Wednesday, 16 March 2011

D-Day is fast approaching

My appointment with the MS nurse went really well and after another look at the options available I have decided that Rebif will be my medication of choice. It's a form of interferon beta-1a and while it isn't a cure (none of the drugs available are) tests indicate that it does reduce the relapse rate by a third, and also the length of any relapse you do have by a third too. And while they aren't exactly hugely positive percentages they're a hell of a lot better than what I'm facing at the minute.

So, I've made the choice and now it's all about the doing. Rebif is injected into the skin 3 times a week and I've chosen Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays - that way my 'weekend' starts on Friday mornings and I won't have to inject again until Sunday evening.

And the day of my first injection is looming large ... next Tuesday (22nd March) in fact. Thankfully the MS nurse does the first one, then I go back to her again on Thursday and I inject myself with her help. Finally on the Sunday I'll be at home and it's all systems go.

The process is also made 'easier' by a very fancy looking machine that Rebif comes with. It has so many bells and whistles I couldn't even begin to list them all but it's safe to say I'm pretty impressed by it. It doesn't remove the injection (naturally!) but it does make it more palatable.

I also go through what my MS nurse called 'titration' - this is where they start me on a low dose of 11mcg for 2 weeks, then increase it to 22mcg for another 2 weeks before I am finally on the allocated 44mcg. It is hoped that this gradual approach will help my body adjust to the drug better and lessen the affect of any side effects.

Talking of side effects, they aren't awful but they aren't pleasant either. Flu-like symptoms are the most common, shivering, aches and pains, headaches etc, as well skin reactions at the injection sites. However, most patients find that these disappear over a few months and if they do continue regular painkllers like paracetamol and ibuprofen can help. They are also why I will generally be injecting at night so that I hopefully sleep though any reaction I may have.

So, all in all, it's not so bad. I am a little nervous but hopefully once I get the first week over me it'll simply become a part of my life, as normal as brushing my teeth and having a shower. Fingers crossed :)


  1. Hi Catherine -

    I've been on Rebif for two years (exactly) and I'm happy with it. Keep in mind that there's no magic to the rotation - if a spot gets sore, skip it for a while. Don't sweat the first one, just be sure to commit. Position yourself so the part your injecting is relaxed and fat... press the button (and even give yourself a little slap in the face to distract from the pain- sounds silly but it works). You'll be fine - don't work yourself up about it.

    Good luck (not that you need it),

  2. Thanks Johnny, good solid advice there! I'll be posting on here about how it goes ... ! Great to hear from someone who has been there, done that :)

  3. best of luck with everything :)