What is this medicine?
INTERFERON BETA-1a (in ter FEER on BAY ta wun aye) helps to decrease the number of multiple sclerosis attacks and to slow physical disability in people with relapsing forms of the disease. The medicine does not cure multiple sclerosis.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Avonex, Rebif, Rebif Rebidose
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- drink more than 3 alcohol containing drinks per day
- heart disease or irregular heart beats/rhythm
- immune system problems
- liver disease
- thyroid disease
- an unusual or allergic reaction to interferon, hamster proteins, albumin, mannitol, or other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
Rebif is for injection under the skin. Avonex is for injection into a muscle. You will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
The manufacturer of the medicine offers free information to patients and their health care partners. Call 877-447-3243 for more information about Rebif. Call 1-800-456-2255 for more information about Avonex.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. Do not give 2 injections within 2 days of each other. If you accidentally take a dose on 2 consecutive days, call your doctor or health care professional.
What may interact with this medicine?
- zidovudine, AZT
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Tell your doctor or healthcare professional if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need frequent blood checks.
Flu-like symptoms are common with the medicine. Using this medicine at night may help. Ask your doctor or health care professional about taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen before your dose and for 24 hours after you receive your injection.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- a skin sore with a black-blue color, swelling, or drainage
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- severe stomach pain
- signs and symptoms of infection like fever or chills,cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine
- swelling of the ankles
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusually weak or tired
- yellowing of the eyes or skin
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- menstrual changes
- muscle aches
- pain, redness, or irritation at site where injected
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?
Keep out of the reach of children.
Rebif: Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze. If a refrigerator is not available, the medicine can be kept cool at or below 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) for up to 30 days. Protect from light. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.
Avonex Vials: Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze. If a refrigerator is not available, the vials may be kept at room temperature at or below 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) for up to 30 days. Protect from light. Throw away any unused solution.
Avonex Pre-filled syringes: Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze. If a refrigerator is not available, the pre-filled syringe can be stored at a temperature at or below 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) for up to 7 days. Protect from light.
Avonex Auto-Injector Pens: Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 degrees C (36 and 46 degrees F). Do not freeze. If a refrigerator is not available, the auto-injector pen may be stored at a temperature at or below 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) for up to 7 days. Protect from light.
NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.