This medication is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Interferon is not a cure for MS, but it may help to decrease the number of attacks of increased symptoms such as balance problems/numbness/weakness and slow the worsening of the disease.
Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using interferon beta 1A and each time you get a refill. Your health care professional will teach you how to use this medication. 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. The solution is normally clear or pale yellow. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
Before injecting each dose, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. It is important to change the location of the injection site with each dose to avoid developing problem areas under the skin. Do not inject into skin that is irritated or infected. Inject this medication under the skin in the thigh, abdomen, upper arm, or buttock, usually 3 times a week at least 48 hours apart, or as directed by your doctor.
To increase comfort, remove this medication from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for about 30 minutes before injecting.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, laboratory tests, and response to treatment. To reduce your risk of side effects (e.g., flu-like symptoms), your doctor may direct you to start using a low dose and gradually increase your dose over 4 weeks. A starter pack with different doses of medication may be used when starting this medication. Use only the amount of medication your doctor directed you to use. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
Use this medication at the same time of the day on the same days of the week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday). To reduce side effects, give the injection in the evening before bedtime.
You may need to take other medications to reduce common side effects such as fever and pain (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen). Consult your doctor or pharmacist about how to use these medications safely with interferon.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens.
Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.
Flu-like symptoms such as headache, nausea, fever, chills, tiredness, and muscle aches/pain may occur, especially when you first start this medication. You can reduce these side effects by injecting this medicine at bedtime and using fever reducers/pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 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., depression, rare thoughts of suicide), vision changes, gradual change in weight, intolerance to cold or heat, increased urination, pus or change in skin color at the injection site, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat, cough), easy bruising/bleeding, fast/irregular heartbeat, sudden increase in weight, swelling hands/legs/feet, severe stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine.
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.
In the US -
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, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Some brands of this medication contain albumin made from human blood. Even though the blood is carefully tested, and this medication goes through a special manufacturing process, there is an extremely small chance that you may get infections from the medication (for example viruses such as hepatitis). Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood problems (e.g., anemia, low platelets, low white blood cells), heart disease (e.g., heart failure, irregular heartbeat), liver disease, mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts), seizures, thyroid disease, history of alcohol dependence.
Limit alcoholic beverages while using this medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how to drink alcohol safely while using this drug.
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm the unborn baby. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. 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: other drugs that may suppress your immune system (e.g., azathioprine, cyclosporine, prednisone, hydroxyurea), other drugs/herbals that may harm your liver (e.g., isoniazid, kava, methotrexate, nefazodone), telbivudine, theophylline.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. 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., liver function tests, complete blood count, thyroid tests) may be performed to monitor your progress and check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember, then skip the next day. Do not use this medication 2 days in a row. Resume your usual schedule the next week. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Store in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) away from light. Brief storage at or below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) is permitted for up to 30 days. Do not expose to high temperatures and do not freeze. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
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 April 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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