Multiple Sclerosis Community
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1149087 tn?1415320149

DMDs and depression?

Hello to all of you, this is my first post on this forum- I have lurked around for a bit and posted once in the "limboland"-group-- but unfortunately it appears i most probably have ms (neuro said he thought it was about 80% likely i do and suggested i think about starting medication).
my question now is if anyone here has any experience or knowledge regarding people with longstanding recurrent major depression who need to take a disease modifying medication? i'm 34 years old and have suffered from recurrent major depressive episodes since i was 23. my neuro said he didn't know anything about dmds and their interaction with depression- he suggested i ask a psychiatrist, but it will still take a lot of time until i can see one- and then i don't know if this specific psychiatrist will necessarily know anything about this.
so i would be really grateful for any advice or experience and of course many many thanks in advanc to anyone who is going to reply. xxfriederike
9 Responses
Avatar universal
Welcome to our forum. We're glad you joined us. We have quite a few Aussies here.

Sorry to put it this way, but your neuro sounds plain lazy. It would be easy for him to find out this information, and in any event he should already have known the answer.

There are 4 DMDs that you might be prescribed, known as the CRAB drugs. These are Copaxone, Rebif, Avonex and Betaseron. The latter 3 are drugs of the type known as interferons, and interferons can cause depression in some (not most) patients. These 3 differ from one another in the manner and timing of injections, also in their strength, but their method of activity in the body is basically the same.

Copaxone is the different one, and has not been associated with depression, so you may want to consider this as your leading candidate. I suggest you look them all up on the web and read for yourself what the side effects are, just to become more informed overall.

You may not know that depression can be a primary symptom of MS, because of lesions located in mood-oriented centers in the brain. Thus it's possible (I certainly can't know this for sure) that your depression has been a manifestation of MS all these years. Depression in MS can also be secondary, arising out of changes to our bodies and our lives, poor sleep, etc., but what I'm referring to now is primary depression. You may want to read up on that in terms of MS as well.

I do hope your neuro isn't calling himself an MS specialist. I'm sure that in a big city like Melbourne there are doctors who really do know about MS.

Please stay with us and we'll do our best to help.


Avatar universal
Here is our Health Pages write-up on depression:


In general, the Health Pages are very useful to newcomers. See upper right of screen, yellow icon.

667078 tn?1316004535
I have suffered from severe depression my whole life. My MS Specialist said that excluded the interferons in my case since they can have depression as a side effect. I am on Copaxone it does not have depression as a side effect,

I was very depressed at the time of my diagnosis. I chose to go back to weekly counseling as well. I found a therapist who specializes in chronic illness. I could not afford therapy but I could not afford a hospitalization more. Last year I was so bad my Psychiatrist and PCP thought shock treatments were my only option. I was not eager for such a radical step but I was pretty bad. Then I started getting better.

Depression can be caused by the brain in MS patients. It can be an MS attack. I believe this was true in my case because I have been on the Copaxone almost a year and my depression is better than it has ever been. With my Psychiatrist I have cut my psychiatric drugs down in the last month. I am doing better than I have in years.


Avatar universal
I have had depression for many years, as well as anxiety & panic attacks.  Over the years, I tried, Paxil, Klonopin, Cymbalta, Lexapro -- all were duds for me.  "Talk" therapy did help.

I was diagnosed with MS in July 2009, started Rebif in Sept 2009.

I was worried about the possibility of depression with Rebif, but so far, I have had none.

If you decide that Rebif might be your best option, I suggest you try it -- and also suggest that you stay on the "middle" dose (half the full dose of 44mcg) of 22mcg for several months before going up to the full 44mcg dose.  I am still on 22mcg, and plan to stay there as long as I'm doing well.

I have had no side efx on the Rebif, other than an occasional mild "morning after" headache, & red spots (without pain or itching) at injection sites.

Best of luck as you make hard decisions -- just remember that if one DMD doesn't work for you, there are several you can try.
1149087 tn?1415320149
Thanks heaps to all of you for your fast replies, of course happy if anyone else who has had experience with this wants to write something as well. Msmsinfl: thank you for your info- but i may have worded my question not clear enough- i have already researched all possible medications and my neuro did tell me what you said, he just wants me to make a specific plan with my neuro regarding depression, so i wanted to ask if anyone has more in-depth experience with this, sorry, i can see that my question was really misleading! HVAC, i'm so sorry you have to go through this, i'm glad that at least the shock treatments worked for you!! hope you won't have to go through such a hard time with depression anymore!!
myself, i have been on antidepressants for most of the last 10 years and fortunately they work really well for me, i've had therapy for quite a long time, too and seeing a psychologist sometimes now, but not very often- but the antidepressant (now venlafaxine) works, i did get depressed again last year, but once i upped the dosage another 150 mg, it was totally gone in 10 days, taking 450 mg/day now.
thank you so much to both of you for your replies, i really appreciate it!!!
by the way, i'm not a "real" aussie, i'm actually german but living here with my aussie husband :)
take care both of you, friederike
667078 tn?1316004535
Guten Tag Friederike,
  I did not have to have the shock treatments. My depression turned around. I think it was the Copaxone that changed what was happening in my brain causing the depression to be worse. Depression was actually a MS attack.

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