Brand NameAvonex® or Rebif®
Scientific NameBeta-interferon-1a
What is it?Avonex® and Rebif® are self-injectable medications, both containing the active ingredient, interferon beta-1a, but are clinically different formulations and should not be interchanged. These are also similar to Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) but should not be interchanged. These medications are sometimes referred to as “injectables” or “A, B, C therapy.”
What does it do?These injectables reduce the number of relapses and slow the progression physical disability
How does it work?Interferon beta-1a is a naturally occurring protein that is usually produced in response to certain infections. Its role, though, is thought to be more of a regulatory one, keeping the immune system in check. It alters the way in which certain white blood cells, T-cells, respond to “foreign” materials.
How is Avonex® taken?Avonex® is injected intramuscularly (in the muscle)
How is Rebif® taken?Rebif® is injected subcutaneously (under the skin)
What are the side effects ?Common side effects include :
-Flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches
-Dizziness, headache
-Pain, redness, swelling, and irritation at the injection site
-Depression, mood changes, anxiety
-Liver damage: pain in the upper, right area of your torso, yellow coloring of skin and eyes
-Thyroid changes: feeling hot or cold all of the time or weight change without a change in your diet or activity are common symptoms
-Blood disorders such as anemia or easy bruising or abnormal bleeding