This medication is used to treat multiple sclerosis. Interferon is not a cure for multiple sclerosis, but it may help to decrease the number of attacks of weakness and slow the worsening of the disease.
This medication is the same as a protein that your body naturally produces (interferon). In the body, it is thought to work by affecting the body's natural defenses (immune system) in many ways. Adding more interferon may help your body fight the effects of multiple sclerosis.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using this medication and each time you get a refill. Learn all preparation and usage instructions given by the manufacturer. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist.
If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Inject this medication under the skin, usually every other day or as directed by your doctor. This medication is best used in the evening before bedtime to reduce side effects. Do not shake the vial. Doing so may decrease the effectiveness of the drug.
It is important to change the location of the injection site with each dose to avoid problem areas under the skin. Therefore, choose a different injection site with each dose. The abdomen, thighs, upper arms, and buttocks are recommended sites for the injection. Do not inject into skin that is irritated, sore, or infected.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Do not change the dose or how often you use this medication without your doctor's approval. Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time each evening that you have a scheduled dose.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.
Injection site reactions (pain/swelling/redness), abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, and nausea may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Most patients have flu-like symptoms such as headache, tiredness, fever, chills, and muscle aches when they first start this medication. These symptoms usually last about 1 day after the injection and improve or go away after a few months of continued use. You can reduce these side effects by injecting this medicine at bedtime and using fever reducers/pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen before each dose. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (e.g., new or worsening depression, thoughts of suicide, psychosis), feeling too hot or cold (more than others around you), blue fingers/toes, unusual tiredness, gradual change in weight (without a change in diet or exercise), easy bleeding/bruising, persistent nausea/vomiting, pus or change in skin color at the injection site, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin, swelling ankles/feet, joint pain/swelling, signs of kidney problems (such as a change in the amount of urine), butterfly-shaped rash on the nose and cheeks.
This medication may lower your ability to fight infections. This may make you more likely to get a serious infection or make any infection you have worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection (such as fever, chills, persistent sore throat, cough).
Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using interferon, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to products containing human albumin; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients (such as latex found in some brands), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood cell disorders (e.g., anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia), heart disease (e.g., angina, irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure), liver disease, mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts), seizure disorder, thyroid disease, use/abuse of alcohol.
Interferon can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: drugs that may affect your immune system (e.g., cancer chemotherapy, cyclosporine), hydroxyurea, telbivudine, theophyllines (e.g., aminophylline, theophylline).
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood count, blood chemistry, liver or thyroid function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember, and contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule. Your next injection should be taken about 48 hours (2 days) after you actually take the missed dose. Do not use this medication 2 days in a row. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store the unmixed product at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
If the mixed solution is not used immediately after mixing, refrigerate and use within 3 hours. Do not freeze. Discard any unused portions after 3 hours.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised July 2016. Copyright(c) 2016 First Databank, Inc.
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