Interferon beta-1a Intramuscular Injection
(in ter feer' on)
WHY is this medicine prescribed?
Interferon beta-1a is used to decrease the number of episodes of symptoms and slow the development of disability in patients with relapsing-remitting forms (course of disease where symptoms flare up from time to time) of multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease in which the nerves do not function properly and patients may experience weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control). Interferon beta-1a has not been shown to help patients with chronic progressive (symptoms are almost always present and worsen over time) MS. Interferon beta-1a is in a class of medications called immunomodulators. It is not known how interferon beta-1a works to treat MS.
HOW should this medicine be used?
Interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection comes as a powder to be mixed into a solution for injection, and also as a prefilled injection syringe. This medication is injected into a muscle, usually once a week, on the same day each week. It is best to inject the medication at around the same time of day on your injection days, usually in the late afternoon or evening. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use interferon beta-1a exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Interferon beta-1a controls the symptoms of MS, but does not cure it. Continue to use interferon beta-1a even if you feel well. Do not stop using interferon beta-1a without talking to your doctor.
You will receive your first dose of interferon beta-1a in your doctor's office. After that, you can inject interferon beta-1a yourself or have a friend or relative perform the injections. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you or the person who will be injecting the medication how to inject it.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (medication guide) when you begin treatment with interferon beta-1a and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs) to obtain the interferon beta-1a Medication Guide.
Always use a new, unopened vial or prefilled syringe and needle for each injection. Never reuse vials, syringes, or needles. Throw away used syringes and needles in a puncture-resistant container, kept out of reach of children. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to throw away the puncture-resistant container.
You can inject interferon beta-1a in your upper arms or thighs. Use a different spot for each injection. Keep a record of the date and spot of each injection. Do not use the same spot two times in a row. Do not inject into an area where the skin is sore, red, bruised, scarred, infected, irritated, or abnormal in any way.
To prepare interferon beta-1a powder for injection, follow these steps:
To prepare a prefilled syringe of interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection, follow these steps:
To inject an intramuscular dose of interferon beta-1a, follow these steps:
Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
Before using interferon beta-1a,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to interferon beta-1a, any other interferon product, any other medications, human albumin, natural rubber, latex, or any of the ingredients in interferon beta-1a intramuscular injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients in interferon beta-1a.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acetaminophen (Tylenol, others); antidepressants; azathioprine (Imuran); cancer chemotherapy medications; cholesterol-lowering medications (statins);cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune);iron products; isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid);medications for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV);methotrexate (Rheumatrex); niacin (nicotinic acid);rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane); salicylate pain relievers such as aspirin, choline magnesium trisalicylate, choline salicylate (Arthropan), diflunisal (Dolobid), magnesium salicylate (Doan's, others), and salsalate (Argesic, Disalcid, Salgesic); sirolimus (Rapamune); and tacrolimus (Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol and if you have or have ever had AIDS or HIV; an autoimmune disease other than MS (a disease in which the body attacks its own cells; ask your doctor if you are unsure if you have this type of disease); blood problems such as anemia (red blood cells that do not bring enough oxygen to all parts of the body), low white blood cells, or easy bruising or bleeding; cancer; anxiety,depression, other mood disorders, or mental illness; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; seizures; angina (recurring chest pain); or heart, liver, or thyroid disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using interferon beta-1a, stop using the medication and call your doctor immediately. Interferon beta-1a may harm the fetus.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using interferon beta-1a.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages while you are using interferon beta-1a. Alcohol can increase the risk that you will develop serious side effects from interferon beta-1a.
- you should know that you may have flu-like symptoms such as headache, fever, chills, sweating, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and tiredness that last for a day after your injection. Your doctor may tell you to inject your medication at bedtime and take an over-the-counter pain and fever medication to help with these symptoms. These symptoms usually lessen or go away over time. Talk to your doctor if these symptoms last longer than the first few months of therapy, or if they are difficult to manage or become severe.
What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?
Inject the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Do not inject interferon beta-1a two days in a row. Do not inject a double dose to make up for a missed dose. Return to your regular dosing schedule the following week. Call your doctor if you miss a dose and have questions about what to do.
What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?
Interferon beta-1a may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- tight muscles
- numbness, burning, tingling, or pain in hands or feet
- joint pain
- stomach pain
- eye problems
- runny nose
- hair loss
- bruising, pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, or irritation at the injection spot
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- thoughts of hurting or killing yourself
- feeling very emotional
- hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- unexplained weight gain or loss
- feeling cold or hot all the time
- trouble breathing when lying flat in bed
- increased need to urinate during the night
- painful or difficult urination
- decreased ability to exercise
- chest pain or tightness
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- pale skin
- excessive tiredness
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- pain or swelling in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- dark brown urine
- light-colored bowel movements
- sore throat, cough, or other signs of infection
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, arms, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Interferon beta-1a may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store interferon beta-1a prefilled syringes and vials in the refrigerator. Do not freeze interferon beta-1a, and do not expose the medication to high temperatures.If a refrigerator is not available, you can store the vials of interferon beta-1a at room temperature, away from heat and light, for up to 30 days. After you mix interferon beta-1a powder with sterile water, store it in the refrigerator and use it within 6 hours. Use prefilled syringes within 12 hours after you take them out of the refrigerator. Throw away mixed vials or syringes after this time has passed. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your body's response to interferon beta-1a.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.