Nervous System Home > Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

Unusual bruising or bleeding, thyroid problems, frequent infections, and depression are some of the potentially serious side effects of interferon beta-1a that should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately. However, most people tolerate the drug well, and when side effects do occur, they usually do not require medical attention. Some of the more common interferon beta-1a side effects may include nausea, fatigue, and headache.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with interferon beta-1a (Avonex®, Rebif®); however, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with interferon beta-1a. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of interferon beta-1a side effects with you.)

Serious Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a

Some side effects with interferon beta-1a, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Depression (see Avonex and Depression or Rebif and Depression)
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Signs of liver problems, such as yellow eyes or skin (jaundice)
  • Infection at the site of an injection
  • Frequent infections, which may be a sign of low white blood cells
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding, which may be a sign of low blood platelets
  • Thyroid problems
  • Seizures
  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, or other signs of heart problems
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including unexplained rash, hives, itching, unexplained swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing or swallowing.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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