Nervous System Home > Interferon Beta-1a

Interferon beta-1a is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It is believed to work by decreasing nerve damage caused by MS. The medication is available in two forms: one that is injected into muscle once weekly and one that is injected just under the skin three times a week. Potential side effects include fatigue, headache, and flu-like symptoms.

What Is Interferon Beta-1a?

Interferon beta-1a (Avonex®, Rebif®) is a prescription multiple sclerosis (MS) medication. It is available in two forms. Avonex is injected into a muscle just once a week. Rebif is injected just under the skin three times a week.
(Click What Is Interferon Beta-1a Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with interferon beta-1a. 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. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of interferon beta-1a include but are not limited to:
  • Skin reaction at the injection site (such as redness, pain, or burning)
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms (such as fever and chills)
  • Fatigue.
(Click Side Effects of Interferon Beta-1a to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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