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Avonex Side Effects and Avonex Medication Monograph





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Avonex
Generic Name: Interferon Beta 1a
Pronounced: en-tur-FEE-rahn
Drug Class: Immune System Modifier

IMPORTANT NOTE: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS ONLY INTENDED TO SUPPLEMENT, NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR, THE EXPERTISE AND JUDGMENT OF YOUR PHYSICIAN, PHARMACIST OR OTHER HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL FAMILIAR WITH YOUR CONDITION. THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONStrUED TO STATE OR IMPLY THAT USE OF THE DRUG IS SAFE, APPROPRIATE, OR EFFECTIVE FOR YOUR CONDITION. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL BEFORE USING THIS OR ANY OTHER DRUG.

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Avonex and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
(Interferon Beta 1a and MS)

This injectable medication is used for patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

How Avonex Works to Treat Multiple Schlerosis (Interferon Beta 1a)

This medication helps slow the progression of physical disabilities associated with multiple schlerosis and reduces the number of flare-ups (relapses) for people with MS.

Cells in your immune system normally identify invading cells such as viruses or bacteria. They then mobilise, seek out and then destroy these invaders. These actions is beneficial to you and necessary to help control infections.

However, in diseases like MS, the immune system is not funtioninging entirely properly. Instead of only attacking invading cells, the cells in the immune system also attack and damage nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This is what produces the symptoms of MS.

Avonex is thought to help limit this abnormal response by the cells in the immune system and assist in the control the damage inflicted on the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

Interferon Beta 1a, also called IFN-b, is thought to interact with immune cells to limit their attacks on the nerve cells in the brain.

How To Take Avonex (Interferon Beta 1a)

Inject this medication intramuscularly (IM) once a week on the same day each week.

Possible Avonex Side Effects (Interferon Beta 1a)

The side effects most commonly reported with the use of Avonex were flu-like symptoms and other symptoms. These symptoms occurred within hours to days following an injection. These symptoms might include fatigue, myalgia, fever, headache, chills, nausea, and vomiting.

Some patients have experienced paresthesias, hypertonia and myasthenia.

Depression, suicidal ideation, as well as new or worsening other psychiatric disorders havealso been observed to be increased in patients using interferon compounds. Anaphylaxis (allergic shock) and other allergic reactions have been reported in patients using Avonex. Decreased peripheral blood counts have been reported in patients using this medication. Hepatic injury, including liver failure, hepatitis, and elevated serum liver enzyme levels, has been reported. Seizures, cardiovascular adverse events, and autoimmune disorders also have been reported with this drug.

The most frequently reported side effects resulting in discontinuation of Avonex therapy or the need for medication to treat an adverse reaction symptom were flu-like symptoms and/or depression.

Avonex (Interferon Beta 1a) Warnings and Precautions

Your doctor should conduct routine blood tests to check your liver function before and during treatment.

Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages while taking this medication. Alcohol is metabolized by your liver. This should decrease your chance of liver damage.

Avonex (Interferon Beta 1a) Drug Interactions

The potential for hepatic injury (liver damage) should alwyas be considered when Avonex is given in combination with other drugs associated with hepatic injury, or when new agents are added to the regimen of patients already on Avonex. Some examples of these drugs include statin-type cholesterol drugs, acetaminophen (Tylenol), phenytoin, isoniazid, aspirin, diclofenac and fenofibrate among many others.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose, take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take double doses.

Storage

Avonex in prefilled syringes should be stored in a refrigerator at 2-8°C (36-46°F). Once you remove it from the refrigerator, injection should be allowed to warm to room temperature. This will take about 30 minutes. Do not use an external heat sources like hot water to warm your shot. Should refrigeration storage not be available, Avonex Prefilled Syringe can be stored at ≤ 25°C (77°F) for a period of up to 7 days. Once you remove your injection from the refrigerator, it must not be stored above 25°C (77°F). If the product has been exposed to conditions other than those recommended, discard the product and do not use it. Do not expose to higher temperatures than recommended. Do not freeze this product. Protect from exposure to light. Do not use after the expiration date that is stamped on the syringe.

Pregnancy/Nursing

This medication should not be used during pregnancy. If you suspect that you may be pregnant, talk to your doctor. It is not known whether this medication is excreted in the breast milk. It is advised not to breast-feed while taking this medication.


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