Compare Avonex vs. Gilenya

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

Gilenya (Fingolimod)

Prescription only
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.

2.7/ 5 average rating with 33 reviewsforAvonex
Treats relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Gilenya (Fingolimod) is an oral medication that has a lot of side effects, but it reduces the number of flare-ups, slows physical changes, and decreases the number of new brain lesions in relapsing MS.

3.0/ 5 average rating with 57 reviewsforGilenya
Upsides
  • 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).
  • Gilenya (Fingolimod) is the first once-daily pill you can take for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • Studies show it lowers relapse rates better than placebo and Avonex, and it delays the progression of physical disabilites better than placebo.
  • Gilenya also reduced the number of new MS lesions better than Avonex.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • Taking more than the 0.5 mg dose won't give more benefits, but will only cause more side effects.
  • Gilenya can remain in your blood for up to 2 months after you stop taking it. Your immune response won't work as well during this time.
  • Not the best choice if you've had a heart attack, stroke, or have been in the hospital for heart failure in the past 6 months. The risk of serious heart rate effects is higher when taken with certain drugs (methadone, erythromycin, citalopram, ketoconazole) or if you have low potassium or magnesium.
  • If you have to re-start Gilenya after stopping it for 2 weeks or more, you'll have to take your first dose at your doctor's office again.
  • If you didn't get chicken pox and never had a vaccination, you'll need to be vaccinated and wait one month before starting Gilenya.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Injection
  • Pill
Price
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$7018.93
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$5558.31
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Reviews
33 reviews so far
36%
saidit'sworth it
24%
saiditworked well
33%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)?

Leave a review
57 reviews so far
42%
saidit'sworth it
30%
saiditworked well
30%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Gilenya (Fingolimod)?

Leave a review
Side effects
29possible side effects
  • Headache
    57%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    49%
  • Myalgia
    28%
  • Asthenia
    24%
  • Pain
    23%
  • Nausea
    23%
  • Fever
    20%
  • Chills
    19%
  • Depression
    18%
  • Urinary tract infection
    17%
  • Dizziness
    14%
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
    14%
  • Sinusitis
    14%
  • Arthralgia
    9%
  • Abdominal pain
    8%
  • Injection site pain
    8%
  • Bronchitis
    8%
  • Infection
    7%
  • Injuction site inflammation
    6%
  • Injection site ecchymosis
    6%
  • Chest pain
    5%
  • Migraine
    5%
  • Alopecia
    4%
  • Eye disorder
    4%
  • Anemia
    4%
  • Injection site reaction
    3%
  • Toothache
    3%
  • Urine constituents abnormal
    3%
  • Vasodilation
    2%
See more detailed side effects
29possible side effects
  • Headache
    25%
  • ALT/AST increased
    14%
  • Influenza viral infections
    13%
  • Diarrhea
    12%
  • Back pain
    12%
  • Cough
    10%
  • Herpes viral infections
    9%
  • Bronchitis
    8%
  • Dyspnea
    8%
  • Depression
    8%
  • Sinusitis
    7%
  • Dizziness
    7%
  • Hypertension
    6%
  • Gastroenteritis
    5%
  • Paresthesia
    5%
  • Migraine
    5%
  • GGT increased
    5%
  • Weight decreased
    5%
  • Tinea infections
    4%
  • Bradycardia
    4%
  • Alopecia
    4%
  • Vission blurred
    4%
  • Lymphopenia
    4%
  • Asthenia
    3%
  • Eczema
    3%
  • Pruritus
    3%
  • Blood triglycerides increased
    3%
  • Eye pain
    3%
  • Leukopenia
    3%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression or mental illness
  • Serious allergic reaction
    • Allergy to albumin
    • Prolonged use of Avonex (Interferon Beta-1A)
  • Liver damage
    • Alcohol use
    • Taking drugs that are liver toxic
    • History of liver disease
  • Injection site reaction
  • Heart problems
    • History of heart disease
  • Immune reactions
  • Albumin in the product
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Risk to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Bone marrow suppression
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Heart problems
    • Taking with drugs that slow heart rate
    • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Serious infections
    • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
    • Age 60 or older
    • Weak immune system
  • Eye problems
    • Diabetes
    • History of eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Risk to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Respiratory problems
    • History of respiratory problems
  • Liver problems
    • History of liver problems
See more detailed risks and warnings