Compare Betaseron vs. Gilenya

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

Betaseron
(interferon beta-1b)

Gilenya
(fingolimod)

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.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.81Betaseron
Reviews for Betaseron
57%
of people (All ages) say Betaseron is worth it
48%
say it works well
38%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Betaseron (interferon beta-1b)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Gilenya
42%
+15% better vs. Betaseron
30%
+18% better vs. Betaseron
30%
-8% worse vs. Betaseron
Have you used Gilenya (fingolimod)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
BetaseronGilenya
  • Immunogenicity 45%
  • Leukopenia 12%
More Betaseron side effects »
  • Headache 2%
  • ALT/AST increased 9%
  • Influenza viral infections 3%
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Back pain 5%
  • Cough 2%
  • Herpes viral infections 1%
  • Dyspnea 3%
  • Depression 1%
  • Bronchitis 4%
More Gilenya side effects »
How it works
BetaseronGilenya
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.Gilenya (Fingolimod) is an immune modulator. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to stop your white blood cells from attacking the nerves in your brain and spinal cord.
Type of medication
BetaseronGilenya
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
BetaseronGilenya
  • Injection
  • Pill
Used for
BetaseronGilenya
Risk factors for serious side effects
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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
Detailed Betaseron (interferon beta-1b) risks & warnings »
  • Taking with drugs that slow heart rate
  • History of heart problems
  • Taking other immunosuppressant drugs
  • Age 60 or older
  • Weak immune system
Detailed Gilenya (fingolimod) 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
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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.
  • 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.
No interactions related info.
Food
BetaseronGilenya
No food related info.
  • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
Pain
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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.
  • Injection site reactions can be common, including swelling, redness, pain, and rarely death of surrounding skin tissues.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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).
  • 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 and risks
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
BetaseronGilenya
  • 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.
  • Take one capsule daily with or without food.
  • It's very important you read the Gilenya Medication Guide. Don't change your dose or stop the medicine without asking your doctor.
  • You'll need to be watched for at least 6 hours in a doctor's office after taking your first dose because it can cause serious heart rate and blood pressure problems.
  • Gilenya increases your risk of infections. Get blood tests 6 months before starting treatment.
  • Use effective birth control or plan to stop Gilenya 2 months before getting pregnant. If you do become pregnant while on Gilenya (Fingolimod), you'll need to enroll in the Gilenya pregnancy registry.
  • Tell your doctor if you've had any vaccines recently. Don't get any live vaccines while taking Gilenya.
  • Your doctor will monitor your eyes, lungs, and liver for up to 2 months after stopping Gilenya.
Learn more
More about BetaseronSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Betaseron (interferon beta-1b)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about GilenyaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Gilenya (fingolimod)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it