Strategies for Managing Progressive Multiple Sclerosis During COVID-19 - Episode 5
Richard shares his experience receiving his infusion therapy for treatment of multiple sclerosis.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: Richard, I hate to be nosy, but are you on any therapy? If so, what therapy are you on?
Richard: I am. I’m on Ocrevus, and that’s an infusion we get twice a year. I go to the infusion center for the Ocrevus.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: Do you have any adverse effects or anxiety related to the therapy, such as the day before a treatment?
Richard: That’s a great question. For me, it’s really not about the Ocrevus. It was the Solu-Medrol that you get before the Ocrevus. I just had a problem with the Solu-Medrol prior to the Ocrevus infusion. Dr Picone has worked with me to where I’ve eliminated the premedication of the steroid for the Ocrevus. That was my only concern. Other than maybe being a little tired for a day or 2, it doesn’t have a great effect on me in terms of any issues.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: Do you find the experience in an infusion center semi-rewarding? In other words, you have a bunch of nurses around. I’ve been to that center, and it is a very comfortable setting. Do you get to meet other patients while you’re getting your infusion and get to see some of the staff?
Richard: I don’t usually interact with the other patients, especially this year. They keep us very sequestered. But the staff are such amazing people. You get to know Matthew, the nurse. All these people are just amazing. You do get to know them a little on a personal level. My wife comes with me for the infusion, and we almost make a day of it. We pack a lunch. We try to make it as positive as it can be. If I have to be hooked up to an IV [intravenous] for 4 or 5 hours, we’ll try to make it as best as we can.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: When I worked at the center, I always thought that the infusion also gave the nurses a chance to educate patients, because normally you’re in and out. I know Dr Picone always likes to stop by and visit. She would come by, say hello, and ask if there were any questions. But once you go home, are you OK? Do you get any adverse effects from the Ocrevus?
Richard: Usually just a day or 2 of rest; that’s about it. I don’t really have any major adverse effects from it.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: And you have still been going in, even with the pandemic?
Richard: I go in for the infusions. I also had an MRI at a hospital during the pandemic with no issues. The hospital, Holy Name Medical Center, has been very safe. The nurse meets you at the door and takes your temperature before you go in for an infusion, so you feel very safe and secure there. It has been no problem having infusions at the hospital.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: Holy Name was, as D. Picone said earlier, the center of the whole pandemic at the beginning, in Teaneck, New Jersey. I think they’re nearing 50,000 vaccinations.
Mary Ann Picone, MD: Yes.
June Halper, MSN, MSCN: It’s very exciting.
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Transcript Edited for Clarity