Multiple sclerosis (“MS”) is a disease where the body’s immune system damages the protective covering on nerves (myelin sheath). See diagram. The disease affects the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. Ultimately, the disease can cause nerve deterioration, which is irreversible. Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS.
Multiple sclerosis in Humira users
Researchers think that genetics and childhood infections may play a role in MS, but the exact cause is unknown. MS is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system actually attacks itself. With MS, the body is attacking the brain and spinal cord. The disease usually presents itself in people between ages 20 and 40, with women being twice as likely as men to develop MS.
As MS progresses, it can cause problems with muscle control, sensation, balance, and vision. When MS is in the early stages, symptoms can disappear for months, making this disease difficult to diagnose. The exact symptoms of MS depend on the level and location of nerve damage.
There are actually four courses MS can take:
- Relapsing-remitting MS
- Primary-progressive MS
- Secondary-progressive MS
- Progressive-relapsing MS
- Loss of vision (partial or complete)
- Problems with vision (double or blurred)
- Numbness/weakness in limbs
- Lack of coordination
- Bowl and bladder disturbances
In severe cases, MS can cause people to lose the ability to walk, write, or speak.
Treating the symptoms of MS
Because there is no cure for MS, doctors focus on treating symptoms. When a patient with MS has a relapse of symptoms, inflammation occurs. Corticosteroids can be used to treat this inflammation. If a patient exhibits more severe symptoms, a plasma exchange can be used. This actually involves a system similar to that used for kidney dialysis, but the machine is actually separating your blood cells from the plasma.
Relationship Between Drugs & Development of MS
Drugs such as beta interferons, glatiramer, fingolimod, natalizumab, mitoxantrone can be used to affect the rate or progression of the disease. Other medications can be used to treat fatigue, depression, muscle stiffness, or pain. Patients with MS are encouraged to seek out a physical therapist, counselor, and support groups (MS Greater Illinois Chapter or RIC MS Support Group) to not only cope with symptoms and learn new ways to perform daily tasks, but to learn to live with MS.
Demyelination Injuries Related To Humira?
Several studies have suggested a link between TNF antagonists, such as Humira, and demyelinating diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis. Drugs like Humira might actually initiate or reveal an underlying demyelinating disease or cause a worsening of symptoms for demyelinating diseases like MS.
Humira suggests talking to your doctor before taking the drug if you suffer from MS. However, because MS can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, it is important that you discuss any health problems that you have experienced before taking Humira because of the potential worsening of the disease. MS is yet another serious side effect or risk factor of Humira, requiring that you and your doctor have a serious discussion of both the risks and benefits of the drug.
Humira injury lawyers
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers represents individuals who have developed complication following the use of Humira. If you have suffered an injury including: demyelination, bone fractures, vision loss or other neurological injury we would honor the opportunity to speak to you concerning your legal options.