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Ann sits resting against a rough concrete wall next to a shop mannequin's torso

Making changes to my medication

Ann the poet

I didn't realise how blurry my vision was until I could see clearly again. I feel more in tune with my body and even though it's become more obese and clumsy, it's so much better than it was last year. Also most of the time my legs work OK, as long as I don't overdo it. I have so much to be thankful for.

Prompts for change

I've been feeling relatively well recently so I decided to reduce my painkillers (with help from my GP). The information that comes with the drugs lists some side effects that are the same as symptoms of MS. Blurry vision, problems with balance and coordination, and so on.

When my problems with MS began I was having a relapse every fortnight and the sensory pain was unbearable. To help with this I took a combination of medicines that were prescribed to me for pain relief. I definitely needed them back then and I don't regret taking them at all. On the rare occasion when I forgot to take them I was unable to do anything the next day as I felt so unwell.

My condition has been fairly stable for a while though, so it felt time to make a change. I've reduced my daily dose of pain relief by half.

The right treatments at the right time

I've also been on MS disease modifying therapy (DMT) Tysabri for a while now, having infusions every four weeks. I'm on infusion 41 next time.

I've been eating healthier and trying to be as active as possible (walking around the green near where I live, going on the exercise bike at the gym and swimming).

I think this and working part time has contributed to me feeling better. It took me a while to get to the point where my lifestyle was healthier and I still have a way to go. But I didn't want to stay on the maximum dose of pain relief medication, so the timing felt right.

There's always hope

I've felt so much better since reducing my pain relief medication. I seem to have improved balance and coordination. I can also taste food better. I'm keen to see if I can reduce the dose even further but I'll wait a few weeks before trying that. I'm glad I didn't just stick to what I was doing because it seemed to be working.

I think there is always hope and it's always worth making a small change as it can make a lot of difference. It's important to always consult with your GP, neurologist or MS nurse before making changes to your medication.

Ann is a TV addict and writer with relapsing remitting MS. She hosts a pub quiz and a spoken word night called Verbalise. She has a border collie called Barbara. Visit her website.

Your treatment choices

  • If you have a relapsing form of MS, there are 11 different DMTs available on the NHS. Take a look at the options available.
  • Finding treatments for progressive MS is our number one research priority
  • Read about treatments that can help you manage your symptoms