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Interferon (Avonex, Betaseron) Drug for Multiple Sclerosis: Use, Side Effects, Interactions




Interferon
(Avonex (beta-1a) United States and Canada; Betaseron (beta-1b) United States and Canada)

More drugs used for Multiple Sclerosis.

Use:

Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron is used in auto immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. It reduces the frequency of "attacks". Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron has also found a use in cancer treatment and for people with HIV infections.

How It Works:

Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron is a protein that naturally occurs in the body and is involved in the immune process. It is thought that Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron's actions involve its binding to cell surfaces which cause changes within the immune system.
Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron is actually a family of compounds, some of which have not been identified.

Side Effects:

Flu like symptoms are common with Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron - chills, aches, pains, sweating. More serious is Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron's ability to cause depression and suicidal tendencies.
Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron is an injection, and injection site pain is a potential side effect.
Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron beta-1a is associated with fewer side effects than Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron beta-1b; and it needs to be injected once a week compared to Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron beta-1b's every second day regime.

Cautions for People:

Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron can cause miscarriage, thus women who are or may become pregnant should not take the drug. People who have depression or suicidal tendencies should use Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron with caution.

Drug Interactions:

Interferon, Avonex or Betaseron does not usually interact with other drugs, however it does affect numerous laboratory tests.

Further Reading:

Ann Neurol 1996;39:295
Neurology 1993;43:655,662

Added to Virtual Drugstore August 1996.

The relevant product monographs must be regarded as the appropriate sources of prescribing information.













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