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Avonex (Generic Interferon Beta-1a Intramuscular Injection)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Multiple sclerosis (MS; a condition in which the nerves do not function properly and people may experience weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination, problems with vision, speech, and bladder control) is a disease in which people may experience:

  • Solitary clinical syndrome (CIS; nerve symptom episodes that last at least 24 hours),
  • Relapsing-remitting types (disease progression in which symptoms occasionally flare up), or
  • Progressive secondary forms (course of disease where relapses occur more often).

Immunomodulators are a class of drugs that includes interferon beta-1a. It functions by reducing inflammation and averting nerve damage that could result in multiple sclerosis symptoms.

How should this medicine be used?

In order to be injected, interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection is sold as a powder in vials. Interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection is also available as a solution (liquid) in prefilled automatic injection pens and injectable syringes. Typically administered once per week on the same day of the week, this medicine is injected into a muscle. On the days you inject, administer interferon beta-1a intramuscularly at roughly the same time of day. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the interferon beta-1a instructions exactly. Use it only as directed by your doctor, neither more nor less often.

However, interferon beta-1a does not treat MS; it only manages its symptoms. Interferon beta-1a should still be used even if you feel OK. Without consulting your doctor, do not stop taking interferon beta-1a.

Your doctor’s office will administer your first intramuscular dosage of interferon beta-1a. After that, you can administer intramuscular injections of interferon beta-1a yourself or with the help of a friend or relative. To learn how to inject a medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist to demonstrate it to you or the person doing the injecting. You or the person administering the injections should read the manufacturer’s information for the patient that comes with interferon beta-1a intramuscular before using it for the first time. Observe the instructions precisely.

Make sure you are aware of the sort of container your interferon beta 1b comes in as well as any additional equipment you will require to administer the drug, such as needles or syringes. You will need a syringe and needle to administer your dose of interferon beta 1b intramuscular if it is supplied in vials.

For each injection, always use a fresh, unopened vial, a syringe and needle that have been prefilled, or an automatic injection pen. Never use a new needle, vial, syringe, or automatic injection pen. Dispose of spent syringes, needles, and injection pens in a container that won’t puncture and keep it out of kids’ reach. How to get rid of the puncture-resistant container should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist.

Before using the drug in your automatic injection pen, prefilled syringe, or vial, always check it. If you’re using a vial, the final mixture ought to be clear to slightly yellow. The solution needs to be clear and colourless if you’re using an automatic injection pen or prefilled syringe. If the solution is murky, discoloured, or includes particles or if the expiration date marked on the vial, prefilled syringe, or automatic injection pen has past, do not use that vial, prefilled syringe, or automatic injection pen.

Where on your body you should administer intramuscular interferon beta-1a injections should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist. You can administer intramuscular injections of interferon beta-1a in your upper arms or thighs if you’re using a syringe or prefilled syringe. You can intramuscularly inject interferon beta-1a in the outside of your upper thighs if you’re using a prefilled autoinjection pen. For each injection, choose a different location. Never use the same place twice in a row. Never administer an injection to skin that is inflamed, red, bruised, scarred, diseased, irritated, or otherwise abnormal.

When you start receiving interferon beta-1a treatment and each time your prescription is filled again, your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (medication guide). If you have any questions, carefully read the material and contact your doctor or pharmacist. The interferon beta-1a Medication Guide is also available on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website at

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using interferon beta-1a,

  • If you have any allergies, including to human albumin, natural rubber, latex, or any of the substances in interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection, tell your doctor and pharmacist right once. You should also disclose any other drugs you are taking. For a list of the ingredients, consult the Medication Guide or speak with your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • Inform your doctor if you consume or have ever consumed large amounts of alcohol, if you have or have ever had an autoimmune disease other than MS (a disease in which the body attacks its own cells; consult your doctor if you are unsure if you have this type of disease), blood issues like anaemia (red blood cells that do not bring enough oxygen to all parts of the body), low white blood cells, or easy bruising or bleeding, and mental illnesses like depression, particularly if you have a family history of such
  • If you are breastfeeding a child or intend to become pregnant, let your doctor know. Dial your doctor right away if you get pregnant while taking interferon beta-1a.
  • Inform the surgeon or dentist that you are taking interferon beta-1a if you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Inquire with your doctor about whether drinking alcohol is safe while you are taking interferon beta-1a. You run a higher risk of experiencing severe side effects from interferon beta-1a if you drink alcohol.
  • You should be aware that a day after your injection, you could experience flu-like symptoms such headache, fever, chills, sweating, muscular aches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. To treat these symptoms, your doctor may advise injecting your medication before night and taking an over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer. Over time, these symptoms typically subside or disappear. If you are having trouble controlling these symptoms or they worsen, consult your doctor.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, administer it as soon as you remember. Never administer interferon beta-1a twice in a row. To make up for a missing dose, avoid injecting a second dose. The following week, resume your regular dose routine. If you forget to take a dose and have concerns, call your doctor.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Side effects from interferon beta-1a are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Tensed muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Pain, tingling, burning, or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Aching joints
  • Eye issues
  • Clogged nose
  • Toothache
  • Hair fall
  • Injection site bruising, discomfort, redness, swelling, bleeding, or irritation

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you encounter any of these symptoms, or seek emergency care:

  • Developing or deepening depression
  • Thinking about injuring or killing yourself or planning or trying to do so
  • Being extremely emotional
  • Hallucinating (seeing things or hearing sounds that do not exist) (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • Seizures
  • Loss or increase of weight without cause
  • Experiencing constant cold or heat
  • Breathing difficulties when resting flat in bed
  • Increased nighttime urination needs
  • Difficult or painful urinating
  • Reduced capacity for exercise
  • Stiffness or pain in the chest
  • Rapid or erratic heartbeat
  • Light skin
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Not enough energy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Uncommon bruising or bleeding
  • Stomach’s upper right side, either pain or edoema
  • The skin or eyes turning yellow
  • Brown urine in colour
  • Colored-light bowel motions
  • Cough, sore throat, or other infection-related symptoms
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the lower legs, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, and/or hands
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges
  • Hoarseness
  • Flushing
  • Red, bloody, or diarrheal faeces
  • Abdominal pain
  • Slow or challenging speech
  • Skin rash with purple spots or pinpoints.
  • Urinary incontinence or blood in the pee

There could be further adverse effects from interferon beta-1a. If you experience any strange issues while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Prefilled intramuscular interferon beta-1a syringes, vials, and automatic injection pens should all be kept in the fridge. Interferon beta-1a should not be frozen or subjected to high heat. The intramuscular interferon beta-1a vials can be kept at room temperature, away from heat and light, for up to 30 days if a refrigerator is not available. Use the interferon beta-1a powder within six hours of combining it with sterile water, then keep it in the refrigerated. Prefilled syringes and injectable pens can be kept at room temperature, away from heat and light, for up to 7 days if a refrigerator is not available.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor your body’s response to interferon beta-1a, your doctor will request specific lab tests.

Do not share your medication with anybody else. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Avonex®
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