It's not easy for anyone to make changes in their lives, particularly if they have to adjust their routines or if the drugs prescribed cause unpleasant side effects. At some point, you may need support — whether you're looking for help in managing side effects, you need a pep talk, or you need assistance in administering the drugs.
The Drug Companies
The companies that develop and market the various therapies for MS have a support staff to help answer your questions and address your concerns. All of the companies have toll-free numbers to call, and some have online programs that offer a variety of tools, such as sending you reminders on treatment days, offering online education seminars and twenty-four-hour-a-day nursing assistance by phone. Besides your physician, the drug companies can play an important role in helping to make your MS treatment successful.
The maker of Betaseron (Bayer Health Care) offer a comprehensive online support program, as well as the B.E.T.A. program, which offers twenty-four-hour-a-day nursing support by phone. Betaseron also offers the Pathways Program, which offers free online interactive webcasts on various topics concerning MS, an online patient journal to help you manage your care, and an injection reminder calendar. Pathways is open to all people with MS and not just those taking Betaseron. To learn more, visit
The maker of Avonex and Tysabri (Biogen Idec) offers a comprehensive online support program that includes educational programs, a mentoring program, a resource center, and a newsletter. A nursing services program with phone support and at-home nursing services for injection education and assistance are available to Avonex users. To learn more, visit
The maker of Copaxone (Teva Neuroscience) has an online program called Shared Solutions that offers nursing support by phone, peer support, a newsletter, and educational resources including teleconferences. To learn more, visit
The makers of Rebif (EMD, Serono and Pfizer) and Novantrone (EMD Serono) have a program called MS Lifelines that offers nursing support by phone, live web events that focus on MS education and support, and other resources available on their website. To learn more, visit
In addition to the drug companies, there are other sources of support to help you with treatment questions and concerns:
Your doctor and his staff. Your doctor is your best resource for questions pertaining to your chosen therapy and its side effects. If available, an MS nurse can also provide the proper education, communication, and support to help with patient adherence to the drugs.
National MS Society. The National MS Society offers brochures and online education regarding the various MS therapies. They can also help you find a support group in your area. Visit
www.nationalmssociety.orgor call 1-800-FIGHT-MS.
When choosing a DMT, the good news is that there is no shortage of help to aid you in the decision-making process. The drug companies can you give you a good overview of their DMTs, such as injection schedules, side effects, and costs. Your physician and his staff can offer valuable insight on these drugs as well, helping you to round out the picture and discover which drug may be more suited to your lifestyle.
Being Realistic about DMTs
In addition to obtaining the support you need to be consistent with your therapy, you should also have realistic expectations. The DMTs do not generally cure MS or completely prevent relapses.
Adherence to these therapies is the key to their success. Patients who are educated about a drug and receive ongoing support have the best success with their treatment plan. It's been shown that most adherence difficulties occur within the first six months of treatment, so it's important to find support if you are experiencing problems.