Description of Rebif

Brand Name(s): Rebif

Generic Name Interferon Beta-1a Injection (Rebif(R))

What is interferon beta-1a injection (Rebif®)?

INTERFERON BETA-1a (Rebif®) is a drug that acts like a protein in your body called interferon beta. Interferon beta helps to control your immune system. Interferon beta-1a is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis to decrease the number and severity of attacks. Beta interferons are occasionally used to treat other diseases. Generic interferon beta-1a injections are not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I receive interferon beta-1a?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • frequently or regularly drink alcohol-containing beverages
  • depression or other mental health disorder
  • heart disease or irregular heart beats/rhythm
  • liver disease
  • low blood counts
  • previous heart attack
  • seizure disorder
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to interferon, albumin, hamster proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Interferon beta-1a is for injection under the skin, three days a week (preferably late in the afternoon or evening) on the same days of the week at least 48 hours apart. It may be given by a health-care professional in a hospital or clinic setting. Your health care professional may teach you how to give these injections at home. Before you try to use this injection, carefully read the instructions provided. Make sure you are comfortable and understand how to prepare, inject, and store interferon beta-1a. Before giving an injection always wash your hands well with soap and water. Do not use more than the prescribed dose. Using larger or more frequent doses increases the risk of getting serious side effects. The manufacturer offers complimentary services including injection training and reimbursement support. Contact MS LifeLines at 1-877-44-REBIF.

Do not reuse needles or syringes. Discard needles and syringes in a puncture-resistant container provided to you by your health care professional.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose or an appointment for a dose, take it as soon as possible or reschedule your appointment as soon as possible. If a dose is missed, administer the dose as soon as possible then skip the following day. Do not give on two consecutive days. Return to the regular schedule the following week.

What drug(s) may interact with interferon beta-1a?

  • zidovudine

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines that you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from receiving interferon beta-1a?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • confusion
  • depression
  • difficulty breathing, swelling of face or throat, rash, hives, or other signs of a severe allergic reaction
  • fainting
  • mood changes, anxiety
  • seizures
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • yellow coloring of skin or eyes

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • nausea, vomiting
  • pain, redness, swelling, and irritation at the injection site
  • stomach pain
  • weakness

What should I watch for while taking interferon beta-1a?

Visit your prescriber or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are feeling depressed.

Females of childbearing age should use a reliable method of birth control. If you do become pregnant, stop using interferon beta-1a at once and contact your prescriber or health care professional.

Reactions at the site of injection may occur. Ask your prescriber or health care professional to suggest a series of injection sites, so that you do not have to use the same site repeatedly.

Flu-like symptoms are common with interferon beta-1a therapy. Using this medicine at night can reduce these symptoms. Your prescriber or health care professional may suggest taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®, etc) before your dose and for 24 hours after you receive your injection.

Use disposable syringes only once, and throw away syringes and needles in a closed, puncture-resistant container to prevent accidental needle sticks.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

This medicine must be kept cold. Store in a refrigerator between 2 and 8 °C (36 and 46 °F); do not freeze. If a refrigerator is temporarily not available, Rebif® should be kept cool below 25 °C (77 °F) and away from heat and light. Throw away any unused solution.

(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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