Follow your nose: a potpourri of other side effects

MS treatments may be associated with several other types of side effects. For example, medications can also cause low white blood cell counts, mood disturbances, or changes in liver function tests. As well, some people have experienced unpredictable flushing (a feeling of warmth and/or redness) and chest pains.

Doctors can detect low white blood cell counts using a blood test. White blood cells are important because they help the body fight infection. When the number of white blood cells decreases too much, the body is more at risk from infections. People taking MS medications will need to have regular blood tests.

Many different things can affect the mood of a person with MS. In addition to having a long-term medical condition, a variety of other stressors may come into play as someone learns how to cope with MS. It is not surprising that mood disturbances can appear in people with MS. However, MS medications may also contribute to changes in mood. Having a support network from friends, family, and other people with MS often helps put things in perspective. Speak to your doctor to discuss how best to manage mood disturbances.

People taking MS treatments will also require regular blood tests to monitor signs of liver changes. Liver changes usually appear within the first year of taking MS medications. Blood tests monitoring for liver changes are usually more frequent in the first 6 months. Your doctor may decide to adjust the dose of MS medication based on the results of your blood tests. People taking MS medication should consult their doctor immediately if they notice any sign of unusual yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea or vomiting, itchiness throughout the body, or easy bruising.

MS injectable medication has resulted in a sudden reaction minutes after an injection has been given. This reaction may involve flushing, chest tightness, a racing heart, anxiety, or even difficulty breathing. Some people have had the reaction for approximately 15 minutes, and then have had it resolve without any further problems. It is important that people know that this post-injection reaction can occur, and that they be prepared to get immediate medical attention if it does happen.

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