AVONEX Safety Profile
Experience and safety in relapsing MS
The safety of AVONEX® (interferon beta-1a) was studied in 2 well-controlled clinical trials, the same trials that proved AVONEX effective in treating relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).
AVONEX was FDA approved as a result of these trials, and has developed a long heritage in treating relapsing MS in the nearly 2 decades since. However, because the longest clinical trial of AVONEX lasted for 3 years, the safety and effectiveness of treatment with AVONEX beyond 3 years is not known.
A well-understood safety profile
Here is some Important Safety Information you should know about once-a-week AVONEX.
Before taking AVONEX, you should tell your healthcare provider if you:
- are being treated for a mental illness, or had treatment in the past for any mental illness, including depression and suicidal behavior
- drink alcohol
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if AVONEX passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will use AVONEX or breastfeed. You should not do both
AVONEX can cause serious side effects, such as heart problems, including heart failure. While AVONEX is not known to have any direct effects on the heart, a few patients who did not have a history of heart problems developed heart muscle problems or congestive heart failure after taking AVONEX. If you already have heart failure, AVONEX may cause your heart failure to get worse. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have worsening symptoms of heart failure such as shortness of breath or swelling of your lower legs or feet while using AVONEX.
Some people using AVONEX may have other heart problems including:
- low blood pressure
- fast or abnormal heart beat
- chest pain
- heart attack or a heart muscle problem (cardiomyopathy)
In addition, if you are allergic to AVONEX or any of the ingredients in AVONEX, do not take AVONEX. And if you experience an allergic reaction to AVONEX, stop taking AVONEX and talk to your healthcare provider about your treatment options.
After you review the benefits and risks of AVONEX with your healthcare provider, he or she may ask you to have regular blood tests to make sure your liver is functioning properly.
Most people who take AVONEX have flu-like symptoms early during the course of therapy. Usually, these symptoms last for a day after the injection. You may be able to manage these flu-like symptoms by taking over-the-counter pain and fever reducers. For many people, these symptoms lessen or go away over time. Symptoms may include muscle aches, fever, tiredness, and chills.