Compare Avonex vs. Betaseron

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

Avonex
(Interferon Beta-1A)

Betaseron
(Interferon Beta-1B)

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.Lowers the frequency of MS exacerbations. Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) is an injectable medicine effective for relapsing, remitting MS with fewer side effects and every other day dosing.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
3.5625Avonex
Reviews for Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
38%
of people (All ages) say Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is worth it
25%
say it works well
34%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
AvonexBetaseron
  • 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 »
  • Low white blood cells 12%
More Betaseron side effects »
How it works
AvonexBetaseron
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.Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) is a man-made interferon that's similar to what your body naturally makes. Researchers don't know exactly how it works for MS, but interferons activate your own immune system to control immune responses that have gone out of control.
Type of medication
AvonexBetaseron
Multiple sclerosis treatment
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Multiple Sclerosis treatment
Immunomodulator
Prescription only
Available as
AvonexBetaseron
  • Injection
  • Injection
Used for (click to learn more)
AvonexBetaseron
Risk factors for serious side effects
AvonexBetaseron
  • 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 »
          • Alcohol use
          • Taking drugs that are liver toxic
          • Active or history of liver disease
            • History of depression or mental illness
            • History of or current heart disease
              • Women of childbearing age
              • Not changing injection sites
              • Bone marrow suppression
                Detailed Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) risks & warnings »
                Pregnancy

                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.

                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.

                Interactions
                AvonexBetaseron
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections, lasting minutes or hours.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Watch for new or worsening depression or any unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). Get emergency care right away.
                • 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.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) is not thought to cause adverse effects on the heart, but a small number of people with no history of heart problems developed heart failure and heart muscle weakness. Your doctor should watch you carefully especially when you start Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) then as long as you continue to take it.
                • Because Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) vial contains albumin, made from human blood, there’s an extremely low risk of transmitting a fatal brain disorder called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) or other viral disease. People who have allergies to albumin shouldn't use the vial formulation of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A). The prefilled syringe doesn't contain albumin and may be a better choice for albumin-sensitive people. Make sure you talk to your doctor first.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) hasn’t been studied in pregnant women, so the effects on your unborn baby are unknown. If you take it during pregnancy or breastfeed, it’s possible that some medicine may get into your baby’s blood. Talk to your doctor first and if you get pregnant while taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A), you'll need to enroll in the Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) pregnancy registry.
                • Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) can affect the bone marrow and lower your red and white blood cells and platelets to very low levels. When your blood cells and platelets levels drop too low, you are at more risk for infections, bleeding and bruising and will have to stop taking Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) until levels correct. You'll have to get your blood tested regularly at least every 6 months.
                • Interferon beta-1b has been shown to be more effective than Avonex in reducing new lesions, which lowers relapse and disease progression in people with RRMS.
                • Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and rarely, angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). If you develop these symptoms after your dose or days later, call your doctor and get medical emergency care right away.You may need to stop taking Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B).
                • Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Watch for new or worsening depression or any unusual changes in mood or behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
                • Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) is not thought to cause adverse effects on the heart, but people taking it who didn't have heart problems developed heart failure and heart muscle weakness. Your doctor will do tests to check your heart function. Tell your doctor if you have ankle swelling, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, tightness in your chest or aren't able to lie flat in bed at night because you can't breathe.
                • People who start Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) report flu-like symptoms that include fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches and tiredness. Taking a pain reliever or fever reducer like Tylenol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Motrin may help. Be sure to ask your doctor first.
                • Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) can harm your unborn baby. There's also a risk you can lose your baby (miscarry). Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. You and your doctor should discuss if you should continue or stop taking Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B).
                • Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) can lower the number of blood cells that help you fight infection and clot blood. White blood cells, red blood cells and platelets can all be affected. Tell your doctor if you feel tired, bruise easily or have any bleeding. you'll need to have blood tests to make sure they don't get too low.
                Kidneys and liver
                AvonexBetaseron
                • 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 kidneys and liver related info.
                Pain
                AvonexBetaseron
                • 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).
                • Injection site reactions are common, ranging from localized pain, redness, and swelling to severe skin dryness.
                • Injection site reactions can be severe and include pain, redness, swelling, infection, and rarely, tissue death. In some cases, these reactions happened more than 2 years after starting Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A). They usually get better, but may need antibiotics or in severe cases, surgical treatment. It’s important that you follow instructions carefully and learn how to inject Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A) correctly.
                • Injection site reactions can be common, including swelling, redness, pain, and rarely death of surrounding skin tissues.
                • Injection site reactions can be severe and include pain, redness, swelling, and tissue death. In some cases they need surgical treatment and may not heal, causing scarring. Reactions happen in the first 4 months up to a year after starting and tend get better over time. don't inject into any area that’s not completely healed. If there are several areas, stop taking Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B) until you have a chance to heal. It’s important that change your injection sites often, follow instructions carefully and learn how to inject it correctly.
                Upsides and benefits
                AvonexBetaseron
                • 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).
                • Interferon beta-1b was the first disease modifying agent for MS approved by the FDA to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS).
                • In short and long-term follow-up studies, Interferon beta-1b was shown to slow MS progression, reduce the number of flair-ups and increase overall survival.
                • Convenient every-other-day dosing and refrigeration-free storage (before mixing) is less of a hassle.
                • Interferon beta-1b has been shown to be more effective than Avonex in reducing new lesions, which lowers relapse and disease progression in people with RRMS.
                • May be a treatment option for people with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS).
                Downsides and risks
                AvonexBetaseron
                • 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.
                • Requires injections.
                • Injection site reactions are common. Symptoms range from pain, redness, and swelling to severe reactions with skin death around the injection site.
                • Flu-like symptoms are common after interferon injections, but are less likely with Interferon beta-1b in particular.
                • Blood testing required before and during use based on your other conditions.
                • Unclear consequences to fetus during pregnancy.
                Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
                AvonexBetaseron
                • 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.
                • Every-other-day injections to the fatty layer under your skin.
                • Store the powder for reconstitution at room temperature.
                • Don't shake the medicine after reconstitution.
                • Can cause flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, muscle pain) right after injections lasting minutes or hours.
                • Flu-like reactions usually goes away with repeated treatments, or taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen 45 minutes before the injection to reduce the uncomfortable feeling.
                • Injection site reactions can be common, including swelling, redness, pain, and rarely death of surrounding skin tissues.
                Learn more
                More about AvonexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                Have you used Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)?
                Worth itNot sureNot worth it
                More about BetaseronSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
                Have you used Betaseron (Interferon Beta-1B)?
                Worth itNot sureNot worth it