Finding the “Right Fit” for Me: Paul’s Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Journey

Biogen avatar

by Biogen |

Share this article:

Share article via email

This content is sponsored by Biogen and is intended for U.S. audiences only. Any other present or future content posted by the contributor, not expressly designated as “Biogen-sponsored content” is not associated with Biogen. Paul is an actual patient and paid spokesperson for Biogen.

 

 

While doing laundry at home one weekend, Paul – a business consultant for a restaurant company and father of three – found himself on the floor looking up at the chandelier, unable to move his left side.

He was, of course, terrified. When the same thing happened the next morning, his son found him. Paul eventually willed himself to move. He visited multiple doctors until he finally received an accurate diagnosis: relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).

Paul soon learned MS is different than many other diseases because each patient’s journey is unique; the progression, severity, and even symptoms are unpredictable, depending on a host of factors unique to the individual.1

“I didn’t know much about MS,” Paul remembers. “I got on the computer and started researching what ‘relapsing MS’ was. I read articles to try to understand, so I could explain to my family what was going on.”

Quote card 1

Paul’s Path to Finding the “Right Fit” for Him

Over the next decade, Paul tried numerous treatments. After discussing treatment goals with his doctor, Paul chose VUMERITY® (diroximel fumarate), a pill for relapsing forms of MS that is shipped directly to his home.

Since relapsing MS is different for everyone, it’s important that people living with the condition have options. For some patients, VUMERITY may help in three ways: by reducing relapses, delaying disability progression, and slowing development of brain lesions.* Paul and his doctor discussed the potential benefits and risks of VUMERITY, which can include allergic reactions to VUMERITY or dimethyl fumarate; PML, which is a rare brain infection that usually leads to death or severe disability; herpes zoster; and other serious infections. Paul and his doctor also talked about the need for blood tests to monitor white blood cell counts and liver function.

*The link between brain lesions and the progression of relapsing MS has not been confirmed.

Please see below for Important Safety Information. Individual results on VUMERITY may vary.

“VUMERITY fit right into my routine and that was important for me.” After the recommended starting dose of one oral capsule 2 times a day for the first seven days, Paul then moved to the regular dose of 2 capsules 2 times a day. “I use the myVUMERITY™ app as a reminder to take my pills. Then, off I go.” Since taking VUMERITY may cause flushing and stomach problems, Paul’s doctor recommended taking the capsules with a meal that is no more than 700 calories and less than 30g of fat, and not drinking alcohol at the time he takes the capsules.

Vumerity quote card 2

Staying Active and Leaning on a Support System

For Paul, a former athlete, exercise became a way of staying strong while living with MS. He has become a water aerobics enthusiast.

“That’s one exercise I really love. Everyone in the pool supports each other,” he says.

Early in his MS journey, Paul learned his family would also be critical to his disease management.

“When my relapsing MS first set in, I forgot when I had appointments,” he says. “I’d get there late because I was struggling to remember things, but those visits are important. At first, I didn’t want to bother my family, but I realized it was important to ask for help.”

Paul also sought out help from Biogen. For more than 25 years, Biogen has been committed to serving the needs of the MS community. Biogen Support Services provides support for your therapy and personalized assistance for patients. Nurse Educators, who work on behalf of Biogen, can answer questions or provide information 24/7 related to your relapsing MS and VUMERITY. Although Nurse Educators can be a great resource, it’s important to remember that healthcare providers are always the best source of information.

Additionally, the myVUMERITY™ app can help patients keep up with treatment by setting dosing reminders, tracking appointments and emailing dosing logs directly to a healthcare team.

Quote card 3

Paul is passionate about sharing what he’s learned when it comes to managing his disease, to help inspire others to be the person they always were, despite their MS.

“I have volunteered for several MS studies during my 16 years of living with relapsing MS, because I know not many African American men go to the doctor and not very many African American people participate in studies,” he says. “I’m a champion for advocating for your health and being an advocate of support systems.”

To learn more, visit VUMERITY.com and ask your doctor if VUMERITY might be a fit for you.

 

What is VUMERITY® (diroximel fumarate)?

  • VUMERITY is a prescription medicine used to treat people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease in adults
  • It is not known if VUMERITY is safe and effective in children

Important Safety Information

Do not take VUMERITY if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction (such as welts, hives, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or tongue, or difficulty breathing) to diroximel fumarate, dimethyl fumarate, or any of the ingredients in VUMERITY
  • are taking dimethyl fumarate 

Before taking and while you take VUMERITY, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have liver problems
  • have kidney problems
  • have or have had low white blood cell counts or an infection
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if VUMERITY will harm your unborn baby
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if VUMERITY passes into your breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while using VUMERITY

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

What should I avoid while taking VUMERITY?

  • Do not drink alcohol at the time you take a VUMERITY dose

What are the possible side effects of VUMERITY?

VUMERITY may cause serious side effects including:

  • allergic reaction (such as welts, hives, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or tongue, or difficulty breathing). Stop taking VUMERITY and get emergency medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms
  • PML (progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) a rare brain infection that usually leads to death or severe disability over a period of weeks or months. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these symptoms of PML:
    • weakness on one side of the body that gets worse
    • clumsiness in your arms or legs
    • vision problems
    • changes in thinking and memory
    • confusion
    • personality changes
  • herpes zoster infections (shingles), including central nervous system infections
  • other serious infections
  • decreases in your white blood cell count Your healthcare provider should do a blood test to check your white blood cell count before you start treatment with VUMERITY and while you are on therapy. You should have blood tests after 6 months of treatment and every 6 to 12 months after that
  • liver problems. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests to check your liver function before you start taking VUMERITY and during treatment if needed. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any of these symptoms of a liver problem during treatment
    • severe tiredness
    • loss of appetite
    • pain on the right side of your stomach
    • have dark or brown (tea color) urine
    • yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes

The most common side effects of VUMERITY include:

  • flushing, redness, itching, or rash
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or indigestion
  • Flushing and stomach problems are the most common reactions, especially at the start of therapy, and may decrease over time. Taking VUMERITY with food (avoid high-fat, high-calorie meal or snack) may help reduce flushing. Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms and they bother you or do not go away. Ask your healthcare provider if taking aspirin before taking VUMERITY may reduce flushing

These are not all the possible side effects of VUMERITY. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. For more information go to dailymed.nlm.nih.gov.

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Patient Information.

 

[1] “MS Symptoms.” National Multiple Sclerosis Society. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms. Accessed September 13, 2021.

Video

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These audio news stories give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

Listen Here