Plasma Exchange

I’ve just been reading about Plasma Exchange. The blood cells & plasma are separated as MS patients plasma contains unusually high levels of antibodies & proinflammatory factors.

All through my MS life I been offered steroids to reduce the time that a relapse might take to finish, each time I’ve had absolutely no benefit from them. I’ve tried intravenous twice & oral three times & injection once, but they’ve never helped, I know lots of people do get relief from them & always felt disappointed that I didn’t. I’ve now found out that Plasma Exchange can be used if somebody isn’t helped by steroids!

I no longer have relapses, just a gradual worsening of my symptoms, so PE would be of no help to me now…but I wish that I’d known, & maybe been offered, PE all those years ago.

What does everyone think about it? Am I the only one that didn’t know?

Rosina x

l know that Guillain-Barre syndrome is treated with plasma exchange. l met a couple of people with this - and l thought they had MS - it presents very similar. ln fact l do wonder if many of us have been checked out for this. A firm diagnosis of MS - seems to take much longer now - leaving people in limbo for several years.

lf l was knew to this - then l would like to have tried having a plasma exchange - it is for RRMS. So perhaps works better for newbies.

never heard of it but it is interesting.

i am rrms (by the skin of my teeth) but will have to ponder this a while before asking for it.

carole x

I had plasma exchange last year for a severe relapse that had left me unable to walk, unable to pass any urine and a painful and useless left arm. I cannot have steroid treatment anymore as I have become dangerously allergic to it.

I was admitted to my regional hospital (70 miles from home) to have plasma exchange as my local hospital does not carry out the treatment. I was in hospital for two weeks in total. The plasma exchange itself took place over five days and before I could start the treatment I had to have a central line inserted into the large vein near my neck. The treatment itself involved my blood taken out through the central line into a machine that separated out my plasma, replaced it with donor plasma and then returned it back to me. This was repeated over five days after which I started to show some recovery from my relapse symptoms.

As you can see, the treatment is a lot more complicated compared to steroid treatment and I found it quite an endurance test. It is also a lot more expensive compared to steroid treatment. I hope I don’t need to have the treatment again - I have just started gilenya as I was relapsing too often on both rebif and copaxone.