MS diagnosis after Anti TNF therapy

Hi there :wave:

I’m new to these forums. I attended a Newly Diagnosed day yesterday put on by the MS society and it’s given me a bit more confidence to seek out some camaraderie from people with a similar experience to mine.

So a bit about my MS journey so far.

I got my official MS diagnosis in March this year (confirmed by multiple MRIs and a lumbar puncture) after an episode of optic neuritis about 9 months before, and a couple of dizzy episodes prior to that, which my GP put down to vertigo. I have to say, so far I’ve been very lucky that my MS symptoms have been mild: dizzy spells, cognitive fatigue (couldn’t find the word to say sometimes if you paid me), whole body fatigue that seems to last for a month at a time and occasional cloudy vision since the optic neuritis.

What I’ve not been so lucky about, is that I already have an autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (diagnosed 6 years ago), and my treatment for the AS is what likely exacerbated or even caused the MS. My neurologist has been very clear to explain that there is no way of knowing whether I would have ended up with MS anyway, we can’t know if it was already underlying. One of the listed “rare and very rare” side effects of the anti tnf drug I was on is demyelination.

Despite logically knowing that this is probably just bad luck, I already have a less than healthy immune system so it makes sense that I would probably eventually end up with another health condition; I can’t help but feel angry and look for blame in this anti tnf therapy. I don’t remember ever being told about the risks of that medication, aside from being more susceptible to infection. But I could have looked into that myself instead of blindly taking it for 6 years. I was just so happy to be mobile and pain free after years and years of arguing with GP’s and really having to advocate for myself to get a health professional to listen to me that something was wrong.

I’m now on a new drug to treat the AS and not currently on any medication for the MS.
I suppose I’m angry that I’ve ended up with MS when I feel that it could have been avoided. I’m angry that I feel the risks of anti tnf therapy weren’t explained to me (although again, I could have researched this myself). And I’m angry that the new AS drug I’m on doesn’t have demyelination as a side effect, so I feel I could have been put on this in the first place and potentially avoided MS altogether.

I will come to terms with all this eventually. I do understand it’s just chance and bad luck. It’s just still too fresh at the moment.

I was wondering if there’s anyone out there with a similar experience?

I’m happy to be a sounding board. It’s good to vent :sweat_smile:

P.s. please see my username for my coping mechanisms :v: