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What is Plegridy used for and is it an immunosuppressant?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 5, 2021.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com
  • Plegridy is used to treat certain types of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in adults.
  • Yes, Plegridy is an immunosuppressant because it affects how the immune system works. It is thought to work by stopping the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath.
  • Plegridy does not cure MS but it helps reduce the symptoms of MS and decrease the number of relapses.

Plegridy is an interferon beta (peginterferon beta-1a) that is indicated for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis in adults who are 18 to 65 years old. This includes clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease.

Plegridy is administered by subcutaneous injection under the skin or by intramuscular (IM) injection every two weeks (14 days).

Plegridy is considered an immunosuppressant because it affects how the immune system works and is thought to work by stopping the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath.

How does Plegridy work?

Interferons are a group of proteins that are produced naturally by the body in response to viral infections.

Experts aren’t sure exactly how Plegridy works for MS but believe it helps control immune system activities, preventing the immune system from attacking the myelin sheath. Plegridy helps to inhibit inflammation that can cause MS flare-ups.

Plegridy may also help slow the progression of physical disability associated with MS and reduce the number of relapses.

What does peginterferon mean?

Peginterferon stands for pegylated interferon. This is a chemically modified form of standard interferon and the difference between interferon and peginterferon is the PEG which stands for polyethylene glycol.

Adding a polyethylene glycol molecule to standard interferon extends its activity allowing it to stay in the body much longer. This means it only needs to be injected once every two weeks, instead of three times a week for standard interferon.

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