Saturday, December 5, 2009
Mr. M has decided to take Tysabri, a newer MS medication that was at first approved by the FDA, then pulled off the market, and is now back on the market. He was on it once before, but it became too expensive for him to continue the therapy. But since Mr. M is a veteran, he has the privilege of getting all of his health care done at the VA. This is both good and bad. Good, because his health care is free,and as many of you may know, MS is an EXPENSIVE disease. Bad, because we have to drive to the Miami VA once a month in order to get this medication. In the past, we have been charged $5000 a month for this treatment, but now that Mr. M is using the VA, we are able to get him the treatment he wants and needs.
Yesterday we made the long, long trek to Miami. It took us three hours and we saw a total of 5 car accidents, 2 of which were cars that had flipped. It was pretty scary. We had to be there by 9:30 am, so we left our house at 6:00, dropped off the kiddos, and went on our way. We arrived by 9:15, but parking was TERRIBLE, so it took almost 30 minutes to find a place to park. We eventually made it in, and started the process for his first treatment.
Tysabri is considered a biologic therapy, but must be administered in the chemotherapy department of a hospital, by a specially-trained nurse who has been "TOUCH" certified by Tysabri (the company). We spent an hour filling out paperwork and talking with the doctor, and then waited some more while the pharmacy mixed up the medication and brought it to us. (The medication does not last long once it has been mixed up, so the patient must be in the chair waiting for it before the pharmacy will mix it.) Then Mr. M was given his IV and the Tysabri drip began. The drip takes about one hour, but the patient must wait for another hour afterwards, just for observation. We finally arrived home by 5:00, and overall everything went pretty smooth.
As with any medication, there are some risks associated with Tysabri, which both Mr. M and I have fully considered. The biggest risk is an infection in the brain, called PML, that can develop while taking Tysabri. But his doctor is going to be monitoring him monthly and we are hopeful that he will not contract PML. His doctor is a genious. She is so smart, and deals only with MS and Tysabri, so she is pretty much an expert. She has a wonderful bedside manner and is so personable. We just love her. I only wish we had met her sooner.
**If you would like more information about the drug Tysabri, click here: