My daughter was diagnosed with MS last fall at the age of 13. She began treatment with Avonex, and the jury is still out about its effectiveness. My question is about her monthly periods. She had not begun menstruating before or since her diagnosis. Does Avonex play a role in preventing her cycles or even stop them for those patients who have begun menstruating?
Avonex and other interferon treatments are occasionally associated with alterations in menstrual cycles, particularly irregular menses and heavy flow. Primary or secondary ammenorrhea (absence of menses) related to interferon use would be very usual. Steroids and chemotherapies are a far more common cause of ammenorrhea in women with MS. I would suggest discussing this issue with her Primary Care Physician. It may still be early, depending on her overall sexual maturity, but she will eventually be old enough to determine if this is primary or secondary ammenorrhea and the likely cause of this problem. This is the first step in solving this problem.
Revere Kinkel MD
Director of the UCSD Multiple Sclerosis Program