2 Brand (generic) Name Ampyra (dalfampridine) Aubagio (teriflunomide) Gilenya (fingolimod) Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate) Avonex (interferon beta-1a) Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) Extavia (interferon beta-1b) Rebif (interferon beta-1a) Novantrone (mitoxantrone) Tysabri (natalizumab) More Information Taken by mouth Used to improve walking in MS patients Taken by mouth Used for relapsing forms of MS Injected into the muscle Used for relapsing forms of MS Injected under the skin Used for relapsing forms of MS Injected into a vein Used for progressive-relapsing, secondary-progressive, worsening relapsing-remitting MS Injected into a vein Used for relapsing forms of MS who have tried other medicines OptumRx

3 Why is it important to take my MS medicines? 2 It s important to take your MS medicines because they may improve your health and quality of life. Medicines for MS can: Reduce how often you have an MS relapse (which is a worsening of your symptoms that last for more than 24 hours). With fewer relapses, you ll have less damage. Help make relapses less severe. Reduce the areas of damage on the brain and spinal cord. Help slow the natural course of MS. Help with MS symptoms. Don t stop taking any of your medicines even if you feel healthy or feel like they re not working. Talk to your doctor about any concerns and before making any changes to your medicines. What are some of the common side effects of the MS medicines? 2-6 Some common side effects of MS medicines and tips to manage are listed below. If these symptoms continue or get worse, please contact your doctor or OptumRx pharmacist. The list of side effects is not a complete list and is not associated with all MS medicines. Tiredness Prioritize your activities. Eat well-balanced meals. Don t skip any meals. Get enough rest and sleep. Make time for regular exercise. Flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, muscle pain, discomfort, sweating) Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Put a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead if you have a fever. Talk to your doctor about using Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) for a high fever or for body aches and pain.

4 Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis Injection site reactions If you use alcohol to clean the area you re going to inject, let the area dry before injecting. Use a different injection site each time you inject. Put an ice pack on the site for no more than 2 minutes before and after injecting. If ice doesn t help, try a warm compress. Headaches Avoid loud noises and bright lights. A massage or heat applied to the upper neck may be helpful. Don t take medicines for a headache without first talking to your doctor. Get emergency help if you also have a fever, stiff neck, confusion, double vision, weakness, numbness, or hard time speaking. What are some of the more serious side effects of MS medicines? Table 2 lists some serious side effects of MS medicines. If you notice any of these side effects, please talk to your doctor right away. If you have a hard time breathing or have any thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call 911 right away. Table 2. Serious Side Effects of MS Medicines 2 Medicines Serious Side Effects Ampyra Kidney or bladder infection Seizure Aubagio Infections (fever, body aches, tiredness) New or worsening breathing problems Skin problems Increase in potassium levels (checked by blood tests) Kidney problems (pain in your side) OptumRx

5 Table 2. Continued Medicines Avonex Betaseron Extavia Rebif Copaxone Gilenya Novantrone Tecfidera Tysabri Serious Side Effects Depression, thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts. If you feel sad or hopeless or feel like hurting yourself or others, tell a friend or family member right away and call your doctor immediately. If you think you have depression, tell your doctor or OptumRx pharmacist. Infection Allergic reaction Flushing, anxiety, shortness of breath, and itching right after an injection Breathing problems Infections Liver problems Congestive heart failure Skin problems Infection Infections (fever, body aches, tiredness) A rare brain infection (clumsiness, weakness, or changes in your vision, speech, or personality) Blood problems such as decrease in the levels of infection-fighting blood cells, red blood cells or cells that help to form blood clots Liver problems such as yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, pale stool color Severe skin damage Thyroid problems Chest pain Slow heart rate Vision problem called macular edema Liver problems (e.g., yellowing of the eyes and skin, dark urine, pale stool color) Allergic reaction

6 Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis How should I store my disease-modifying MS medicine? Table 3 lists some storage and travel tips. Call your OptumRx pharmacist if you have any questions. Tysabri and Novantrone are usually stored and given at an infusion center or doctor s office. They re not listed in this table. Table 3. Storage and Traveling Tips 2 Medicines Storage Travel Tips* Ampyra Aubagio Gilenya Tecfidera Avonex Copaxone Rebif Betaseron Extavia Keep the medicine at room temperature 59 F 86 F. Keep in a dry place. Refrigerate. Don t freeze. Protect from light and heat. Keep vials at room temperature 59 F 86 F. Don t refrigerate powder before mixing. Refrigerate medicine after mixing. Use within 3 hours. Don t freeze. Keep the medicine with you. Don t check-in your medicine with your luggage. Keep away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. Keep the medicine with you. Don t check-in your medicine with your luggage. Pack your MS medicine in a small cooler with ice packs and a thermometer to help protect it from extreme temperatures and sunlight. If refrigeration is not available, the medicines can be kept at room temperature (up to 77 F) for up to 30 days (7 days for Avonex prefilled syringes). Keep the medicine with you. Don t check-in your medicine with your luggage. Keep away from extreme temperatures and sunlight. *A free travel kit may be available through the drug manufacturer. OptumRx

7 What should I do if I missed a dose? 2 Generally, don t use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor. They ll be able to give you more specific directions. It s important to try not to miss any doses since your medicine is preventing your MS from getting any worse. Some things you can do to remember to take you medicine is to: Take your medicine around the same time. Use a calendar and mark the dates that you need to take your medicine. Where can I get more information? To learn more about MS and about your medicine that you re taking, please contact the following resources: OptumRx Phone: Website: National Multiple Sclerosis Society Phone: Website: Ampyra Phone: Website: Aubagio Phone: Website: Avonex Phone: Website: Website: Betaseron Phone: Website: Copaxone Phone: Website: Website: Extavia Phone: Website: Gilenya Phone: Website: Novantrone Phone: Website: Website: Rebif Phone: Website: Website: Tecfidera Phone: Website: Tysabri Phone: Website:

8 Information About Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis References: 1. What is MS? National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Accessed April 30, Micromedex 2.0 website. micromedex2/librarian/ssl/true.accessed April 30, Fatigue. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia website. Updated May Accessed April 30, Treat Other Flu Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed April 30, Headache. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia website. Updated December Accessed April 30, Side effects. Rebif website. Accessed April 30, The information in this educational tool does not substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of your physician. Always seek the help of your physician or qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. OptumRx specializes in the delivery, clinical management and affordability of prescription medications and consumer health products. We are an Optum TM company a leading provider of integrated health services. Learn more at All Optum TM trademarks and logos are owned by Optum, Inc. All other brand or product names are trademarks or registered marks of their respective owners. ORX3717_ OptumRx, Inc.

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