There has been a lot of talk of BG-12 (Tecfidera) for, I don’t even know how long, but a long time. BG-12 is a new oral medication for the treatment of relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (approved by the FDA on March 27th, 2013) and who’s active ingredient (dimethyl fumarate) has been linked to a rare and sometimes fatal brain disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) This active ingredient is used in another medication called Fumaderm which has been used in Germany since 1994 to treat flare ups of psoriasis (a chronic immune disorder effecting the skin). So far 4 patients taking Fumaderm have developed PML.
The MS Hug, as it is called, (though it is not like any hug you
could ever want) is technically a type of neuropathic pain classified as a type
of paresthesia (felt in the chest and/or rib
cage area. Basically you have tiny muscles between each rib
(intercostal muscles) that help hold your rib cage together as you breath in
and out as well as allow your torso to flex and bend; it is believed that a
lesion in the spinal cord causes them to contract/spasm creating the sensation
that your chest is caving in or the sensation that you are wearing a tight
girdle (a girdle is kind of like a corset). This pain is usually felt in the
chest but can reach down to your abdomen and sometimes around your back, but as
always with MS, everyone is a little different. This can last from
minutes, to hours, to days at a time often making it feel painful or difficult
to breathe, even making you feel the need to vomit.