Avonex is a prescription drug that is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It is believed that the medication decreases nerve damage by preventing the immune system from attacking and destroying the protective coating around nerve fibers. Avonex, which comes in injection form, is injected into muscle once a week. Avonex has the active ingredient of interferon beta-1a) is a prescription medication used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS). It is taken as a weekly injection into a muscle. The medication is made by Biogen Idec, Inc. Avonex is used for treating multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults. Specifically, the medication is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in people with relapsing forms of the disease. However, healthcare providers may also occasionally recommend Avonex off-label for treating non-relapsing forms of the disease. At this time, there are no approved Avonex uses for children under the age of 18.

How to Use Avonex Injections

  • Avonex comes as an injection. It is injected into a muscle (intramuscularly) once a week.
  • It does not matter if you take the medication with food or on an empty stomach. Also, it does not matter what time of the day you inject it (although it is a good idea to inject it at the same time each week).
  • Avonex comes in prefilled syringes or in vials with dry powder that must be mixed first.
  • The best places to inject Avonex are in the thighs (either on the tops or sides) or the upper arm.
  • The medication comes with a 23 gauge, 1.25 inch needle. If you and your healthcare provider prefer, you may use a thinner and shorter needle (25 gauge, 1 inch), although these must be purchased separately.
  • Never shake Avonex (even when mixing the vials). Avonex is a delicate molecule that can be destroyed by shaking.

Cautions before Use Avonex Injections

  • Avonex can cause dangerous allergic reactions. Report any symptoms of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, itching, hives, and swelling.
  • Avonex can decrease blood counts in some people, leading to low white blood cells (which increases the risk of infection), anemia, low platelets (which increases the risk of bleeding), or other problems.
  • Avonex can cause liver damage, thus people having problems with liver should avoid tis medication.
  • Avonex vials (with dry powder) contain human albumin, which could theoretically transmit viruses or other infectious diseases.
  • Avonex is not considered as a safe medication during pregnancy thus pregnant women should consult their doctors before taking this medication.

Avonex Injections Side Effects

The side effcts which may occur with Avonex are as follows:

  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Infections, such as bronchitis or a sinus infection
  • Redness, pain, or irritation at the injection site
  • Toothache
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain
  • Anemia
  • General Body Pain

Avonex Injections Reactions and Overdose

When theophylline or zidovudine is taken together with Avonex, drug interactions may occur that could increase your risk of developing side effects. Since certain other medications of multiple sclerosis treatment can also lead to negative Avonex interactions.

No serious overdose effects has been reported yet with Avonex.


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