Registered nurse Mary Ellen talks about fatigue, finally having a name for her symptoms, and what it's like being on AUBAGIO.
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I am Mary Ellen from Indiana. I am on AUBAGIO for my relapsing MS.
I am a registered nurse. I'm married. Three children, seven grandchildren. I don't think of being a grandma because I don't feel old.
Art to me is looking at something, taking it into my heart, and then returning it to the world. Doing henna body art is very personal, it's very spiritual. So I may be duplicating a basic design like of a lotus that I like very much…because it celebrates life. Each henna tattoo is a bit different depending on what I sense from that person. I am touching the person much like I did in nursing. So I have that connection, and it's physical and emotional. So that draws me to the henna.
For four years I had symptoms that would come and go, and the nurse in me suspected MS. Because I started out with severe fatigue, and I say MS fatigue is different than "I'm tired at the end of the day" fatigue. It's a heaviness. I'd lean against the wall and I'd wonder, "Why am I so tired no matter how much I sleep?"
I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 1998. My husband remembers it just like Kennedy being shot. He knew the exact moment. He knew where he was…he said, "I will never forget."
It took four years for the diagnosis, and I felt relieved then because I had a name to put to all the symptoms. I think I'm like a lot of people, when you hear the word "MS," oh, they're in a wheelchair. They can't walk. Maybe that's me. Maybe I won't be able to continue with work, take care of my family, pay my mortgage. So I was scared.
Before I started the AUBAGIO, I had been on four different treatments, and all of them were injections or IVs. I had to go to a facility that was approved to give the IVs, and that involved half a day for me.
I started AUBAGIO May of 2013. Taking a pill involves less time and less stress. I don't even think about it, I just instinctively grab it first thing in the morning when I get out of bed.
Early on I had a side effect that was a burning/numbness/tingling sensation on my skin, lasted about two months, and then ebbed away.
And then about three months I had some hair thinning. It would kinda cover the shower drain or the countertop. But it was so generalized all over that, uh, it wasn't real obvious. It was short lived. My hairdresser cut my hair differently, a few months, I'm back. It's just a little blip in the radar.
Since I've been on the AUBAGIO, I haven't had any flare-ups, exacerbations, relapse, whatever you want to call it. So for me that's big. I'm happy.
I try to take the approach that I no longer fight the MS like the villain. Instead, I face it and embrace it, and look for good things on the other side. Because I've had a lot of opportunities and joys I would've never had if MS hadn't taken me down different paths.
Thank you for watching Mary Ellen's story.
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GZUS.AUBA.14.10.1015a(2) July 2016
AUBAGIO® (teriflunomide) is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Are of childbearing potential and not using effective birth control.
It is not known if AUBAGIO passes into breast milk. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you should take AUBAGIO or breastfeed — you should not do both at the same time.
If you are a man whose partner plans to become pregnant, you should stop taking AUBAGIO and talk with your healthcare provider about reducing the levels of AUBAGIO in your blood. If your partner does not plan to become pregnant, use effective birth control while taking AUBAGIO.
AUBAGIO may stay in your blood for up to 2 years after you stop taking it. Your healthcare provider can prescribe a medicine that can remove AUBAGIO from your blood quickly.
Before taking AUBAGIO, talk with your healthcare provider if you have: liver or kidney problems; a fever or infection, or if you are unable to fight infections; numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms; diabetes; serious skin problems when taking other medicines; breathing problems; or high blood pressure. Your healthcare provider will check your blood cell count and TB test before you start AUBAGIO. Talk with your healthcare provider if you take or are planning to take other medicines (especially medicines for treating cancer or controlling your immune system), vitamins or herbal supplements.
AUBAGIO may cause serious side effects, including: reduced white blood cell count — this may cause you to have more infections; numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms; allergic reactions, including serious skin problems; breathing problems (new or worsening); and high blood pressure. Patients with low white blood cell count should not receive certain vaccinations during AUBAGIO treatment and 6 months after.
Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
The most common side effects when taking AUBAGIO include: headache; diarrhea; nausea; hair thinning or loss; and abnormal liver test results. These are not all the side effects of AUBAGIO. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you.
Consult your healthcare provider if you have questions about your health or any medications you may be taking, including AUBAGIO.
You are encouraged to report side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1‑800‑FDA‑1088.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not take AUBAGIO if you have severe liver problems. AUBAGIO may cause serious liver problems, which can be life-threatening. Your risk may be higher if you take other medicines that affect your liver. View More