User Reviews for Avonex to treat Multiple Sclerosis
Avonex has an average rating of 7.2 out of 10 from a total of 39 ratings for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. 67% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 23% reported a negative experience.
“I was on it for 18 months. It was like taking a shot of the flu every week. The side effects never got better. After massive amounts of research, I finally went to supplements, healthy eating, mindfulness, taking toxins out of my daily life, exercise and of course prayer. I still live with my MS symptoms, but, I will work out at the gym, I will ride my bike 100 miles this week and continue working productively. Don't ever give up!”
“Avonex has been a God send to me. I was diagnosed in 95 after experiencing several bad attacks one of which required hospitalization. Started Avonex in June 96 one month after it came to market. Got some side effects early on (mainly fatigue) but they soon went away. I no longer have any side effects, don't even premedicate. The injections are little more than a minor inconvenience . More importantly I have remained stable with no attacks. I did experience some fatigue when starting to use the the prefilled syringe. I quickly went back to original powdered form and remain on it to this day. I probably could have adjusted to the prefilled syringe but choose not do do so. I expect to continue with the Avonex injections unless it stops working, I develop bad side effects, or a cure is found. All unlikely scenarios at this point. I expect to be on it for life.”
“I was initially terrified about the injections, but from my first onwards they have proved to be no trial at all. The delivery method is amazing. I never thought I'd say this, but I even look forward to them, knowing that I'm doing something to help myself. I now truly believe that Avonex is helping. My symptoms have lessened since starting it only three months ago. I hope things continue this way and also hope everyone out there with Multiple Sclerosis finds a similarly effective treatment.”
“I have been taking Avonex for close to 16 years and my biggest fear in the world is losing access to it. I started on Betaseron but had to stop because of injection site reactions and severe flu symptoms. I had been through everything. Complete invalidity, lying in a hospital bed to basically healthy with no noticeable symptoms at all. But since being on the Avonex, I have only very minor exacerbations , less than one per year. In the last 10+ years, I have not missed any work or cancelled any vacations for MS issues. My only problem is the cost.”
“I have been on Avonex for about 5 years and have had no relapses. Have had Multiple Sclerosis for 14 years. Great to have 1 injection a week rather than 3 with Rebif, which I was on before or Copaxone everyday. The only drawback is the headache & tiredness felt the day after. These symptoms have not improved at all for 5 years. Starting having spasm attacks at night recently so might change to another medicine. Very effective medicine though, never had any relapses and that's the most important thing!”
“I have been using it for 7 years and have not had an episode since. I have a very mild case, but my diagnosis was more than 15 years ago, so I was concerned about the secondary progressive symptoms of MS...none to report to date. I have found with the flu like side effects that if I take the shot about 2 hours before bed and sleep for 6 hours without interruption, then I do not suffer from any side effects. The side effects are not as severe as in the beginning, they are just aching joints that are irritating, not "painful"”
“I have been an MS patient since I was 17, I am 29 now, I have been using Avonex for 10 years now and am so happy with the results. I take it before I go to bed at night on a weekend, I also take a couple of Tylenol with codeine (#1) and usually only have a slight headache when I wake up in the morning. I do get a lot of migraines, but who knows if that has anything to do with the medication or the fact that I have Multiple Sclerosis. Avonex has worked wonders for me, I usually only have an MS attack on average every 3 to 4 years and they aren't usually that severe. I have relapsing and remitting MS. I would recommend Avonex to anyone who is newly diagnosed. It has changed my life.”
Frequently asked questions
- How does Avonex work for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
- How and where do you inject Rebif?
- How long can Avonex be unrefrigerated?
- What is Rebif used for and how does it work?
“I recommend Avonex 100%. I have had MS 8 yrs and since have had no new lesions or episodes. The flu-like symptoms were bad for the first 3 or 4 years but have since basically disappeared. Occasionally, I will have headaches the morning after the shot. Hope this helps you in your decision to choose Avonex.”
