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How does Avonex work for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on May 8, 2024.

Official answer

  • Although experts are not exactly sure how Avonex works in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), it is thought to help decrease inflammation that can cause MS flare-ups by helping to control immune system activities.
  • Avonex is a brand of interferon beta-1a. Interferons are cytokines, which are proteins that cells use to communicate with each other to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system.
  • Interferons also “interfere” with viral replication by protecting cells from viral infections.

Interferon beta-1a, the active ingredient in Avonex, is an 186 amino acid glycoprotein. There are several different types of interferons produced by the body to fight viral infections and other foreign invaders.

Although the interferon in Avonex is man-made, it contains all of the same basic components as the interferon beta-1a that occurs naturally in the human body. Interferons help control immune system activities.

Avonex helps to inhibit inflammation that can cause MS flare-ups.

Avonex may help slow the progression of physical disability associated with Multiple sclerosis (MS) in people with MRI results that contain features consistent with MS lesions.

What is Avonex?

Avonex is a brand of interferon beta-1a that may be used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults, such as clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.

How is Avonex given?

Avonex is administered by injection directly into the muscle (intramuscular) and comes in several forms:

  • A powdered form which requires reconstitution
  • Single-use prefilled syringe (30 micrograms)
  • Autoinjector, single-use (30 micrograms)
  • Avostart Grip titration kit to use with prefilled syringes.

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