Skip to Content

Peginterferon beta-1a

Generic Name: peginterferon beta-1a (peg in ter FEAR on BAY ta - 1A)
Brand Name: Plegridy, Plegridy Pen, Plegridy Pen Starter Pack, Plegridy Starter Pack

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Jul 22, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is peginterferon beta-1a?

Peginterferon beta-1a is used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults who are 18 to 65 years old.

peginterferon beta-1a will not cure MS, it will only decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms.

Peginterferon beta-1a may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Peginterferon beta-1a can harm your liver. Call your doctor if you have symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, confusion, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or yellowing of your skin or eyes.

Some people have thoughts about suicide while using peginterferon beta-1a. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use peginterferon beta-1a if you are allergic to it.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Some people have thoughts about suicide while using peginterferon beta-1a. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

It is not known whether peginterferon beta-1a will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of peginterferon beta-1a on the baby.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

How is peginterferon beta-1a given?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Peginterferon beta-1a is injected under the skin, usually given once every 2 weeks. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Your care provider will show you where on your body to inject peginterferon beta-1a. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

About 2 hours after your injection, check for skin redness, swelling, or pain where you gave the injection. Call your doctor if you have a skin reaction that does not go away within a few days.

Peginterferon beta-1a can cause flu-like symptoms. Your doctor may recommend taking a pain reliever or fever reducer such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) on the days you receive your injections.

You will need frequent medical tests.

Store this medicine in the original container in the refrigerator, protected from light.

About 30 minutes before your injection, take the syringe or pen out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature. Do not warm the medicine under hot water.

You can also store peginterferon beta-1a for a short time at cool room temperature protected from light. Do not leave the medicine out of a refrigerator for longer than a total of 30 days, including all times it has been taken out of and put back into a refrigerator.

Do not freeze peginterferon beta-1a, and throw away the medicine if it has become frozen.

Each prefilled syringe or injection pen is for one use only. Throw it away after one use, even if there is still medicine left inside.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using peginterferon beta-1a?

Avoid injecting peginterferon beta-1a into skin that is red, bruised, irritated, scarred, or infected.

Peginterferon beta-1a side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching, bumps on your skin; feeling anxious or light-headed; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • ongoing pain, swelling, or skin changes where the injection was given;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • unusual changes in mood or behavior (feeling hopeless, anxious, nervous, irritable, or depressed);

  • thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself;

  • a seizure;

  • heart problems--swelling, rapid weight gain, feeling short of breath, rapid heartbeats, chest pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath;

  • liver problems--nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, confusion, easy bruising or bleeding, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes); or

  • thyroid problems--mood swings, trouble sleeping, tiredness, hunger, diarrhea, pounding heartbeats, muscle weakness, sweating, dry skin, thinning hair, menstrual changes, weight changes, puffiness in your face, feeling more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.

Common side effects may include:

  • pain, redness, or swelling where the injection was given; or

  • flu symptoms--headache, fever, chills, tiredness, body aches.

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.

Peginterferon beta-1a dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Multiple Sclerosis:

Day 1: 63 mcg subcutaneously
Day 15: 94 mcg subcutaneously
Day 29 and every 14 days thereafter: 125 mcg subcutaneously

Comments:
-Patient should be advised to rotate injection sites (abdomen, back of the upper arm, and thigh).
-Prefilled pens and syringes are for single dose only and should be discarded after use.
-Prophylactic and concurrent use of analgesics and/or antipyretics and dose titration may prevent or reduce influenza-like symptoms sometimes experienced.

Use: For the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS)

What other drugs will affect peginterferon beta-1a?

Other drugs may affect peginterferon beta-1a, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Related questions

Hide