“I started Avonex about 6 months after diagnosis. I got terribly sick after injecting. It was like coming down with the flu once a week. I felt feverish and painfully achy. I took naproxen and that helped. Later on I asked my neurologist for Vicodin to help out with the achy pain. Together the medicines helped the side effects. I never miss a week and as I injected more and more, the side effects have lessened to the point that with Vicodin I can work well on my injection days. I cannot sleep thru the night on an injection. I sleep poorly and wake up in pain several times. I have not had a relapse in five years on Avonex though my balance and leg have slowly worsened somewhat. I still work my feet full time.”
“I am sorry to hear of those of you for whom Avonex hasn't worked. Either I am in a minority or just lucky with how it has helped me, I have been on Avonex for almost nine years and he first month was a challenge....shivers and aches shortly after my injections. Ever since, however, it has only been a minor inconvenience. I take two Advil an hour before my shot and only experience what I call a bit of a "funk" 24 hours later, other than that, it is a breeze, thank goodness! My biggest challenge was the 1-1/ 4 inch needles so I changed to 1 inch. Much less daunting! I have never missed a shot in almost nine years and don't plan to miss one going forward. Best to all of us MSer's!”
“I HAVE FOUND THE INPUT YOU GUYS HAVE GIVEN TO BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL! I was diagnosed Dec of 2012. I have been on this medicine for about 10 months. I have had symptoms for years before seeing a neurologist. Aside from the side effects that everyone has mentioned, I have been doing great! Now 24, I am in the free medication program, which is a blessing! Hopefully it works as well for me as it had for all of you that has shared. Stay strong in your journey!”
“I had my first shot yesterday at 15:00 and had body pain and shivers at 19:00, but no side effects at all this morning. I've been diagnosed in 2007 and dreaded interferon side effects and now, to my great surprise none whatsoever! In South Africa Avonex give great support, they have Avonex MS nurses who assist with the first 3 shots so no worries on the injection either. Overall I am elated this morning!”
“I have been taking Avonex for over ten years now. I always take it at room temperature, one hour before bed and on Saturday nights so I can relax the next day. I only had flu like symptoms when I first started taking it or if I missed a couple weeks. I take two Motrin when going to bed and never have any issues sleeping. I have had MS for over 20 years now and have found Avonex to work best for me. I have one or two pseudo exacerbations each year but have had no major flares for years now, knocking on wood...”
“I have been on Avenox for about 2 years now and had no relapses. When I started the medication I had horrible side effects. I almost changed the medication, but thank god it got better with time. What I like about Avenox is that it is only once a week, because I'm afraid of needles.”
“I have been using Avonex for 7 1/2 years. I can't help but believe that it is why I'm still up and walking. The injection is only once a week (huge benefit) and the side effects are manageable with Arthritis Strength Tylenol.”
“I just started this medication. With each injection the side effects have gotten worse. I did my 3rd dose last night & I'm miserable. The body/muscle aches, headaches etc. are about unbearable. Each time I took two 500 mg Tylenol before my injection as recommended by my training nurse. I was told about the flu like symptoms, read the booklet my Neuro gave me, but I thought the symptoms would subside at least halfway through the next day. I am so pained. I keep taking Tylenol & even my muscle relaxer hoping for relief. But Nothing seems to help. I called into Biogen after my 2nd dose. No help. Copaxone gave me bad brain fog & injection site reactions. Tecfidera kept me in the bathroom in unbelievable pain. Not sure what to do now.”
“I have been on avonex since August 2017 had flu like symptoms after injecting but went away after 24 hours now 7 months later feeling anxious , sleepless nights dizzy spells , weakness and unstable when walking. Anyone else had this experience I am not sure if it's medicine related or not but can't help thinking it is . Thinking about changing my meds but don't think I could inject more than once a week ....”
