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Avonex IM

Important Note

Warnings
Uses
Side Effects
Precautions
Interactions
Overdose
Avonex IM Uses

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 weakness and slow the progression of the disease.

How to use Avonex IM

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using interferon beta 1A and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Inject this medicine usually once a week into a muscle or as directed by your doctor. Give the shot in the evening before bedtime to minimize side effects.

If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. The solution is normally clear or slightly yellow in color. 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.

To increase comfort, take this medication out of the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature for about 30 minutes before injecting. Carefully mix the powder with the liquid provided as directed. Gently swirl the vial of medication. Do not shake it.

The thigh and upper arm muscles are recommended sites for the shot. Use a different spot each week. Do not inject into skin that is irritated or infected.

Use this medicine regularly as directed in order to get the most benefit. Use it at the same time each week. Do not change the dose or how often you use this medication without your doctor's approval.

Inform your doctor if your condition worsens.

Avonex IM Side Effects

Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Flu-like symptoms such as headache, fatigue, fever, chills, and muscle aches may occur when you first start this medication. These symptoms usually last about a day after the shot and improve or go away after a few months of continued use. You can minimize 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., depression, thoughts of suicide, new or worsening psychiatric symptoms), hair loss, vision changes, persistent fatigue, numbness/tingling/swelling of the hands/ankles/feet, muscle weakness, trouble breathing, sudden weight gain, gradual change in weight (without a change in diet or exercise), cold or heat intolerance, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, easy bleeding or bruising, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), yellowing eyes or skin, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine.

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 unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: 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.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Avonex IM Precautions

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.

There is a risk of contracting a virus from using this medication because it contains albumin from human blood. Careful screening of blood donors, special manufacturing methods, and FDA-approved tests are all used to reduce such a risk. For more details, talk to your doctor.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression, psychosis, suicidal thoughts), heart disease (e.g., angina, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia), seizures, thyroid disease, liver disease, decreased bone marrow function.

Limit your intake of alcohol while on this medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the safe use of alcohol while using this drug.

This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more details.

It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Avonex IM Interactions

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: hydroxyurea, telbivudine, theophylline, other drugs/herbals which may be harmful to your liver (e.g., isoniazid, kava, methotrexate, nefazodone).

Avonex IM Overdose

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.

NOTES:

Do not share this medication with others.

Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts, blood chemistry, liver and thyroid function tests) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.

MISSED DOSE:

For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

STORAGE:

Store the vials in the refrigerator between 36-46 degrees F (2-8 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not expose to high temperatures and do not freeze. Vials may also be kept at room temperature for up to 30 days. Use this medication immediately after mixing at room temperature or within 6 hours if refrigerated. Discard any unused solution. 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 December 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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