interferon beta-1a (generic name)

The medicine does not cure multiple sclerosis
(in ter FEER on BAY ta wun aye)
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What is this medicine?

INTERFERON BETA-1a (in ter FEER on BAY ta wun aye) helps to decrease the number of multiple sclerosis attacks and to slow physical disability in people with relapsing forms of the disease. The medicine does not cure multiple sclerosis.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • depression
  • drink more than 3 alcohol containing drinks per day
  • heart disease or irregular heart beats/rhythm
  • immune system problems
  • liver disease
  • seizures
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to interferon, hamster proteins, albumin, mannitol, or other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for injection under the skin. You will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed.

It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.

A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

Patients over 65 years old may have a stronger reaction and need a smaller dose.

The manufacturer of the medicine offers free information to patients and their health care partners. Call 877-447-3243 for more information.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses. Do not give 2 injections within 2 days of each other. If you accidentally take a dose on 2 consecutive days, call your doctor or health care professional.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • zidovudine, AZT

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need frequent blood checks.

Flu-like symptoms are common with the medicine. Using this medicine at night may help. Ask your doctor or health care professional about taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen before your dose and for 24 hours after you receive your injection.

Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information.

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Last Updated: March 02, 2009
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