“I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 6 years ago. I had/have mild symptoms. I began taking Avonex immediately and have had no significant change in symptoms. I take 1 Aleve an hour before my injection. I chose the last night of my work week so I can't dread "the day." I rotate my injection-left thigh, left hip, right hip, right thigh. I think this will help avoid irritation, though I've never had a problem anyway. My husband gives me my shot so I don't have to look at the needle. I also cough because someone told me you can't tense other muscles during a cough. I relax, and he injects the needle on my second cough. Many times I don't feel a thing. When I do it's minimal. Hip shots are the easiest. I always make sure the Avonex is at room temperature.”
“I took Avonez for 3 1/2 years. I experienced the flu-like reaction about 70% of the time. I fell frequently and was extremely depressed. I did the injections in late afternoon (Friday) and was down for 24 -48 hours. My recent MRI showed more MS activity. I am now trying a different medication.”
“I’m a former Critical Care RN was diagnosed with MS officially in 1994 but the Neurologist’s think it started in 1986. After many years of not taking any medication instead of high dose steroids for an occasional fare up I started Avonex. Have been on this drug for about 6 years, with a premeditation of 2 extra strength Tylenol 1 hour before. I have really had no problems at all, the biggest difficulty was the pen used for injections I did not have enough strength needed so I had the medication sent in a regular syringe and that works fine. The biggest bonus is the fabulous sleep that I get the night of injection and the overall good feeling the morning after.”
“I've only been on Avonex for 2 weeks, but I have not experienced any of the bad side effects that others have mentioned. Had just a slight headache the first time, and nothing today. I do take 2 ibuprofen twice on injection day, along with an Aleve and perhaps 2 liters of water. Despite my initial fears, the injection is painless.”
“I am an RN working on my master's degree. I used to be an Avonex nurse. The biggest issue I found regarding the flu-like symptoms is that people forget to hydrate well the day of and sometimes the day before the injection. Or, they were ill some days before the injection (vomiting or diarrhea maybe from a stomach bug), or, they ran a marathon a few days before. Always consult your physician on hydration but unless you have fluid restrictions for medical reasons, you should be drinking 8 glasses of water a day (usually 64 ounces a day), or more if you exercise and are active regularly. You must stay hydrated with MS especially if you will be out in the sun to prevent the "flare" symptoms. (There are some blog sites for MS patients that swear by eating pineapple before the injection too - something about the enzymes in pineapple that helps combat side effects, and many patients reported this to me as well.)”
“I was responsible for my insurance deductible, but the insurance covered the rest. This once a week medication is very convenient, and I would recommend it. After the first few injections I had the chills and flu like symptoms, and the symptoms decreased as time went on. After the initial few issues, I injected weekly without symptoms. ”
“I have used Avonex for about a month now, to treat my MS. I have a mild case, and symptoms are not too severe. I appreciate the once-a-week injection (hate needles) but am feeling the side effects. I use the Tylenol PM when I take the injections and that does seem to help. We take the injections on Thursday, and I am able to work from home on Fridays. I am very tired, but usually better by Saturday. I definitely recommend this based on the once-a-week injection vs the daily or every-other day injection of the other choices for MS. Good Luck.”
“My doctor like so many others I'm reading, left it up to me to decide which drug to try first. I have systemic health issues, MS is just one of them on the list. I tried the Avonex pen Monday 12/5/16, and the side effects sent me to the ER yesterday. 5 days of misery. I'm having trouble urinating, complete body muscle pain when I move, dizzy, and non stop random chills sweats. Its intolerable. Here's what you need to know that the drug companies and doctors aren't telling us. There's no drug to counteract the side effects from this drug and it will be in your system for 30days. To hear this from the ER doctor sent me over the edge. I would've NEVER tried this drug had I'd known this. Not to mention the non stop calls from Bio wallgreens.”
This information is not intended to endorse any particular medication. While these reviews may be helpful, they are not a substitute for the expertise, knowledge, and judgement of healthcare professionals.
Learn more about Multiple Sclerosis
Symptoms and treatments
Medicine.com guides (external)
More about Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- En español
- Drug class: interferons