Avonex

The below information on Avonex has been taken from official FDA sources, but we cannot guarantee it's accuracy. Please use this site for educational purposes only. This site does not replace a proper discussion with your doctor.


    Brand Name:Avonex
    Generic:Interferon Beta-1A
    Availability:Prescription
This drug was approved by the FDA in one form or another on:
1996-05-17 ,
This drug is made in one form or another by the following companies:
Biogen
This drug is available in the following forms:
Injectables
View the actual FDA approved label for this drug at the following links:
http://www.fda.gov/cder/foi/label/2007/103628s5115lbl.pdf

About Avonex

AVONEX® is a form of a protein called beta interferon that occurs naturally in the body. It is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. It will not cure your MS but may decrease the number of flare-ups of the disease and slow the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS. MS is a life-long disease that affects your nervous system by destroying the protective covering (myelin) that surrounds your nerve fibers. The way AVONEX® works in MS is not known.

Side Effects of Avonex

  • Flu-like Symptoms - Most people who take AVONEXÒ have flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches, and tiredness) early during the course of therapy. Usually, these symptoms last for a day after the injection. You may be able to manage these flu-like symptoms by injecting your AVONEX® dose at bedtime and taking over-the-counter pain and fever reducers. For many people, these symptoms lessen or go away over time. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms continue longer than the first few months of therapy, or if they are difficult to manage.
  • Depression - Some patients taking interferons have become severely depressed and/or anxious. If you feel sad or hopeless you should tell a friend or family member right away and call your doctor immediately. Your doctor or healthcare provider may ask that you stop taking AVONEX®, and/or may January 31, 2003 recommend that you take a medication to treat your depression. (See “What is the most important information I should know about AVONEX®?”)
  • Blood problems - A drop in the levels of white (infection-fighting) blood cells, red blood cells, or a part of your blood that helps to form blood clots (platelets) can happen. If this drop in blood levels is severe, it can lessen your ability to fight infections, make you feel very tired or sluggish, or cause you to bruise or bleed easily. Your doctor may ask you to have periodic blood tests. (See “What is the most important information I should know about AVONEX®?”)
  • Liver problems - Your liver function may be affected. Symptoms of changes in your liver include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes and easy bruising
  • Thyroid problems - Some people taking AVONEX® develop changes in the function of their thyroid. Symptoms of these changes include feeling cold or hot all the time, a change in your weight (gain or loss) without a change in your diet or amount of exercise you get, or feeling emotional.
  • Seizures - Some patients have had seizures while taking AVONEX®, including patients who have never had seizures before. It is not known whether the seizures were related to the effects of their MS, to AVONEX®, or to a combination of both. If you have a seizure while taking AVONEX®, you should call your doctor right away. (See “What is the most important information I should know about AVONEX®?”)
  • Heart problems – While AVONEX® is not known to have any direct effects on the heart, a few patients who did not have a history of heart problems developed heart muscle problems or congestive heart failure after taking AVONEX®. Some of the symptoms of heart problems are swollen ankles, shortness of breath, decreased ability to exercise, fast heartbeat, tightness in chest, increased need to urinate at night, and not being able to lay flat in bed. If you develop these symptoms or any heart problems while taking AVONEX®, you should call your doctor right away. (See “What is the most important information I should know about AVONEX®?”)

Who Should Not Take Avonex

Do not take AVONEX® if you:

  • have had an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, itching, flushing or skin bumps spread widely over the body) to interferon beta or to human albumin

If you have ever had any of the following conditions or serious medical problems, you should tell your doctor before taking AVONEX®:

  • Depression (sinking feeling or sadness), anxiety (feeling uneasy or fearful for no reason), or trouble sleeping
  • Problems with your thyroid gland
  • Blood problems such as bleeding or bruising easily and anemia (low red blood cells) or low white blood cells
  • Seizures (for example, epilepsy)
  • Heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • Are planning to become pregnant

You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription medicines. This includes any vitamin or mineral supplements, or herbal products.

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