Avonex

(interferon beta-1a)

2.7/ 5 average rating with 33 reviewsforAvonex
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Lowers the frequency of multiple sclerosis flares and delays disabilty.

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Our bottom line

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.

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    $6750.97
Quick facts about Avonex
  • Drug class: Autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

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.
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What to expect from Avonex, on one page

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People’s experience with Avonex

33reviews so far. What do you think?

Downsides

  • Generic is not available, so Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can be expensive.
  • Only available as an injection.
  • Can worsen heart function and depression.
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What to expect from Avonex, on one page

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How it works

Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is an interferon, which is a protein made by your body as part of its defense system. Interferons reduce the inflammation that damages nerves in multiple sclerosis.

Quick facts about Avonex
  • Drug class: Autoimmune
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available

Dosage forms

  • Injection
People’s experience with Avonex

33reviews so far. What do you think?

Prices and coupons

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What to expect when you take Avonex (interferon beta-1a) for Multiple sclerosis

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  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Effectiveness
  • Starts to kick in
    Full effects
  • First few hoursHours
    First few daysDays
    First few weeksWeeks
    First few monthsMonths
  • Possible side effects
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Nausea
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Side effect rates for Avonex (interferon beta-1a)

From 684 clinical trials of Avonex when taken for multiple sclerosis (30 mcg)
  • Headache
    57%57%
    55%55%
  • Flu-like symptoms
    49%49%
    28%28%
  • Muscle pain
    28%28%
    22%22%
  • Weakness
    24%24%
    18%18%
  • Pain
    23%23%
    21%21%
  • Nausea
    23%23%
    19%19%
  • Fever
    20%20%
    9%9%
  • Chills
    19%19%
    5%5%
  • Depression
    18%18%
    14%14%
  • Bladder infection
    17%17%
    15%15%
  • Dizziness
    14%14%
    12%12%
  • Nose or throat infection
    14%14%
    12%12%
  • Sinus infection
    14%14%
    12%12%
  • Joint pain
    9%9%
    6%6%
  • Stomach pain
    8%8%
    6%6%
  • Injection site pain
    8%8%
    6%6%
  • Bronchitis
    8%8%
    5%5%
  • Infection
    7%7%
    4%4%
  • Injection site inflammation
    6%6%
    2%2%
  • Injection site bruising
    6%6%
    4%4%
  • Chest pain
    5%5%
    2%2%
  • Migraine
    5%5%
    3%3%
  • Hair loss
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Eye disorder
    4%4%
    2%2%
  • Low iron
    4%4%
    1%1%
  • Injection site reaction
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Toothache
    3%3%
    1%1%
  • Abnormal components in urine
    3%3%
  • Dilation of blood vessels
    2%2%
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%
Where we got our data »

The placebo bar shows how common a side effect was for people taking a sugar pill instead of Avonex.

Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
Placebo

People taking Avonex felt side effect more

People taking Avonex felt side effect less

No difference

Risks and Warnings for Avonex (interferon beta-1a)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • History of depression or mental illness

    Avonex (interferon beta-1a) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Caregivers and family members should watch for worsening depression or unusual changes in mood/behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or dose changes. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Common concerns from people taking Avonex (interferon beta-1a)

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Interactions
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. Caregivers and family members should watch for worsening depression or unusual changes in mood/behavior, especially during the first few months of treatment or dose changes. Tell your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can cause liver injury. Your doctor may request regular blood tests to check your liver. Speak to your doctor right away if you experience appetite or weight loss, stomach discomfort, vomiting, dark urine, yellowing of skin/eyes, or changes in stool color.
  • Rarely, Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can worsen symptoms in people with heart failure and cause worsened heart function in people who haven't had heart problems. Speak to your doctor right away if experience shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the limbs, irregular heartbeats, sudden weight gain, or persistent coughing.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can rarely cause seizures, especially if you have a history of seizures. Talk to your doctor about whether Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is right for you if you have a history of seizures.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) can lower your blood counts, making you more prone to getting infections. You'll have to get your blood tested regularly. Let your doctor know if you develop a fever that doesn't go away, easy bruising, pale skin, or bleeding.
  • Avonex (interferon beta-1a) is given as an injection once weekly into your muscle. If you're giving yourself injections, rotate the places where you inject in order to avoid skin reactions.
  • Some forms of Avonex (interferon beta-1a) contain albumin and latex. Let your doctor know if you have allergies.
  • 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.