Generic Name: Interferon Beta-1a
(IN-ter-FEER-on BAY-ta)Brand Name:
Avonex Vials 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 Vials 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 Vials if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Avonex Vials
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Avonex Vials:
Some medical conditions may interact with Avonex Vials. 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 Vials. 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 Vials 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 Vials:
Use Avonex Vials as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Avonex Vials comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Avonex Vials refilled.
- Avonex Vials are usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Avonex Vials at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Avonex Vials. 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 Vials if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Use Avonex Vials right away after mixing. It may be used for up to 6 hours after mixing if stored in the refrigerator between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze.
- Avonex Vials 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 Vials, use it as soon as possible and skip your dose the following day. Do not take Avonex Vials on 2 consecutive days. Return to your regular dosing schedule the following week. If you accidentally take Avonex Vials on 2 consecutive days or take 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 Vials.
Important safety information:
- Some patients become depressed or suicidal while taking Avonex Vials. If you begin to feel depressed or suicidal, contact your doctor.
- Avonex Vials may harm your liver. Your risk may be greater if you drink alcohol while you are using Avonex Vials. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while you are using Avonex Vials.
- Avonex Vials 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 Vials.
- Avonex Vials contains albumin, which comes from human blood. There is a very rare risk of getting a viral disease or a central nervous system disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from products with albumin. No cases of these problems have been found in patients who have used Avonex Vials.
- Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, liver function tests, and thyroid function tests, may be performed while you use Avonex Vials. 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 Vials with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- Avonex Vials should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Avonex Vials 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 Vials while you are pregnant. It is not known if Avonex Vials are found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use Avonex Vials, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of Avonex Vials:
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:
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 Vials:
Store Avonex Vials in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. If refrigeration is not available, Avonex Vials can be stored at or below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) for up to 30 days. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep Avonex Vials, as well as needles and syringes, out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Avonex Vials, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Avonex Vials 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 Vials. 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.