1 What is Tysabri?

Brand: Tysabri

Generic: Natalizumab

Tysabri injection is a prescription medicine used in treating patients with multiple sclerosis relapses and haven’t improved using other medicines.

It is not a cure for multiple sclerosis; what it may do is to delay physical disability and prolong the duration between relapses.

This drug is also used in treating moderate to severe Crohn’s disease in patients who have tried other medicines but to no avail. This drug is administered only under the direct supervision of a doctor.

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2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Tysabri, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. The risks and benefits the medicine offer must be weighed.

For this medicine, you and your doctor must consider the following:

Allergies: If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.

Pediatric: The safety and efficacy of use in children have not been established.

Geriatric: No specific information is provided about the use of this medicine in the elderly. It is not determined if the medicine works exactly the same way as it does in younger adults.

Pregnancy: Animal studies show that using this drug may cause an adverse effect to the fetus. No adequate studies in pregnant women have been done.

Breastfeeding: Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.

Drug Interactions: Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary.

Before using natalizumab, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications. It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness.

Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, as well as vitamin and herbal supplement. If you just had rotavirus vaccine, using triamcinolone is not recommended.

Other Medical Problems: The use of this medicine generally depends on your present physical condition, as well as your medical history. If you have other medical conditions, such as liver disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, weakened immune system (AIDS, HIV, lymphoma, leukemia, or you are an organ transplant recipient), using this medicine is usually not recommended.

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Tysabri requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. This medicine is administered only by a nurse or trained healthcare practitioner. Tysabri is injected in one of the veins.

Before you start receiving this drug, you have to enroll in TOUCHB, a prescribing program for patients getting this drug. Following the program’s instructions is vital.

In addition, you may have to check your brain through an MRI scan prior to receiving this medicine. If you have other questions, ask your doctor, before using this drug.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Tysabri, there are some precautions you must take. Regular checkups are important to check your progress; in this case, it would be 3 months and 6 months after the first dose and every 6 months thereafter.

Inform your doctor if you are presently taking certain drugs, such as azathioprine (ImuranВ®), interferon beta (RebifВ®, AvonexВ®, BetaseronВ®), cyclosporine (NeoralВ®, GengrafВ®, SandimmuneВ®), methotrexate (TrexallВ®, RheumatrexВ®), or 6-mercaptopurine (PurinetholВ®). Do not give natalizumab together with any of these medicines.

Using this drug increases your risk for serious infections, including PML or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. If you have any of its symptoms (blurred vision, back pain, confusion, difficulty with walking or other movements, convulsions, dizziness, fever, headache, drowsiness, unusual tiredness or weakness, or problems with vision or speaking), check with your doctor immediately.

The use of this medicine may also cause IRIS or immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, a rare condition characterized by redness, feeling of heat, or swelling of the skin, or stinging, mild burning, or tingling of the skin. If you feel any of these symptoms, go to your doctor as soon as possible.

Moreover, using this drug may also increase your risk for meningitis and encephalitis, as well as liver problems. Anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction is also possible.

5 Potential Side Effects

Make sure you meet with your doctor in using Tysabri to avoid unwanted potential side effects.

Side effects may include:

  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty with swallowing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling or puffiness of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • Itching, hives, or skin rash
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness

While most of these side effects usually diminish as the body adjusts to the drug, calling your doctor may be needed. Some patients may experience side effects not listed above. If you want to report side effects, you may do so by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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