AVONEX 30 micrograms powder and solvent for solution for injection (Interferon beta-1a)
WHAT AVONEX IS AND WHAT IT IS USED FOR
What is AVONEX
The active ingredient in Avonex is a protein called interferon beta-1a.
Interferons are natural substances that are formed in your body in order to help prevent it from infections or diseases. The protein in Avonex is made up of exactly the same ingredients as interferon beta, which exists in the human body.
What AVONEX is used for
Avonex is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). Avonex treatment can help prevent your condition from getting worse, although it will not cure MS.
The combination of symptoms of MS is individually different in different people.
Symptoms may include:
feeling of loss of balance or instability, gait problems, muscle stiffness and muscle spasms, fatigue, tingling in the face, arms or legs;
acute or chronic pain, bladder and colon problems, sexual disorders, and problems seeing objects;
difficulty thinking and concentrating, depression.
In addition, MS tends to get worse from time to time, which is called a seizure.
Avonex works best when you take it at the same time, once a week and regularly.
Do not stop taking Avonex before talking to your neurologist.
Avonex can help reduce the number of seizures you experience and delay the onset of the debilitating effects of MS. Your doctor will advise you on how long you can use Avonex and when to stop using it.
How AVONEX works
Multiple sclerosis is associated with nerve damage (to the brain or spinal cord). In MS, your body’s defense system reacts against its own myelin, the “insulating material” that wraps around nerve fibers. Myelin damage causes interruption in the transmission of messages between the brain and other parts of the body. This is what causes the symptoms of MS. Avonex appears to work by preventing your body’s own defense system from attacking myelin.
2. BEFORE YOU USE AVONEX
Do not use AVONEX:
if you are allergic (hypersensitive) to interferon beta, human serum albumin or any of the other ingredients of Avonex;
if you are pregnant, do not start using Avonex;
if you have severe depression or are thinking of committing suicide.
Consult your doctor immediately if any of the following apply to you.
Avonex and allergic reactions. Because Avonex is protein-based, there is a small chance of an allergic reaction.
More on depression. If you are depressed or thinking of committing suicide, you should not use Avonex.
If you have depression, your doctor may still prescribe Avonex, but it is very important that you tell your doctor so that he / she knows if you have depression or similar mood disorders.
Take special care with AVONEX
Consult your doctor in advance:
if you have or have had in the past:
depression or problems affecting your mood;
thoughts of committing suicide.
You should tell your doctor immediately about mood swings, thoughts of committing suicide, excessive sadness, anxiety, or inferiority.
epilepsy or other seizure disorders not controlled with medication;
severe kidney or liver problems;
decreased white blood cell or platelet counts, which may cause an increased risk of infection, bleeding or anemia;
heart problems that can cause symptoms such as chest pain (angina), especially after exercise, swollen ankles, shortness of breath (congestive heart failure) or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).
Talk to your doctor if you have any of the conditions described above or if any of them get worse while you are using Avonex.
Tell your doctor if you are taking AVONEX:
if you have a blood test, Avonex may affect the results.
You will sometimes need to remind other healthcare professionals that you are being treated with Avonex. For example, if you are prescribed other medicines, or if you have a blood test, Avonex may affect other medicines or test results.
Use of other drugs
If you are taking other medicines, especially those used to treat epilepsy or depression, Avonex may affect them. This includes any other medication, even over-the-counter medications.