Interferon beta-1a (Avonex®) treats relapsing forms of MS. Studies show that it can slow the accumulation of physical disability and reduces frequency of exacerbations when used regularly over long periods of time. It does not improve existing MS symptoms and it is not used to treat acute MS attacks. Interferon beta-1a is an injectable medication and is usually prescribed at a dose of 30mg administered intramuscular (into a muscle) once a week. Prefilled easy-to-use syringes are available and a pen-injector is pending. Before starting medication a complete blood count (CBC) with differential and liver function tests should be completed. Ongoing lab tests will monitor for common adverse reactions of change in blood cell counts. The common side effects include injection-site reactions, redness around injection site, general weakness, flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, tiredness and/or sweating) headache and/or pain. Individuals who have questions about Interferon beta-1a (Avonex®) should contact their healthcare provider.
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