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Interferon and Depression - I was surprised.

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 10:42 pm
by Alex
I have been taking Avonex since diagnosed and about 2 months before starting OMS. I believe that in the first few months to the first year, it made a difference. I am not sure anymore, but just as I told someone who asked me at my 5year anniversary whether I would now quit the diet, I said that I'm not messing with what works.

I would like to give a warning/insight to people on or considering interferon. I didn't realize it was making me depressed and paranoid for 1/2 the week until I recognized a pattern a full 6 years in. I knew shot day was miserable and that all looked bleak, people were against me, etc. but during the week, I took those observations as true - because there were factors, right? People really did say and do things, right? I didn't realize my perspective was warped. I just realized that the week gradually got better with regularity, and not just because of the weekend.

I've solved the problem for now by taking a small dose of the antidepressant sertraline a day before and 3 days after. I suspect even without the interferon that the MS has made me depressed, but the interferon certainly increased it and I was not aware. It's very difficult to figure out what's real when your mind isn't working properly. It's like measuring with a broken meter you don't know is broken.

Re: Interferon and Depression - I was surprised.

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 5:36 am
by Meow
I can certainly agree with what you are saying. I was on one of the 3x a week interferons and it was b..... awful. It made all of my symptoms worse, and I was getting very depressed - turning into a zombie in fact. My motivation to do anything at all went down to about minus 10 (some days I couldn't even be bothered feeding myself or having a shower). Ditched it after about 11 months, and my depression lifted in less than a fortnight, and other symptoms actually improved. And it was sheer bliss to not have the flu-like side effects and have to endlessly stuff other drugs down my throat to try and counteract the interferon side effects (and the NSAIDS caused their own side effect problems as well).

It not necessarily the right decision for everyone, but I have no regrets at all about stopping the drug.

Re: Interferon and Depression - I was surprised.

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 8:07 am
by veg
Alex it is good to read you saw a pattern and have sought changes to ease your head manipulation. I hope you continue to see more clearly.
Depression can have such an impact, perhaps there should be more proactive monitoring when drugs are perscribed by the physicians to catch it early and perhaps change drug.

Re: Interferon and Depression - I was surprised.

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 10:29 pm
by Alex
@Meow - did you switch to another medication or are you not on any DMD? To be honest, what I'm doing (Diet, Exercise, DMD) is working, so I'm loathe to change anything, even though i recognize the cost. I was forced to miss my weekly shot this past Saturday and spent the best weekend + Monday in a while. People ought to know that the interferons can make you feel terrible. I do believe they are effective. The question is whether OMS alone is enough for me and that's a decision I will look at after 10 years NEDA (No Evidence of Disease Activity)

Re: Interferon and Depression - I was surprised.

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 10:31 pm
by Alex
@Veg - it's incredible and insidious. MS has it's own tendency to cause depression, but even if like me, you're not depressed, it can still effect your view of the world around you and your decisions. This is not easily observable. It's not that you're irrationally convinced you're losing your job every week or your spouse is cheating on you, it's that it's true - and then it clears up. I'[m feeling better than ever and I share so people can be aware.