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Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

Common Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

Interferon beta-1a has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, the side effects that occur in a group of people taking the drug are documented and compared to side effects that occur in another group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
In these studies, the most common interferon beta-1a side effects (occurring in 20 to 92 percent of people) included:
  • Skin reactions at the injection site (such as redness or pain)
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms (such as fever or chills)
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Back pain
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • General body pain
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain).
Other common side effects (occurring in 2 to 20 percent of people) included:
  • A general ill feeling (malaise)
  • Coordination problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Bone pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Bladder control problems
  • Vision problems
  • Infections, such as bronchitis or a sinus infection
  • Toothache
  • Dizziness
  • Joint pain
  • Hair loss (see Avonex and Hair Loss)
  • Migraines
  • Flushing.

Final Thoughts on Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

You may experience some or none of the side effects of interferon beta-1a listed in this article. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell whether any particular side effect (such as nausea) is caused by interferon beta-1a or other factors. Therefore, make sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any side effects while taking interferon beta-1a or if something "just does not seem right." While it may not be a side effect of interferon beta-1a, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
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