Generic Name: interferon beta-1a (in ter FEAR on BAY ta)
Brand Names: Avonex, Rebif
What is Rebif?
Rebif (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 purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
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.
Before using Rebif
You should 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.
To make sure Rebif is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
heart disease, chest pain (angina);
a bleeding disorder or history of blood clots;
a thyroid disorder; or
a history of depression or suicidal behavior.
FDA pregnancy category C. Rebif may cause harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
It is not known whether interferon beta-1a passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Some brands of interferon beta-1a contain albumin. Albumin comes from human plasma (part of the blood) which may contain viruses and other infectious agents. Donated plasma is tested and treated to reduce the risk of it containing infectious agents, but there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
How should I use Rebif?
Use Rebif exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Rebif is injected under the skin. It is usually given 3 times per week (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) at the same time on each dosing day. Follow your doctor's instructions.
You may be shown how to use injections 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 comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Use a different place on your body each time you give the Rebif injection. Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject the medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
Use a disposable needle only once, then throw away 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.
Rebif can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. This can make it easier for you to bleed from an injury or get sick from being around others who are ill. Your blood may need to be tested often. Your liver or thyroid function may also need to be tested.
Store Rebif in a refrigerator between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze.
If a refrigerator is not available, Rebif may be stored between 36°F to 77° °F (2°C to 25°C) for up to 30 days and away from heat and light.
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.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
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; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
fever, chills, body aches, chest pain, flu symptoms;
easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
severe pain, swelling, bruising, redness, oozing, or skin changes where the injection was given;
changes in your vision;
depressed mood, anxiety, trouble sleeping, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;
liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
feeling hot or cold, unexplained weight changes; or
- severe skin reaction - fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common Rebif side effects may include:
abnormal liver function tests; or
minor irritation where the injection was given.
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: 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, and not all are listed here:
acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, gout or arthritis medication (including gold injections); an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug)--ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others;
an antibiotic, antifungal medicine, or sulfa drug; tuberculosis medicine; antiviral or HIV/AIDS medication; medicine to treat mental illness; seizure medication--carbamazepine, phenytoin, valproic acid, and others;
birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy; anabolic steroids--methyltestosterone, "performance-enhancing drugs"; cancer medication; or
cholesterol-lowering medication--Crestor, Lipitor, Vytorin, Zocor, and others; heart or blood pressure medication.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Rebif, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
More about Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
Related treatment guides
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 others, and use Rebif only for the indication prescribed.
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