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Avonex PS is a disease-modifying drug used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Containing the highly potent interferon beta-1a, Avonex PS is able to delay the progression of physical disability while minimizing the risk of relapse. At the same time, it slows the onset of clinically definite multiple sclerosis. Avonex PS is a product of Biogen, Inc., a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that develops therapeutics for autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases.
Avonex PS is formulated with interferon beta-1a, a naturally-occurring protein in the body that has anti-proliferative and immunoregulatory properties. Although its mechanism of action is still not fully understood, it is believed that Avonex PS reduces IL-17, an interleukin that triggers the initial immune cascade in multiple sclerosis. Being a recombinant interferon, interferon beta-1a also enhances the activity of immune cells by modulating their responses to surface antigen.
Avonex PS is indicated for the management of relapsing multiple sclerosis:
Avonex PS is available as a liquid for injection in a 30mcg pre-filled syringe. The liquid for injection is also marketed as an auto-injector under the brand name Avonex Pen.
For adults, inject 30mcg intramuscularly once weekly
Start with a dose of 7.5mcg for the first week. Then, increase by 7.5mcg per week until the recommended weekly dose of 30mcg.
This list may not contain all the possible side effects.
See the following sections for more information on special warnings and precautions related to Avonex PS.
Avonex PS is contraindicated in:
This is not a complete list of interactions.
Keep the medication in a refrigerator, ideally between 2 to 8°C. Avonex PS can be kept at a room temperature of 15 to 30°C for up to a week. Protect from high temperatures. Do not freeze the drug. Avoid exposure to light.
Currently, there is no generic alternative to Avonex PS.
Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is an autoimmune disease in which the myelin sheaths are attacked by the body’s own immune system. This in turn results in symptoms such as numbness in limbs, tremor, loss of vision, slurred speech and unsteady gait. The etiology of multiple sclerosis is not fully known, and there is currently no cure for the disease. However, with the right treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms and change the course of disease.
Prior to injection, take Avonex PS out of the refrigerator and allow the syringe to be warmed to room temperature. Avoid using hot water or other external heat sources to warm it. The drug may deteriorate under heat.
Wipe the designated injection site using alcohol wipe and allow to dry. Remove the protective cover of the needle. Stretch out the skin around injection site using one hand and insert the needle at a 90° angle into the muscle with the other hand. Once inserted, push the plunger of the syringe slowly until the content is fully injected. Withdraw the needle while holding a gauze pad near the injection site. Apply pressure to the injection site for several seconds using the pad. Alternatively, gently rub the area in circular motion. Wipe off the blood and apply a bandage if needed. Discard used needle.
The intramuscular injection sites should be rotated between arms and upper thighs.
Continue to use Avonex PS even if you are not feeling better after treatment. Its benefits are not immediately apparent, and it takes some time before the therapeutic results are seen. Do not stop the treatment unless directed by the doctor.
Avonex PS is prescribed to manage the relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The interferon beta-1a injection is commonly used to reduce the frequency of flare-ups and the number of active brain lesions. Plus, it slows the progression of physical disabilities (which are common among patients with multiple sclerosis)
If you use too much of the drug, seek medical attention right away. Go to the nearest hospital or call a local poison control center immediately. Do so even if there are no signs of discomfort.
What if I miss a dose of Avonex PS?
If you forget to inject Avonex PS, do so as soon as you remember. However, if there are less than 48 hours left before the next dose, skip the missed dose and inject the next dose like you normally would. To prevent overdose, do not inject a double dose to make up for the missed dose. Do not use Avonex PS two days in a row.
Medication adherence can affect the treatment outcome. If you have difficulty adhering to the dosing schedule, ask your doctor for advice.