Tecfidera, a new first-line oral medication is prescribed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, a disorder that affects your brain and spinal cord. Side effects with Tecfidera may occur and can be mild or severe; temporary or permanent. The starting recommended dose of Tecfidera is 120 mg twice daily by mouth. After seven days dosage may be increased to 240md twice daily. Intake of higher than recommended dosage may prove fatal. Adverse effects associated with Tecfidera include:
Side Effects of Tecfidera
Lymphopenia is a condition in which blood has abnormally low-level lymphocytes; white blood cells that play an important role in immune function. Clinical trials conducted on multiple sclerosis patients reported a low number of lymphocytes in patients treated with Tecfidera medication.
The lymphocyte count was decreased by 30 percent during the first year. Researchers also found out that the lymphocytes increased after discontinuation of Tecfidera. It is important to get your lymphocyte level check before taking Tecfidera for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Abnormally low lymphocytes level may have a severe effect on your immune system.
Flushing is the most common side effect of Tecfidera medication in a patient with multiple sclerosis. In clinical trials, flushing has been reported in 40 percent of the treated patients. The symptoms associated with flushing include a sensation of heat or itching and a red blush on the skin of the face, neck and upper chest.
These adverse effects may disappear after the start of treatment. Flushing symptoms due to Tecfidera are mild to moderate and severity has been observed in less than 1 percent of patients. It is advisable to consult your physician if severe symptoms appear. These mild side effects may be reduced by taking medication along with your daily food.
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
Tecfidera may also cause gastrointestinal side effects in some patients. Gastrointestinal side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and upper abdominal pain. According to clinical trials, the incidences of gastrointestinal events were highest during the first few months of treatment.
People taking Tecfidera may have elevated levels of liver enzymes. Clinical trials showed that this side effect occurred only 6 percent of the treated people.
Serious Adverse Events
Clinical trials on Tecfidera have shown that medication may cause severe adverse events in patients with multiple sclerosis. The serious side effects include gastritis — an inflammation of the stomach lining; and gastroenteritis (an inflammation of the lining of the intestines).
Patients having gastritis may show several signs and symptoms, which include Nausea or recurrent upset stomach, vomiting, abdominal pain, hiccups, Burning or gnawing feeling in the stomach between meals or at night, Loss of appetite, Vomiting blood or coffee ground-like material or Black tarry stools. Contact your health care provider if any of the above symptoms persist.
On the other hand, signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis patients include abdominal pain, dehydration, vomiting, fever, chills, diarrhea, and headache.
Side Effects During Pregnancy
To date, no studies have been conducted for the safety of Tecfidera drug on pregnant women. No studies have shown whether the intake of Tecfidera drugs during the pregnancy will have an adverse effect on the developing fetus. Breastfeeding moms should avoid the use of medication as it may harm your unborn.