Rebif Side Effects
Generic name: interferon beta-1a
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Dec 20, 2022.
Note: This document contains side effect information about interferon beta-1a. Some dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Rebif.
Common side effects of Rebif include: flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, myalgia, nausea, and chills. Other side effects include: anemia. Continue reading for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.
Applies to interferon beta-1a: kit, solution.
Serious side effects of Rebif
Along with its needed effects, interferon beta-1a (the active ingredient contained in Rebif) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking interferon beta-1a:
- Black, tarry stools
- chest pain
- flu-like symptoms
- joint pain
- muscle aches
- painful or difficult urination
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- swollen glands
- trouble breathing
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- Clumsiness or unsteadiness
- decreased hearing
- difficulty with swallowing
- feeling of warmth
- hives or itching
- mood changes, especially with thoughts of suicide
- muscle spasms
- pain or discharge from the vagina
- pelvic discomfort, aching, or heaviness
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- redness, swelling, or tenderness at the injection site
- runny or stuffy nose
- skin lesions
- sore throat
- speech problems
- stomach pain
- swelling of the face, lips, or eyelids
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- loss of appetite
- painful blisters on trunk of the body
- painful cold sores or blisters on the lips, nose, eyes, or genitals
Incidence not known
- Bleeding gums
- blue-green to black skin discoloration
- blood in the urine or stools
- bloody nose
- chest discomfort or tightness
- dark urine
- decreased urine output
- depressed mood
- dilated neck veins
- dry skin and hair
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- feeling cold
- general tiredness and weakness
- hair loss
- heavier menstrual periods
- high fever
- irregular breathing
- light-colored stools
- loss of bladder control
- mental depression
- mood or other mental changes
- muscle cramps and stiffness
- nausea or vomiting
- pain, redness, or sloughing of skin at the place of injection
- pale skin
- persistent loss of appetite
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids, or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- redness, blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- sensitivity to heat
- skin rash
- slowed heartbeat
- sudden loss of consciousness
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- swelling of the mouth or throat
- throat tightness
- upper right stomach pain or tenderness
- weight gain or loss
- yellow eyes and skin
Other side effects of Rebif
Some side effects of interferon beta-1a may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- sour stomach
- Hair loss
- trouble sleeping
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to interferon beta-1a: intramuscular kit, intramuscular powder for injection, subcutaneous kit, subcutaneous solution.
Common (1% to 10%): Neutrophil count decreased, hematocrit decreased, blood potassium increased, blood urea nitrogen increased
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Platelet count decreased
Rare (Less than 0.1%): Thrombotic microangiopathy including thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome,
Very common (10% or more): Nausea (27%), diarrhea (17%), constipation (12%), vomiting (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain, toothache
Very common (10% or more): Skin rashes (25%), increased sweating
Common (1% to 10%): Contusion, pruritus, erythematous rash, maculopapular rash, night sweats
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Calcified subcutaneous nodules, psoriasis, periungual and nail alterations
Frequency not reported: Rash vesicular[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, palpitations, arrhythmia, tachycardia, vasodilatation, chest pain, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) (sometimes reported up to several years after starting treatment)[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Urinary tract infection (19%), cystitis (11%)
Very common (10% or more): Alanine aminotransferase increased (26%), aspartate aminotransferase increased (16%)
Common (1% to 10%): Gamma-glutamyl-transferase increased
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Hepatitis (with or without icterus)
Rare (Less than 0.1%): Hepatic failure, autoimmune hepatitis
Rare (Less than 0.1%): Anaphylactic reactions
Frequency not reported: Other allergic reactions[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Influenza-like symptoms (49%)
Very common (10% or more): Injection site erythema (62%), injection site pain (15%), injection site pruritus (13%), injection site bruising
Common (1% to 10%): Injection site edema, injection site warmth, injection site hematoma, injection site rash
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Injection site infections (which could be severe)
Rare (Less than 0.1%): Injection site cellulitis (which could be severe)
Frequency not reported: Injection site abscess, injection site reaction, injection site inflammation, injection site necrosis, injection site bleeding[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Myalgia (19%), back pain (20%), pain in extremity (19%), arthralgia (16%), muscular weakness (12%), muscle spasms (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Muscle spasticity, muscle cramp, neck pain, arthralgia, muscle stiffness, musculoskeletal stiffness
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Drug induced lupus erythematosus
Very common (10% or more): Headache (67%), dizziness (16%), paresthesia (12%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hypoesthesia
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Facial hypoesthesia
Frequency not reported: Weight decreased, weight increased[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Eye pain
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Retinal vascular disorders (i.e. retinopathy, cotton wool spots, obstruction of retinal artery or vein)
Frequency not reported: Eye disorder, abnormal vision, xerophthalmia[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Pyrexia (45%), asthenia (24%), pain (23%), fever (20%), chills (19%)
Common (1% to 10%): Depression/suicidal ideation, insomnia, somnolence
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Anxiety
Frequency not reported: Suicide attempt, suicide, psychosis, anxiety, confusion, emotional lability, anhedonia, psychotic thoughts, mood disturbances, hypersexuality, aggressive behavior, panic attacks[Ref]
Very common (10% or more): Oropharyngeal pain (28%), nasopharyngitis (24%), upper respiratory tract infection (21%), cough (16%), sinusitis (14%)
Common (1% to 10%): Rhinorrhea, bronchitis
Rare (0.01% to 0.1%): Dyspnea
Frequency not reported: Pulmonary arterial hypertension[Ref]
Rare (Less than 0.1%): Nephrotic syndrome, glomerulosclerosis[Ref]
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?
- How do you use the Avonex pen injector?
- Does Rebif suppress the immune system?
More about Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Pricing & coupons
- Reviews (29)
- Dosage information
- Patient tips
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: interferons
- En español
Related treatment guides
1. Product Information. Avonex (interferon beta-1a). Biogen. 2001.
2. Product Information. Rebif (interferon beta-1a). Serono Laboratories Inc. 2002.
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. UK Summary of Product Characteristics.
4. Cerner Multum, Inc. Australian Product Information.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.