throat problems? betaferon?

hi everyone, i’ve had throat problems off and on down the years and the problems i’m having at the moment have been going on for months. my throat feels irritated, my vocal range lessened (voice is a little rough), appear to be very sensitive to the likes of pepper and i have the urge to cough quite regularly.

i have ms and i think my symptoms appear to have gotten worse at around the same time i started betaferon, which i started recently, and have also goten more/more prevelant ulcers in my mouth since then (i’d get them off and on beforehand), but i’m wondering if relatively mild sore-throat symptoms are a symptom of ms, and does that indeed get worse on betaferon (avonex)?

the dr once again, relatively recently, told me there is nothing there but it is worse now. my body could be lying to me with messed up nerve signals of course! i hope what I’m saying makes sense in this context. i was diagnosed recently with rrms and i can understand some symptoms can be much worse for some people, but any information on this would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

Hi Richard,

I’m not on DMDs, but have been having similar problems. People keep asking whether I have a cold - which I haven’t (to my knowledge).

I’ve always been a bit prone to allergies etc, so I’m not 100% sure it’s anything to do with MS. But it does seem to be getting worse. I know it’s not wise to self-diagnose, but I think there’s a possible problem with acid reflux irritating my oesophagus. This is a possible consequence of MS, as the little valve (sphincter) that is supposed to seal off the stomach juices may not close properly, allowing acid to leak back up into the throat.

I’ve definitely been more troubled by gastric problems in the three years since diagnosis. I thought at first it was due to the many painkillers I was on - some of which are well-known for causing gastric problems. However, since having unexpected success with a prescription for quinine, several months ago, I’ve been able to reduce my painkillers almost to zero. I expected a corresponding reduction in the gastric problems, but it hasn’t happened, leading me to think it’s fundamentally connected with MS, and not due to anything I’m taking.

I’ve found I cannot even take things like peppermint tea (supposedly helpful for settling the stomach), because they produce an immediate burning sensation.

I get through loads of gaviscon, and also oraldene (for mouth/throat infections), because my throat always looks a bit sore, and feels claggy. I don’t really think there is an infection, but I’ve tried treating it as if there was, just in case. Be careful, though, as the alcohol in mouthwashes can itself irritate the throat, if you use them too much.


Hi Richard your post really hit a nerve with me (excuse the unintended pun!) As I have never connected my throat problems with MS. I too have problems with certain foods irritating my throat, wine being one of them unfortunately! Also when tired my voice becomes a growl & people ask if I have a cold. I am having a break at the moment from Rebif as the neuro seems to think I have passed into the Secondary stage MS so will let you know if it improves without Beta Inteferon. I find Gaviscon really helpful with acid whether bubbling in stomach or reflux, as Tina has also suggested. Judy

Hi Tina, thanks for getting back. That’s interesting because I used to have terrible problems with indigestion for years but some years ago (before my diagnosis) I eventually was put on a course of medication and have not had heartburn (or indigestion?) pains since. I used to take loads of Gaviscon but while it worked, it was whatever the Dr put me on that seemed to work more definitively.

Allergy does remain a possibility but the allergies/intolerances I knew I had, peanut and egg, seem to have faded almose completely and I can eat egg with no reaction at all. If I eat peanut I might feel a bit warm and tingly but that’s a far cry from what was. So, I don’t think I’ve ever had hayfever or anything like that. I seem to be a bit backwards from you!

Inflammation of the Vagal nerve is possible but I don’t know a lot about that. My own coughing and sputtering could then be the reason behind any feeling of irritation, while my throat remains clear to the eye, as I feel I want to “cough out” something. Thanks for the heads-up on peppermint tea because I went into a coughing fit last night after trying to eat something peppery, and even get irritated briefly cough if I smell something peppery or raw spices. R.

Judy, thanks for the reply. This is so encouraging, I can’t tell you. I took bicarb soda sometimes after the gym to try and get rid of acid build up in my muscles but it’ll also help with stomach acid. I’ve actually stopped taking inteferon last week or two. It was only a weekly injection but I just did not agree with it so now I’m playing by ear. I do like a bit of Bordeaux (sounding half ‘mature’ myself here) but I must say I cherish sobirety so much these days since sometimes I can feel drunk without any alcohol (I’ve said things…). Can’t beat it on occasion for me though.

I think I might have to find another treatment for myself (maybe it has to do with white blood cells?). Please do let me know how you get on, and I’ll see how I change as well and let you know :slight_smile: R.

UPDATE: I hear from a pretty good source (the mother) that pepper is indeed ‘bad for the nerves’.

And I’ve always taken a lot of it, like salt n’ vinagar!

I’ve just read Tina’s post with much interest as I used to suffer from an irritation in my throat almost constantly and people often used ask me if I was suffering from a cold too. I always seemed to be clearing my throat and I had linked it to my allergies (asthma and perennial rhinitis).

Whilst I was reading this thread, I realised that I haven’t suffered from it for the last couple of years and that coincides with my GP prescribing lansoprazole a gastro resistant tablet. I was prescribed it as I had taken painkillers (ibuprofen) daily since diagnosis for at least a year and my stomach was no longer tolerating them. Consequently I was suffering from acid reflux and heartburn throughout the day and I had to seek help as I felt it best to let my GP know about the problem.

I think Tina has hit the nail on the head. I’m sure it is more than coincidence that my throat problems have almost completely cleared up since I have been on lansoprazole. I used to cough and splutter just by breathing in anything strong smelling (even someone else’s perfume), choke on my own saliva etc. I often used to wake in the morning feeling very nauseous and if I was physically sick it was actually just yellow bile.

I wonder if any GPs recognise that a throat problem could be caused by acid reflux?

Tracey x

Hi Tracey, that sounds very much like that could be your problem. Actually I think it must be more common for people with MS than has been fully realised. For myself though, I don’t get any symptoms of indigestion so I’m not sure what could be causing my problems but I’ll definitely give this a mention to the GP. Glad your problems have so greatly improved.

Hi Richard - I didn’t get any symptoms of indigestion prior to the eating too many painkillers, just the morning sickness (without the pregnancy :wink: ). I can’t say that I ever noticed any heartburn or pain prior to that, I just used to get the throat irritation.

Tracey x

When I take meltit painkillers I can’t let them dissolve in my mouth without coughing, but I don’t really take a lot of painkillers tbh. It is only throat irritation I have right now, no “male morning-sickness” or anything like that for me (or pregnancy). I definitely will be careful with pk’s though. Maybe my throat got damaged in the distant past when I DID get heartburn though, and recent Betaferon and more MS symptoms have exacerbated it… maybe… R.

Ha maybe maybe, word oft used. Let’s face it we can attribute almost anything or not to the MS, there is still so much to be learned about this ever challenging disease! I think you can only rely on your gut instinct Richard, I and luckily my GP, rely on my instinct quite a lot & rarely find it lets me down!! I’m having slightly better day today so I’m veering towards the fatigue being a result of my exceptionally busy holiday rather than the Rebif. Sunbed & cocktails for me next year methinks :wink: ( as long as the throat holds up eh?!)

Judy let’s hope it does. I’m still a bit rough but not sore. I think, maybe maybe, there is hidden infection or something. I coughed something out the other day and it wasn’t food. I think I just need to use mouthwash and not just brush, and use one that’s kinda throat-friendly. I don’t know if, because of MS, I’m more prone but my tonsils are big yet not apparently infected. If it was my biggest problem though I’d be a lot happier!