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avonex and depression

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 8:07 pm
by tristanbeate
I am on the Avonex since March 2011, my neurologist tested for antibodies cause I still had 4 relapses last year. I don't have any. Since I had a pretty terrible break up in 2011 and a lot of challenging life situations...graduating from medical jobs, move, start of my residency I've been on citalopram more or less since then...
I've known myself to be an emotional person but despite taking 20 mg of citalopram every morning I started having days here and there when I just feel depressed for no apparant reason.
It can be followed by a normal day and I can think for weeks that I am just okay. The moodswings have gotten more frequent and really start to effect my quality of life. Somehow I suspect the Avonex to be responsible for my depressions.
Is that possible? Does anyone have a similar experience?

My neurologist suggested to change the medication to either copaxone or fumaric acid. Since the latter hasn't been around for too long plus what I read about it here...I am sceptical. The copaxone I am not crazy about because of the daily injections.
But I can't have a bad day where nothing matters or makes sense every 2-5 days.

I am not sure what to do...
I've been doing the OMS since last summer and haven't had a relapse that needed steroids in 5 month. I feel that there is a tendency to stabilization.

Does anyone have a suggestion about what I should do? or what would make sense to do?

thank you, ina

Re: avonex and depression

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 10:04 pm
by atilladahunt
Hello Ina,

I've posted this before, but how is the meditation coming? I always read your posts twice and I keep wishing you calmness. You said yourself that your relapses at least are less harsh than before. OMS takes time...if you read tingletingle's (Alex's) post he was feeling knackered (I know I'm American, but I'm really trying to adopt the English/Aussie blend of language) for a couple of he's walking the whole course and feeling really well.

I can tell you that when I was first diagnosed I was mentally a mess. I couldn't go 20 minutes at work without logging back on to this forum to check for new posts. I read a new book every couple of days. But when I finally started calming down around month 6 my MS Hug went away and hasn't come back (it was there to some degree nearly every day). My arm tingles and back burning are gone. Maybe an odd sensation in my arm once every couple of weeks. All my symptoms for me have settled into my left leg which bothers me on most days, but you wouldn't know it unless I told you.

I'm not bragging because I know I have been pretty lucky thus far...but luck doesn't have anything to do with me being rigorous on all aspects of the lifestyle. I'm very keen to keep that distinction up when I discuss MS with friends...this is not just a diet. It's a lifestyle. It's not's permanent.

Finally, the biggest difference I noted in symptoms was getting my mind in the right place. I'm sure time had a big part in that. Educating myself had a bigger part in that (knowledge has always been key for me). Meditating was a very big help. I don't do it every day, but I think about it every day and I've learned to 'check in' on myself several times a day (a mindfullness technique).

I recommend doing whatever you need to do to get your mind at ease.

On the drug question, I can't recommend what to do there...however Fumaric acid has been used on patients in Germany for psoriasis for 20 years so it's safety is well documented. I understand your concerns about it's safety profile for MS, but the extended trials are in year 6 with the same efficacy and in my research they said that after 3 days Tecfidera was undetectable in your system, which makes me think that the effect or adverse effects wouldn't be cumulative...but you're the doctor not me.

Take Care,


Re: avonex and depression

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 5:50 am
by Rose
Hi there,
when I was hitting a lot of low moments I was determined to treat them holistically. My MS nurse, who at the time thought I was going to commit suicide, referred me to a Neuropsychologist at the hospital. He was even phoning me at home to check that I was coping. I really wasn't even thinking about suicide, but I must have seemed pretty desperate at the time.
Anyway he turned my whole life around and I felt the dark times become less and less frequent. It took time and commitment. At first I didn't see the point, but overtime he was teaching me to become more mindful of what my thoughts meant, and somehow this helped to elevate my mood. I began to have more control over my thought processes and this seemed to retrain my mind, preventing me to follow the same thought patterns preventing my mood from declining. I saw him for 2 years,
I don't know if I am making any sense, but that is the best way I can explain it.
I don't know if many people with MS actually see a Neuropsychologist, but I thoroughly recommend them.
It is worth discussing this with your MS nurse as you probably know I'm sure, but over 50 percent of MS sufferers develop depression at some stage.
I also find that exercise helps enormously. All those endorphins and dopamine improve your mood.
Sorry, but I can't comment about drugs as I have not taken any.
Best of luck with finding something that works for you.
Love and light
Rose x