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Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes

Generic Name: interferon beta-1a (IN-ter-FEER-on BAY-ta)
Brand Name: Avonex

Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are used for:

Treating relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in certain patients to reduce the number of flare-ups and to slow down the development of physical disability associated with MS.

Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are a protein identical to one found in the body. Exactly how it works is not known. It is thought to interfere with certain substances in the body that cause flare-ups of MS.

Do NOT use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes or to another interferon beta medicine

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes:

Some medical conditions may interact with interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances (eg, latex or rubber)
  • if you have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, severe rash, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness) to any other interferon medicine (eg, interferon alfa)
  • if you have a history of liver problems or abnormal liver function tests, an autoimmune disease (eg, psoriasis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), bleeding problems, blood clots, thyroid problems, low blood cell counts (eg, red or white blood cells, platelets), heart problems (eg, heart failure), or seizures
  • if you have a history of mental or mood problems (eg, depression), suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or alcohol abuse or dependence
  • if you drink alcohol

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Telbivudine because the risk of its side effects may be increased by interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes
  • Medicines that may harm the liver (eg, acetaminophen, methotrexate, ketoconazole, isoniazid, certain medicines for HIV infection) because the risk of liver side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the liver

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes:

Use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes refilled.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes also comes with an additional patient leaflet with detailed instructions for use. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the pen or syringe is cracked or damaged.
  • Remove interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before you use a dose. Do not use external heat sources (eg, hot water) to warm interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are for injection into a muscle. Use the proper technique taught to you by your doctor.
  • Do not inject interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes into an area where the skin is irritated, reddened, bruised, infected, or scarred.
  • Be sure to rotate your injection site with each injection to avoid an injection-site reaction.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes, use it as soon as possible and skip your dose the following day. Do not take interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes on 2 consecutive days. Return to your regular dosing schedule the following week. If you accidentally take interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes on 2 consecutive days or use more than your prescribed dose, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes.

Important safety information:

  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not change your dose of interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes or use more often than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Mental or mood problems (eg, depression) and suicidal thoughts or behaviors have been reported in patients taking interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Contact your doctor right away if you experience new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, aggression, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, irritability, nervousness) or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes may cause an injection-site reaction, such as redness, swelling, or tenderness. Check your injection site 2 hours after you use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. If you have a skin reaction and it does not go away in a few days, contact your doctor or nurse.
  • Severe liver problems, including cases of liver failure and death, have been reported rarely in patients taking interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Your risk of liver problems may be greater if you drink alcohol while you are using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes commonly causes flu-like symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a nonprescription medicine for pain or fever reduction before or after taking interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are not a cure for MS. Remain under the care of your doctor.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, liver function tests, and thyroid function tests, may be performed while you use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, tiredness, mild fever or chills, muscle aches, weakness); joint pain; mild stomach pain; nausea; pain, redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; mouth sores; blistered or peeling skin); change in vision; chest, jaw, or arm pain; confusion; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, aggression, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, irritability, nervousness); seizures; severe or persistent dizziness or light-headedness; severe or persistent pain, redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site; shortness of breath; sudden unexplained weight gain; suicidal thoughts or behaviors; swelling of the hands, ankles, legs, or feet; symptoms of infection (eg, fever; chills; persistent sore throat; painful, burning, or increased urination; bloody diarrhea; coughing up mucus); symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine; loss of appetite; pale stools; severe stomach pain; unusual nausea, drowsiness, or tiredness; yellowing of the eyes or skin); symptoms of thyroid problems (eg, trouble concentrating, feeling cold or hot all the time, weight changes, skin changes); unusual bruising or bleeding; unusual tiredness or weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes:

Store interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. If refrigeration is not available, interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes can be stored at or below 77 degrees F (26 degrees C) for up to 7 days. Protect from light. If interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes has been stored improperly, discard the product and do not use it. Keep interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes, as well as needles and syringes, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes are to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using interferon beta-1a pens, prefilled syringes.

Review Date: November 3, 2016

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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