Tecfidera is a brand-name medication, which is prescribed for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in its relapsing form.
In fact, Tecfidera is widely-known as a disease-modifying therapy for people with MS. This medication can help reduce the risk of MS relapse by up to 49% over a period of 2 years. It also comes with an additional benefit, i.e. up to 38% reduced risk of worsening physical disability.
Tecfidera comes in two strengths – 120 mg and 240 mg, as a delayed-release oral capsule.
Tecfidera is approved by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
- Tecfidera for multiple sclerosis
The most common use of Tecfidera is for the treatment of MS in the relapsing form, which is a common form of MS.In it, the symptoms may appear or worsen in the future, called relapse, followed by remission, a period of partial or permanent recovery.
- Tecfidera for psoriasis
In order to treat plaque psoriasis, Tecfidera is used off-label. This means that Tecfidera is not approved by FDA for the treatment of psoriasis but MS.
According to clinical studies, about 33% of people who have been takin Tecfidera got their plaque psoriasis completely or almost cleared over a period of 16 weeks. Besides, about 38% of the people had as high as 75% improvement in their plaque severity and the affected areas too.
How To Take Tecfidera?
It is highly recommended to take Tecfidera as per the directions given by your doctor only.
- Suggest timing
The recommended dose of Tecfidera is twice a day. You can take one dose in the morning and another in the evening with your meals.
- Tecfidera with food
It is recommended to take Tecfidera with your food to reduce or flush the side effects if any. You can alternatively take a 325 mg dose of aspirin about 30 minutes prior to your Tecfidera dose.
- Tecfidera in crushed form
You should not open Tecfidera and sprinkle on your food. It is recommended to swallow Tecfidera as a whole.
How Tecfidera Works?
As Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune medical condition or disease, your immune system that fights diseases mistakenly considers healthy cells in your body as enemy cells and therefore attacks them. This condition, sometimes, causes chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation along with MS can cause nerve damage, which includes demyelination that can lead to multiple MS symptoms. Similar damage can also be caused by Oxidative Stress (OS), which is nothing but an imbalance of certain molecules in your body.
Tecfidera can help in the treatment of MS by making the body produce a protein called Nrf2. This protein is supposed to help the body manage its molecular balance, which is also helpful in reducing the damage caused by inflammation and OS altogether.
Tecfidera also has the ability to a few of the functions of the immune system in your body, which reduces inflammation to a great extent. As a result, your body may keep certain immune cells from getting activated, thereby helping reduce the symptoms of MS.
How Efficient Is Tecfidera?
Tecfidera is highly efficient and starts working in your body right away after you take its dose. However, it may take multiple weeks for it to reach its full effects.
Also, you may not see or experience any improvements in your symptoms as such, as it is intended to prevent relapses of MS.
Tecfidera Interactions In Your Body
Tecfidera may or may not interact with other medications that you take along with it. The following is a list of all medications that may interact with Tecfidera. However, this list may not be comprehensive.
- Ocrelizumab or Ocrevus
If you take Tecfidera along with Ocrelizumab, the combination can increase your risk of immunosuppression leading to infections, especially when your immune system is weakened.
There is not known Tecfidera and Ibuprofen interaction as of now.
There is not known Tecfidera and Aspirin interaction as of now since Aspirin is to be taken at least 30 minutes before the dose of Tecfidera.
Tecfidera can cause some serious side effects if taken too much unless recommended to you. The following are some common symptoms of an overdose of Tecfidera:
- Upset stomach
In case you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms, which makes you think you might have had an overdose of Tecfidera, you must seek immediate medical help.
It is recommended not to take Tecfidera unless prescribed otherwise due to any existing medical condition you may have.Tecfidera may not be recommended to you, in case you have certain existing medical conditions, such as:
- Liver disease
Tecfidera may damage your liver. Therefore, if you already have a damaged liver, it may cause a worse condition.
- Immune system suppression
In case you already have your immune system suppressed, taking Tecfidera could worsen your condition and might lead to some serious infections.
- Blood test after the first week
Medications often start with a lower dosage and dose is often increased after a few weeks. This is in order to let your body adjust to the lower dosage of medication.
You should start with a 120 mg dosage twice a day, typically for the initial 7 days. From the second week onwards, you can increase the dosage to 240 mg twice a day. After that, you can stay on this dosage.
In case you have side effects of Tecfidera, your doctor may want to lower your dosage once again.
No matter how efficient Tecfidera is, it can lead to some serious side effects too, especially if not taken as directed by the doctor. In order for you to gain all its positive impacts, make sure to follow the directions as given by your doctor and never overdose it.
In case you notice any of the symptoms of its side effects, make sure to seek immediate medical help. This will help you as well as your doctor manage your health in a better way.