« Back

MS DMT Choices


Thursday March 15 2018 11:00 AM

Where do you get your MS treatment information? This week in her first blog as part of the renewed MS and Me writing team, Joan Jordan tackles medication, DMTs, clinical trials and decision-making. Read on for a clear description of how Joan made her DMT decisions….

I was a bit late to board the DMT (Disease Modifying Therapy) train. Although I had experienced symptoms of MS since my early twenties, I did not actually get diagnosed until I was 36. About six months later, I signed up for a clinical trial. For a few years, I was not actually sure which medication/DMT I was on because it was a double-blinded trial. This means that neither I nor my doctor knew which of the two drugs I was taking was the placebo (dummy) and which one was active. I found the whole process of participating in a clinical trial fascinating and it inspired me to want to learn more about how medications are developed and monitored.

While I was on the clinical trial, I experienced severe side effects. I felt like I was losing a day a week to “flu-like” symptoms. Can you imagine having the flu for one seventh of your life? That’s ten years of feeling dreadful if I reached the average life expectancy! I began to weigh up the advantages of taking medication for my MS at all. How did I know it was working? Were the “flu-like” symptoms worth not having relapses? I also felt terribly guilty about not being able to do my daily tasks like caring for my children or not being productive at work when I was experiencing the dreaded “flu-like” symptoms.

I don’t regret taking part in the clinical trial. I feel it gave me a bit of time to get over the shock of my MS diagnosis and to get a clear picture of what treatment options were available to me. I also felt that I was contributing, in my own way, towards the process of getting new medication on the market for people living with MS. I learned what a Disease Modifying Therapy meant. DMTs are NOT a cure for MS but could reduce how many relapses I had and their severity. DMTs can also slow down the damage caused by relapsing MS that builds up over time.

Because I did not respond well to the first DMT I took, I was then moved onto a second line therapy. I had to have a ‘wash-out’ period where the old medication left my system. During this time, I had my first major relapse. I guess I had the answer to the question about the “flu-like” symptoms being worth it.

Choosing my next DMT was difficult and I would encourage anyone considering starting or changing, to do their homework and investigate which one would suit you and your lifestyle best. Don’t let yourself be rushed into a decision. At the end of the day it’s your health you are deciding about. How long would you take to choose a new car?

I have much less side effects on the second DMT I tried. I know it’s working because I have no evidence of disease activity in my annual MRI. I make sure to read my patient information leaflet and get my bloods checked regularly to monitor how my liver is functioning. When considering a DMT it is vital to get your facts from a trusted source and make an informed decision with your neurologist.

Author: Joan Jordan

Tags: ms, dmt, choices, neurologist



Thursday March 15 2018 13:21

Well said Joan. Great advice. Get informed


Thursday March 15 2018 23:35

Great article Joan.


Friday March 23 2018 16:26

I still find it incredibly brave Joan that you entered a clinical trial so soon after your diagnosis and that you still think it was worth it! Kudos, sister!


Tuesday April 10 2018 18:02

Hi Joan, I completely agree with Willeke. That was incredibly brave. And a really interesting read. I hope you are keeping well now?

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published and will only be used by MS Ireland to contact you should there be an issue with your comment.

Please read our policy on making comments. Basically, respect other people’s view, use appropriate language and be nice! Comments are published between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

We ask this question to ensure that you are a real person, and not a computer adding information automatically.

By commenting, you are adhering to our Terms of use / Privacy

Latest News

More news

What's hot


Kiss Goodbye to MS...

is a campaign about hope, that together we can raise funds to accelerate Irish and global research into MS and continue to provide services to over 9000 people living with MS In Ireland. Join the campaign NOW!

Find out more

Events Calendar

» Our next Event

25 May 2019: Physio led exercise classes for people with MS, starts 12th January (ongoing) please contact Una Goan.

View all events


If you'd like to receive e-news updates from The Society please enter your email address below. If you want to know more about how we manage personal data then please see our privacy policy.

My local MSI

Map of MS Ireland's service areas South Mid West West Midlands South East North East North West North Dublin City and Fingal South West Dublin and Kildare South East Dublin and Wicklow