Hello all! Sorry, I have been MIA for a little while, but I’m back and I would like to share my experience using AVONEX! As many of you know, after being on Aubagio for only a few months, I was switched over to AVONEX (interferon-beta-1a injections) due to the harsh side effects of Aubagio. I was on AVONEX for 11 months and my experience wasn’t all that bad!
For those of you that do not know what AVONEX is: AVONEX is a weekly injection of a fancy medication called interferon-beta-1a. The injections are done by yourself and are usually done on your outer thigh. Side effects are flu-like symptoms after injecting and like many other MS medications, it makes you more susceptible to infections and other conditions.
When I first started AVONEX, the side effects were very mild and I felt perfectly normal. I chose to inject every Thursday as it would fit my schedule best, and there were no changes in my mood, diet, or daily routine whatsoever. However, after a few injections, the side effects began to become more severe as they went from a slight achy feeling to a full fever, headache, body aches, runny nose, etc. These side effects would knock me down for a full day where I had to stay in bed taking ibuprofen and using ice packs to control the fevers. For that reason, I switched my injection day to Saturday nights so I could spend all of Sunday in bed rather than Friday.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the side effects that made me stop AVONEX, it was the infections. When the doctor warns you that the medication will make you more susceptible to infections, you think of the flu or strep throat or something along those lines. Instead, I got repeated tonsillitis, HPV on my foot, UTI’s, and even a sexy case of staph on my butt and legs. The infections were nonstop, uncomfortable, and embarrassing! Nothing says “beach body” like a boil on your bum, am I right?
However, after stopping AVONEX, the infection did not stop. I got another staph infection a month after my last injection on the back of my knee and a UTI. The best advice I can give you if you’re planning on starting AVONEX is this: be prepared! If I could go back and do it again, I would have started my injections on Saturday nights and plan to be out the next day. I also recommend making ibuprofen PM your best friend so that you sleep through the body aches and fevers. I would be sure to change my cleaning routine so that EVERYTHING is disinfected to prevent infections. But more importantly, be prepared to handle the infections with the right antibiotics and medications, as well as a clever story as to why you have a boil or a wart that will not go away….