Compare Avonex vs. Aubagio

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

(Interferon Beta-1A)


Lowers the frequency of multiple sclerosis exacerbations. Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is an injectable medicine effective for relapsing, remitting MS and has manageable side effects and weekly dosing.Treats relapsing forms of MS. Aubagio (Teriflunomide) is an oral medicine that effectively reduces the number of flare-ups, slows physical changes, and decreases the number of new brain lesions in relapsing MS. Because it stays in the body for so long, if you have a serious reaction or possible pregnancy you'll need to have it quickly removed with another medicine.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
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Side effects
  • Flu-like symptoms 20%
  • Chills 14%
  • Fever 11%
  • Muscle pain 7%
  • Muscle weakness 6%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Injuction site inflammation 4%
  • Low mood disorder 4%
  • Infection 3%
  • Chest pain 3%
More Avonex side effects »
  • Hair loss or baldness 10%
  • Diarrhea 9%
  • Mild hypophospatemia 9%
  • Alanine aminotransferase increased 7%
  • Nausea 7%
  • Headache 4%
  • Moderate hypophospatemia 4%
  • Gamma-glutamyltransferase increase 4%
  • Gastroenteritis viral 3%
  • Bladder infection 3%
More Aubagio side effects »
How it works
Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is an interferon that acts like the ones your body naturally makes. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but interferons activate your immune system to control immune responses that have gotten out of control.Aubagio (Teriflunomide) is an immune modulator. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for MS, but it seems to lower your white blood cells and keep them from attacking the nerves in your brain and spinal cord.
Type of medication
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Prescription only
Multiple Sclerosis treatment
Pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor
Prescription only
Available as
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • History of depression or mental illness
  • Allergy to albumin
  • Prolonged use of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
  • Alcohol use
  • Taking drugs that are liver toxic
  • History of liver disease
    • History of heart disease
        • History of seizures
        • Women of childbearing age
          Detailed Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) risks & warnings »
          • Taking medicines that affect your liver or cause liver injury
              • Reaction to leflunomide
              • Age 60 or older
              • Taking medicines that are toxic to the nervous system
              • Diabetes
              • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
              • Age 60 or older
              • Weak immune system
              • High uric acid levels
                • Acute kidney failure
                • History of lung disease
                • History of high blood pressure
                Detailed Aubagio (Teriflunomide) risks & warnings »
                Pregnancy category
                CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

                Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

                See the FDA package insert
                XFDA pregnancy category (Unsafe)

                Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

                See the FDA package insert
                No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
                No specific food-related info.
                • It comes a 7 mg and 14mg dose and only needs to be taken once a day, with or without food.
                • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
                Kidneys and liver
                No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
                • Aubagio can also cause serious and life-threatening liver, lung, skin, kidney and blood pressure effects.
                • People taking Aubagio (Teriflunomide) had temporary acute kidney failure thought to be due to high uric acid buildup in the kidneys (uric acid nephropathy). Kidney function started to decrease from 12 weeks to 2 years after the first dose, then returned to normal with continued dosing. It’s not completely clear is there were other reasons for this effect and people generally didn't have any symptoms.
                • Aubagio (Teriflunomide) has caused high blood potassium levels in people that also had acute kidney failure. Your doctor will do tests to check your potassium levels especially if you already have kidney problems.
                No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
                No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause serious liver injury with the risk increasing during the first 6 months after you start. You'll need to have your liver enzymes tested at 1, 3, and 6 months. If liver enzymes are significantly elevated and you have appetite/weight loss, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and notice dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, change in stool color, and skin rash, you should stop taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) until your doctor decides if it's safe to re-start.
                No specific weight-related info.
                Upsides and benefits
                • One of the main treatments for relapsing MS that has been around for many years.
                • Injections are given weekly, and not daily like other MS medications.
                • Helps reduce the frequency of MS relapse episodes.
                • Flu-like reactions are the most common side effects and usually go away with continued treatment or can be avoided by using over-the-counter pain and fever-reducing medicines before the injection (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen).
                • You can take it by mouth.
                • It comes a 7 mg and 14mg dose and only needs to be taken once a day, with or without food.
                • In clinical studies, Aubagio reduced relapses, slowed disability, and decreased the number of new brain lesions compared to sugar pill (placebo).
                • Although it may not work for everyone, most people felt it wasn't much of a hassle.
                Downsides and risks
                • Injection site reactions are common, ranging from localized pain, redness, and swelling to severe skin dryness.
                • Flu-like symptoms are common after interferon injections.
                • It's not clear what type of problems occur if taken during pregnancy.
                • Blood testing is required before and during use of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A).
                • May not be as effective as other interferons.
                • Some people have nausea and diarrhea when they start treatment. In most cases, these effects are mild and get better over time.
                • Aubagio can cause your hair to thin. This is temporary, and your hair will go back to normal after a few months.
                • You should have certain lab tests to make sure you don't have any problems from taking Aubagio. These include: complete blood count and liver enzyme testing within 6 months before you start treatment, tuberculosis (TB) screening, and blood pressure.
                • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), different from MS was reported more often than with sugar pill (placebo)
                • Aubagio may stay in your blood up to 2 years after you stop taking it. You can quickly remove Aubagio the accelerated elimination procedure, but symptoms of your disease may return.
                • You can't take it if you're pregnant.
                Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
                • Inject yourself once a week in your muscle (you need to go deeper than the fat layer between your skin and muscle).
                • Refrigerate the powder and pre-filled syringes and pens.
                • Don't shake the medicine once it is taken out of the refrigerator or mixed.
                • If using the pre-filled syringes, the tiny air bubbles won't hurt you.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections, lasting minutes or hours.
                • Flu-like reactions usually go away with repeated treatments. Taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen 45 minutes before the injection can reduce the uncomfortable feeling.
                • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
                • It's very important you read the Aubagio Medication Guide.
                • Most common side effects are diarrhea, nausea, hair thinning, and elevated liver blood levels.
                • Not the best choice if you have liver problems or are on medications that affect the liver.
                • Liver blood tests need to be done for 6 months once you start taking Aubagio. If these tests are abnormal and liver damage is suspected your doctor will stop the medicine and tell you to start taking cholestyramine for 11 days to lower the toxic level.
                • You'll need to have a TB test before you start taking Aubagio.
                • Can cause numbness and tingling of your hands and feet. Let your doctor know if this becomes a problem.
                • Aubagio increases your risk of infections so tell your doctor if you notice a fever, cough that doesn't go away, or flu-like symptoms. Get your blood counts checked 6 months before starting treatment.
                • Aubagio can also cause serious and life-threatening liver, lung, skin, kidney and blood pressure effects.
                • Aubagio will harm your unborn baby and is pregnancy category X. You must have a negative pregnancy test before starting Aubagio.
                • Both men and women are affected. If they want to have a baby both need to stop taking Aubagio and begin rapid removal process using cholestyramine or activated charcoal for 11 days. Without this process, Aubagio will stay in the body for up to 2 years.
                Learn more
                More about AvonexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                More about AubagioSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert