Are you and your healthcare provider considering AVONEX? If so, there are a few important topics to discuss. To help prepare for your discussion, you can learn more below.
The safety of AVONEX was studied in 2 well-controlled clinical trials conducted over 2 to 3 years.
Do not take AVONEX if you are allergic to interferon beta or any of the ingredients in AVONEX.
Before beginning treatment, you should discuss with your healthcare provider the potential benefits and risks associated with AVONEX.
AVONEX can cause serious side effects. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms listed below while taking AVONEX.
Depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, or other behavioral health problems
Some people taking AVONEX may develop mood or behavior problems, including irritability (getting upset easily), depression (feeling hopeless or feeling bad about yourself), nervousness, anxiety, aggressive behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide, or hearing or seeing things that others do not hear or see (hallucinations).
Liver problems, or worsening of liver problems including liver failure and death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:
During your treatment with AVONEX you will need to see your healthcare provider regularly and have regular blood tests to check for side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take and if you drink alcohol before you start taking AVONEX.
Serious allergic reactions and skin reactions. Symptoms of serious allergic and skin reactions may include:
Get emergency help right away if you have any of these symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking another dose of AVONEX.
Injection site reactions
AVONEX may cause redness, pain, itching, or swelling at the place where your injection was given. Call your healthcare provider right away if an injection site becomes swollen and painful or the area looks infected. You may have a skin infection or an area of severe skin damage (necrosis) requiring treatment by a healthcare provider.
Heart problems, including heart failure
Some people 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.
AVONEX can affect your bone marrow and cause low red and white blood cell, and platelet counts. In some people, these blood cell counts may fall to dangerously low levels.
Some people have had seizures while taking AVONEX, including people who have never had seizures before. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a seizure.
Thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA)
TMA is a condition that involves injury to the smallest blood vessels in your body. TMA can also cause injury to your red blood cells (the cells that carry oxygen to your organs and tissues) and your platelets (cells that help your blood clot) and can sometimes lead to death.
Problems with easy bleeding or bruising (idiopathic thrombocytopenia), thyroid gland problems (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism), and autoimmune hepatitis have happened in some people who use AVONEX.
It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider about the most common AVONEX side effects and how to help manage them. The most common side effects of AVONEX include:
Most people who take AVONEX have flu-like symptoms especially early during the course of therapy. Usually, these symptoms last for a day after the injection. For many people, these symptoms lessen or go away over time. Symptoms may include:
Experiencing flu-like symptoms doesn’t mean you actually have the flu. These symptoms may be part of your body’s natural response to interferon beta-1a.
These are not all of the possible side effects of AVONEX. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.