Compare Avonex vs. Gilenya

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

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Gilenya (fingolimod)

Prescription only
Lowers the frequency of multiple sclerosis flares and delays disabilty.

Avonex (interferon beta-1a) helps manage multiple sclerosis by reducing flare ups and increasing periods of remission in between, but it may not work for all people.

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

Gilenya (fingolimod) reduces the number of flare-ups, new brain lesions, and physical changes in relapsing MS, but it has many side effects.

3.0/ 5 average rating with 57 reviewsforGilenya
Upsides
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) decreased MS exacerbations and delayed progression.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is a first-choice treatment for relapsing MS.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is safer and provides more convenient dosing (once a week) than some alternative injectable medicines.
  • Gilenya (fingolimod) is the first once-daily pill you can take for relapsing forms of MS.
  • Gilenya (fingolimod) lowers relapse rates and the number of new MS lesions better than the leading injectable.
  • Gilenya (fingolimod) takes up to 2 months to leave your body, which is much shorter than another oral medication Aubagio(teriflunomide), which can take up to 2 years.
Downsides
  • Generic is not available, so Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can be expensive.
  • Only available as an injection.
  • Can worsen heart function and depression.
  • Gilenya (fingolimod) takes up to 2 months to leave your body – much longer than a similar medication, Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate), which takes only a few hours.If you haven't had chickenpox or been vaccinated for it yet, you'll need to get the vaccine at least 1 month before starting Gilenya (fingolimod).
  • Gilenya (fingolimod) might not be a good choice if you have kidney, liver, or heart problems.
  • If you've stopped taking Gilenya (fingolimod) for 2 weeks or more, you'll have to take your first dose at your doctor's office when restarting.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Injection
  • Pill
Price
Lowest price
$6750.97
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Lowest price
$5412.92
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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%
  • Muscle pain
    28%
  • Weakness
    24%
  • Pain
    23%
  • Nausea
    23%
  • Fever
    20%
  • Chills
    19%
  • Depression
    18%
  • Bladder infection
    17%
  • Dizziness
    14%
  • Nose or throat infection
    14%
  • Sinus infection
    14%
  • Joint pain
    9%
  • Stomach pain
    8%
  • Injection site pain
    8%
  • Bronchitis
    8%
  • Infection
    7%
  • Injection site inflammation
    6%
  • Injection site bruising
    6%
  • Chest pain
    5%
  • Migraine
    5%
  • Hair loss
    4%
  • Eye disorder
    4%
  • Low iron
    4%
  • Injection site reaction
    3%
  • Toothache
    3%
  • Abnormal components in urine
    3%
  • Dilation of blood vessels
    2%
See more detailed side effects
22possible side effects
  • Headache
    25%
  • Abnormal liver blood tests
    15%
  • Nausea
    13%
  • Diarrhea
    13%
  • Cough
    12%
  • Flu infection
    11%
  • Sinus infection
    11%
  • Stomach pain
    11%
  • Back pain
    10%
  • Pain in arms or legs
    10%
  • Shortness of breath
    9%
  • Bronchitis
    8%
  • High blood pressure
    8%
  • Migraine
    6%
  • Blurred vision
    4%
  • Low blood pressure
    3%
  • Hair loss
    3%
  • Herpes viral infections
    2%
  • Fungal skin infection
    2%
  • Weakness
    2%
  • Scaly skin
    2%
  • Low white blood cells
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression or mental illness
  • Liver damage
    • Alcohol use
    • Taking other medicines that cause liver injury
    • History of liver disease
  • Risk of worsening heart function
    • History of heart failure
  • Injection site reaction
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Low blood counts
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Heart problems
    • Taking other medicines that slow heart rate
    • History of heart problems
  • Serious infections
    • Taking other immunosuppressant medicines
    • Age 60 or older
    • Weak immune system
  • Eye problems
    • Diabetes
    • History of eye inflammation (uveitis)
  • Risk to fetus
    • Women of childbearing age
  • Breathing problems
    • History of lung problems
  • Liver problems
    • History of liver problems
See more detailed risks and warnings