AVONEX (Interferon Beta-1a)
AVONEX (Interferon Beta-1a)
What is this medication?
Interferon Beta-1A, Rebif/Avonex
Indicated for treatment of relapsing multiple sclerosis.
How does this medication work?
Interferon beta differs from naturally occurring human protein by a single amino acid substitution and the lack of carbohydrate side chains which alters the expression and response to surface antigens and can enhance immune cell activities. Properties of interferon beta that modify biologic responses are mediated by cell surface receptor interactions; mechanism in the treatment of MS is unknown.
How should I take this medication?
IM (Avonex): 30 mcg once weekly; to decrease flu-like symptoms, may initiate once-weekly dosing with 7.5 mcg (week 1) then increase dose in increments of 7.5 mcg once weekly (weeks 2 to 4) up to recommended dose (30 mcg once weekly).
SubQ (Rebif): Target dose is either 22 or 44 mcg 3 times weekly; doses should be separated by at least 48 hours:
How to Take: The first injection should be administered under the supervision of a health care professional.
Avonex: Administer IM and rotate injection site. Do not inject into area where skin is irritated, red, bruised, scarred, or infected. Two hours after injection, examine site for redness, swelling, or tenderness. Discard any unused portion.
Rebif: Administer subcutaneously at the same time of day on the same 3 days each week (eg, Mon, Wed, Fri), preferably in the late afternoon or evening; doses should be at least 48 hours apart; rotate injection site; do not inject into area where skin is irritated, red, bruised, or scarred. Discard any unused portion.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting Interferon Beta-1A, Rebif/Avonex make sure your physician is aware of any allergies and medications you currently take, if you have cardiovascular disease, liver disease, a seizure disorder, or thyroid dysfunction. Interferon Beta-1A, Rebif/Avonex use has been associated with rare but serious adverse events such as hypersensitivity reaction, autoimmune disorder, bone marrow suppression, flu like symptoms, hepatic effects, injection site reaction, neuropsychiatric disorder, and thrombotic microangiopathy.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, give it as soon as you can. Go back to your regular schedule the following week. Do not use this medicine 2 days in a row.
How should I store this medication?
Keep out of the reach of children. Store in the refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Keep in the original carton to protect it from light.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Headache, fatigue, depression, pain, chills, dizziness, nausea , abdominal pain, urinary tract infection, leukopenia, lymphadenopathy, increased liver enzymes, antibody development, injection site reaction, myalgia, back pain, weakness, skeletal pain, rigors, visual disturbances, flu like symptoms, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infection, fever
Note this is not a complete list of side effects for Interferon Beta-1A, Rebif/Avonex, only common ones.