Interferon Beta-1b (Injection)

Introduction

Interferon Beta-1b (in-ter-FEER-on BAY-ta-1b)

Reduces frequency of flare-ups (relapses) in people who have multiple sclerosis (MS).

Brand Name(s)

Betaseron, Extavia

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to interferon or human albumin.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin. This medicine is given every other day with 48 hours between doses. Call your doctor right away if you use too much medicine or you use it sooner than 48 hours after your last dose.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • This medicine comes as a powder that must be mixed with the liquid provided before it is given. Do not shake the medicine after mixing it.
  • Use the medicine right away after mixing.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
  • Each vial of medicine should be used only once.
  • Use this medicine at about the same time of the day. Also, using this medicine at bedtime may help prevent some of the flu-like side effects.
  • Never share your medicine with anyone.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose. Always wait at least 48 hours (two days) between injections.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you store this medicine at home, keep it at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • If you mix the powder and liquid together and can't give your shot right away, put the syringe or vial in the refrigerator. You can keep the medicine in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours. Do not freeze it.
  • After you have used 1 dose of this medicine from the vial, throw away any medicine left in the vial.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant may cause you to have a miscarriage. Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease, anemia, bleeding problems, depression, epilepsy or seizures (convulsions), or thyroid problems.
  • This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away.
  • Serious skin infections or reactions may occur while you are using this medicine. Call your doctor right away if you have soreness, redness, pain, bruising, or swelling where the shot is given.
  • This medicine may cause a serious type of allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; hoarseness; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine is made from donated human blood. Some human blood products have transmitted certain viruses to people who have received them. The risk of getting a virus from medicines made of human blood has been greatly reduced in recent years. This is the result of required testing of human donors for certain viruses, and testing during manufacture of these medicines. Although the risk is low, talk with your doctor if you have concerns.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Broken skin, sores, bruising, swelling, oozing, or severe pain where the shot is given.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Chest pain, shortness of breath, or troubled breathing.
  • Depression, thoughts of hurting yourself, or other unusual thoughts or behaviors.
  • Fast, slow, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Rapid weight gain.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Changes in menstrual periods.
  • Headache.
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Mild, short-term redness, pain, or swelling where the shot is given.
  • Mild stomach pain.
  • Problems with sex.
  • Rash.
  • Trouble with sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

         
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