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Relapsing MS Patients' Experiences with Glatiramer Acetate Treatment: A Phenomenological Study

Miller, Colleen E.; Jezewski, Mary Ann
Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: February 2006
Article: PDF Only

Abstract:

This study examined the experiences of a group of patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis who received glatiramer acetate for the treatment of their illness. Heideggerian phenomenologic research methods drove the data analysis process with the Atlas® Qualitative Data Analysis software program. The sample was a diverse group of 20 men and women 39-64 years of age who had been diagnosed with MS 1-21 years and taking glatiramer acetate 1-7 years. Several participants had been on other treatments; they related their reasons for choosing this treatment and how they manage to persist with taking the daily injections. The themes included choosing glatiramer acetate, self-managing care, injecting, healthy lifestyle, side effects, support, and participant advice to others. Patients with relapsing MS experience a complex process of adjustment when they are diagnosed with the disease and come to the decision to start aggressively treating the illness. They view glatiramer acetate as an integral part of the formula to maintain control over their bodies and manage the disease. Taking the glatiramer acetate injection every day becomes easier as time goes on. They reported that side effects were minimal and manageable.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Colleen E. Miller, DNS RN NP, at 716/859-7506 or cmiller@thejni.org. She is an adjunct professor at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY; a clinical instructor at the State University of New York School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; a nurse practitioner at Jacobs Neurological Institute; and a nurse practitioner and coordinator of the Pediatric MS Center at the William C. Baird MS Research Center.

Mary Ann Jezewski, PhD RN FAAN, is an associate professor and Associate Dean for Research, School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, NY.

© 2006 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses