Avonex Prefilled Syringes

Generic Name: Interferon Beta-1a (IN-ter-FEER-on BAY-ta)Brand Name: Avonex

Avonex Prefilled Syringes are used for:

Treating relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS) to reduce the number of flare-ups and to slow down the development of physical disability associated with MS.

Avonex Prefilled Syringes are a protein identical to one found in the body. Exactly how it works is not known. It is thought to interfere with other chemicals in the body that cause flare-ups of MS.

Do NOT use Avonex Prefilled Syringes if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Avonex Prefilled Syringes

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Avonex Prefilled Syringes:

Some medical conditions may interact with Avonex Prefilled Syringes. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of liver problems or high liver enzyme levels, blood problems (eg, anemia), thyroid problems, bone marrow depression, heart disease, seizures, alcohol abuse or dependence, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Avonex Prefilled Syringes. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Medicines that may harm the liver (eg, acetaminophen, methotrexate, ketoconazole, isoniazid, certain medicines for HIV infection) because the risk of side effects on the liver may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the liver

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Avonex Prefilled Syringes may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Avonex Prefilled Syringes:

Use Avonex Prefilled Syringes as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Avonex Prefilled Syringes refilled.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes are usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Avonex Prefilled Syringes at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Avonex Prefilled Syringes. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not use Avonex Prefilled Syringes if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Remove Avonex Prefilled Syringes from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before you use a dose. Do not use external heat sources (eg, hot water) to warm Avonex Prefilled Syringes.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes are for injection into a muscle. Use the proper technique taught to you by your doctor.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Avonex Prefilled Syringes, use it as soon as possible and skip your dose the following day. Do not take Avonex Prefilled Syringes on 2 consecutive days. Return to your regular dosing schedule the following week. If you accidentally take Avonex Prefilled Syringes on 2 consecutive days or use more than your prescribed dose, contact your doctor right away.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Avonex Prefilled Syringes.

Important safety information:

  • Some patients become depressed or suicidal while taking Avonex Prefilled Syringes. If you begin to feel depressed or suicidal, contact your doctor.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes may harm your liver. Your risk may be greater if you drink alcohol while you are using Avonex Prefilled Syringes. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are using Avonex Prefilled Syringes.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes commonly causes flu-like symptoms. Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a nonprescription medicine for pain or fever reduction before or after taking Avonex Prefilled Syringes.
  • Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, liver function tests, and thyroid function tests, may be performed while you use Avonex Prefilled Syringes. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use Avonex Prefilled Syringes with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Avonex Prefilled Syringes may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Avonex Prefilled Syringes while you are pregnant. It is not known if Avonex Prefilled Syringes are found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Avonex Prefilled Syringes, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of Avonex Prefilled Syringes:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Drowsiness; flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, tiredness, fever, chills, back pain, muscle aches, weakness); pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site; stomach pain.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); change in vision; chest pain; dark urine; depression; easy bruising or bleeding; extreme tiredness or weakness; fast or irregular heartbeat; feeling cold or hot all the time; increased urination at night; infection at the injection site; seizures; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or behaviors; swollen ankles; unexplained change in weight; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org), or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of Avonex Prefilled Syringes:

Store Avonex Prefilled Syringes in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. If refrigeration is not available, Avonex Prefilled Syringes can be stored at or below 77 degrees F (26 degrees C) for up to 7 days. Protect from light. Keep Avonex Prefilled Syringes, as well as needles and syringes, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Avonex Prefilled Syringes, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Avonex Prefilled Syringes are to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Avonex Prefilled Syringes. If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

  • Avonex Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Avonex Consumer Overview
  • Avonex Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Interferon Beta-1a Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Rebif Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Rebif Consumer Overview