AVONEX (interferon beta-1a) Also called Rebif
What is it: It is an Immunological Agent
Use: Interferon beta-1a is used to treat the relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). This medicine will not cure MS, but it may slow some disabling effects and decrease the number of relapses of the disease.
Interferon beta-1a is also used to treat genital warts.
Serious Side Effects: Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur: More common: heartburn; black, tarry stools; chest pain; chills; cough; diarrhea; fever; flu-like symptoms including headache, joint pain, muscle aches, and nausea; pain; painful or difficult urination; shortness of breath; sores, ulcers, or white spots on lips or in mouth; swollen glands; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness. Less common: abdominal pain; chest pain; clumsiness or unsteadiness; convulsions (seizures); coughing; decreased hearing; difficulty in swallowing; dizziness; fainting; flushing; hives or itching; mood changes, especially with thoughts of suicide; muscle spasms; pain or discharge from the vagina; pelvic discomfort, aching, or heaviness; redness, swelling, or tenderness at place of injection; runny or stuffy nose; skin lesions; sneezing; sore throat; speech problems; swelling of face, lips, or eyelids; troubled breathing; wheezing
Precautions: It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects. Check with your doctor right away if you experience dark urine, persistent loss of appetite, yellow eyes or skin, influenza (flu)-like symptoms, right upper quadrant tenderness, headache, stomach pain, continuing vomiting, general feeling of tiredness or weakness, or light-colored stools. These could be symptoms of serious liver problems.
You should avoid alcohol while you are taking this medicine. It can cause serious liver problems.
This medicine commonly causes a flu-like reaction, with aching muscles, chills, fever, headache, joint, and nausea. Your doctor may ask you to take acetaminophen to help control these effects. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully about how much and when to take acetaminophen.
Directions: The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so. The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
Storage: Pre prefilled syringes or vials of interferon beta-1a in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. If refrigeration is not available, the vials that have not been mixed with diluent may be kept for up to 30 days at room temperature, as long as the temperature does not go above 77 °F.
If You Miss a Dose: Take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. The next injection should be scheduled at least 48 hours later. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose. Do not double a dose. This can be toxic. Keep out of reach of children and pets