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Interferon beta-1a Subcutaneous Injection
Why is this medication prescribed?
Interferon beta-1a is used to prevent episodes of symptoms and slow the development of disability in patients with relapsing-remitting 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 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 subcutaneous injection comes as a solution to inject subcutaneously (under the skin) three times a week. You should inject this medication on the same 3 days every week, for example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The injections should be spaced at least 48 hours apart, so it is best to inject your medication around the same time of day on each of your injection days. The best time to inject this medication is 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.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of interferon beta-1a and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 2 weeks.
Interferon beta-1a controls symptoms of MS, but does not cure it. Continue to take interferon beta-1a even if you feel well. Do not stop taking 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. Before you use interferon beta-1a yourself the first time, read the written instructions that come with it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you or the person who will be injecting the medication how to inject it.
Interferon beta-1a comes in prefilled syringes. Use each syringe and needle only once and inject all the solution in the syringe. Even if there is still some solution left in the syringe after you inject, do not inject again. 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 areas of your body with a layer of fat between the skin and muscle, such as your thigh, the outer surface of your upper arms, your stomach, or your buttocks. If you are very thin, only inject in your thigh or the outer surface of your arm for injection. 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 near your navel (belly button) or waistline or into an area where the skin is sore, red, bruised, scarred, infected, or abnormal in any way.
To inject interferon beta-1a, follow these steps:
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,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Inject the missed dose as soon as you remember it. If you are scheduled for a dose the following day, skip that dose. Do not inject interferon beta-1a 2 days in a row. Do not inject a double dose to make up for a missed dose. You should 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 medication cause?
Interferon beta-1a may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
Interferon beta-1a may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it in the refrigerator, but do not freeze it. If a refrigerator is not available, you can store the medication at room temperature away from heat and light for up to 30 days. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/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 take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT