Generic Name: interferon beta-1a (in ter FEAR on BAY ta)
Brand Names: Avonex, Avonex Prefilled Syringe, Rebif
What is Rebif?
Rebif (interferon beta-1a) is a protein identical to one found in the body. Interferon beta-1a is made from human proteins. Interferons help the body fight viral infections.
Rebif is used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). This medication will not cure MS, it will only decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms.
Rebif may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Rebif
Rebif may be harmful to an unborn baby, or may cause a miscarriage. Do not use interferon beta-1a if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.
Before using Rebif, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have liver disease, a thyroid disorder, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, heart disease, chest pain (angina), congestive heart failure, a heart rhythm disorder, or a history of depression or suicidal behavior.
Some patients using interferon medications have become very depressed or had thoughts of suicide. Stop using Rebif if you have symptoms of depression (sadness, crying, loss of interest in things you once liked) or if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
To be sure Rebif is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Your liver or thyroid function may also need to be tested. Visit your doctor regularly.
Before using Rebif
Do not use Rebif if you are allergic to interferons or human albumin. Some patients using interferon medications have become very depressed or had thoughts of suicide. Stop using Rebif if you have symptoms of depression (sadness, crying, loss of interest in things you once liked) or if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use Rebif:
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
heart disease, chest pain (angina), congestive heart failure, or a heart rhythm disorder;
a thyroid disorder; or
a history of depression or suicidal behavior.
FDA pregnancy category C. Rebif may be harmful to an unborn baby, or may cause a miscarriage. Do not use Rebif if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether interferon beta-1a passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use Rebif without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
See also: Rebif pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
Rebif is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Rebif.
How should I use Rebif?
Rebif is available in ready-to-use, pre-measured, pre-filled syringes and requires no needle assembly. Rebif is given as an injection under the skin or into a muscle. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine at home.
Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Rebif is injected into a muscle of the thigh, the outer surface of your upper arm, your stomach or buttocks. Do not use the area near your navel or waistline. Use a different site each time you inject (thigh, hip, stomach or upper arm). Do not inject Rebif into an area of your body where the skin is irritated, reddened, bruised, infected or abnormal in any way. This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Use each syringe only one time. Throw away used syringes in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
To be sure Rebif is not causing harmful effects, your blood and liver function will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your thyroid function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Rebif should be stored refrigerated between 2-8?C (36-46?F). DO NOT FREEZE. If a refrigerator is not available, Rebif may be stored at or below 25?C/77?F for up to 30 days and away from heat and light. You may take the prefilled syringe out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature before giving the injection. Do not heat the medicine before using.
Throw away any Rebif that has become frozen or has been exposed to light or high heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of this medication. Your injections should be at least 48 hours apart. Do not use Rebif injections 2 days in a row.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Rebif?
Avoid drinking alcohol. It may increase your risk of liver damage.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Rebif side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Rebif: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
depressed mood, anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, or thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
easy bruising or bleeding, weakness;
numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;
pain or burning when you urinate;
pain, swelling, or skin changes where the injection was given;
fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Less serious Rebif side effects may include:
stomach pain; or
runny or stuffy nose.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Rebif side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Rebif?
Rebif can harm your liver. This effect is increased when you also use other medicines harmful to the liver. Many other drugs (including some over-the-counter medicines) can be harmful to the liver, such as:
birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy;
methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
arthritis medications such as auranofin (Ridaura);
cholesterol medications such atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and others;
an ACE inhibitor such as benazepril (Lotensin), captopril (Capoten), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), and others;
an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), indomethacin (Indocin), and others; or
seizure medications such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), or valproic acid (Depakene).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Rebif. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More Rebif resources
- Rebif Prescribing Information (FDA)
- Rebif Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
- Rebif MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- Interferon Beta-1a Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
- Avonex pens, prefilled syringes MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
- Avonex Prescribing Information (FDA)
Compare Rebif with other medications
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Rebif.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with other, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2013 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01. Revision Date: 04/05/2010 1:06:01 PM.