Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Font Size

Multiple Sclerosis Treatments Face Off

Long-Term Study Gives Rebif the Edge Over Avonex
WebMD Health News

June 4, 2003 - When it comes to multiple sclerosis treatments, Rebif might have the edge over Avonex, according to a head-to-head comparison of the two drugs.

The study shows that after 63 weeks of multiple sclerosis treatment, 56% of patients on Rebif were free from relapses compared with 48% of those on Avonex.

The findings of the EVIDENCE trial were presented at the annual meeting of the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers in San Diego.

Rebif and Avonex contain the same active ingredient (interferon beta-1a), but these multiple sclerosis treatments differ in the frequency, dosage, and method in which they are used. Rebif is injected under the skin three times a week at a higher dose, and Avonex is injected once a week directly into the muscle of the thigh, upper arm, or hip at a lower dose.

About 2 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis, a progressive disease that affects the brain and nervous system. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. But most researchers believe multiple sclerosis is caused by an immune system malfunction that leads to brain and spinal cord inflammation -- and symptoms such as a loss of muscle control and vision.

For most people with multiple sclerosis, these symptoms come and go during periodic relapses of their disease. Viruses and other infections are thought to trigger these disease relapses.

How Interferon Helps Multiple Sclerosis

Interferon-based treatments for multiple sclerosis are designed to strengthen the immune system to prevent such relapses and protect the brain and spinal cord from further damage. The interferon drugs closely resemble the body's own natural interferon that is produced by the immune system to defend against infection and disease.

Researchers say the long-term results from this study confirm the advantage of high-dose interferon treatment with Rebif over Avonex. Previous studies had already shown these results after 24 and 48 weeks of multiple sclerosis treatment.

The study found that people with multiple sclerosis who received Rebif were 17% more likely to remain free from relapse than those on Avonex after 63 weeks of treatment. Patients treated with Rebif also showed fewer brain lesions on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
brain scan
worried woman
neural fiber
white blood cells
sunlight in hands
marijuana plant
muscle spasm