Interferon Beta-1b

Adult Medication

Brand Names: US

Betaseron; Extavia

Brand Names: Canada

Betaseron; Extavia

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat MS (multiple sclerosis).

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to interferon beta-1b or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.
This drug may interact with other drugs or health problems.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • If you have a latex allergy, talk with your doctor. Some products have latex.
  • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol.
  • This drug is not a cure for MS (multiple sclerosis). Stay under the care of your doctor.
  • This drug is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may have viruses that may cause disease. This drug is screened, tested, and treated to lower the chance that it carries an infection. Talk with the doctor.
  • A lot of times, reactions happen where the shot was given. Sometimes, very bad reactions may happen. Check with your doctor if you have any reaction that bothers you or does not go away. Call your doctor right away if you have any break in the skin, color changes (blue or black), swelling, or drainage of fluid where the shot was given.
  • Heart problems like heart failure may get worse with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat, a need to pass more urine at night, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, or tightness in the chest. Call your doctor right away if you are not able to exercise as much or if you cannot lay flat in bed.
  • Very bad health problems like thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura/hemolytic uremic syndrome (TTP/HUS) have happened with drugs like this one. Sometimes, this has been deadly. This has happened several weeks to years after starting treatment. Call your doctor right away if you feel very tired or weak or have any bruising or bleeding, change in balance, change in eyesight, change in how much urine is passed, dark urine, fever, pale skin, trouble speaking or thinking, weakness on 1 side of the body, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) is a condition that has happened while taking this drug. Sometimes CLS can be deadly. Tell your doctor if you get signs of CLS like change in the amount of urine passed; unable to pass urine; blood in the urine; a heartbeat that does not feel normal; chest pain or pressure; a fast heartbeat; shortness of breath; a big weight gain; throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; or if you have black, tarry, or bloody stools.
  • This drug may cause harm to the unborn baby or loss of the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
  • If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
  • Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Signs of kidney problems like unable to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, or a big weight gain.
  • Signs of lupus like a rash on the cheeks or other body parts, sunburn easy, muscle or joint pain, chest pain or shortness of breath, or swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Very bad irritation where the shot was given.
  • Swelling.
  • Seizures.
  • Change in balance.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Change in color of hands or feet from pale to blue or red.
  • Numbness, pain, tingling, or cold feeling of the hands or feet.
  • Any sores or wounds on the fingers or toes.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating. Mild pain drugs may help.
  • Belly pain.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Passing urine more often.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
  • Your doctor may teach you how to give the shot.
  • Follow how to use as you have been told by the doctor or read the package insert.
  • Move the site where you give the shot with each shot.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Do not shake.
  • Do not give into skin that is irritated, bruised, red, infected, or scarred.
  • Throw away any part not used after use.
  • Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
  • Do not use if solution changes color.
  • Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it. Then use your next dose about 48 hours later.
  • Do not use this drug 2 days in a row. If you use more than your doctor has told you or you use this drug 2 days in a row, call your doctor right away.
  • If you are not sure what to do if you miss a dose, call your doctor.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Follow how to store closely. Read the package insert that comes with this drug. If you have questions about how to store this drug, talk with your pharmacist.
  • Use right away after mixing or you may store in a refrigerator for up to 3 hours.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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