Peginterferon beta-1a

Peginterferon beta-1a is a modified form of interferon to treat patients with multiple sclerosis. It is injected every 14 days.

Peginterferon beta-1a Overview

Reviewed: December 12, 2014
Updated: 

Peginterferon beta-1a is a prescription medication used to treat patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Peginterferon beta-1a is a modified form of a protein, interferon, which works as part of the immune system. The mechanism by which peginterferon beta-1a exerts its effects in patients with multiple sclerosis is unknown.

This medication comes in injectable form and is injected directly under the skin every 14 days.

Common side effects of peginterferon beta-1a include injection site pain and redness, flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and joint pain.

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Uses of Peginterferon beta-1a

Peginterferon beta-1a is a prescription medication used to treat patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Peginterferon beta-1a Brand Names

Peginterferon beta-1a may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Side Effects of Peginterferon beta-1a

Serious side effects have been reported with peginterferon beta-1a. See the “Peginterferon beta-1a Precautions” section.

Common side effects of peginterferon beta-1a include the following:

  • injection site pain, itching, and redness
  • flu-like symptoms (common early in therapy)
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • chills
  • joint pain

This is not a complete list of peginterferon beta-1a side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

 

Peginterferon beta-1a Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

No drug interactions have been determined by the manufacturer. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

Peginterferon beta-1a Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with peginterferon beta-1a including the following:

  • Serious allergic reactions. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
    • itching
    • swelling of the face, eyes, lips, tongue, or throat
    • trouble breathing
    • feeling faint
    • anxiousness
    • skin rash
    • hives
    • skin bumps
  • Injection site reactions. Peginterferon beta-1a may cause redness, pain, or swelling at the place where your injection was given. Call your healthcare provider right away if an injection site becomes swollen and painful or the area looks infected and it does not heal within a few days.
  • Heart problems, including congestive heart failure. While peginterferon beta-1a is not known to have any direct effects on the heart, some people who did not have a history of heart problems developed heart muscle problems or congestive heart failure after taking interferon beta. If you already have heart failure, peginterferon beta-1a may cause your heart failure to get worse. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have worsening symptoms of heart failure such as shortness of breath or swelling of your lower legs or feet. Also tell your healthcare provider right away if you have or develop some or all of the following symptoms of heart problems:
    • low blood pressure
    • fast or abnormal heart beat
    • chest pain
    • heart attack
    • heart muscle problem
  • Autoimmune diseases. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have some or all of the following symptoms of an autoimmune disease:
    • easy bleeding or bruising
    • thyroid gland problems
    • autoimmune hepatitis
  • Blood problems and changes in your blood tests. Peginterferon beta-1a can decrease your white blood cells or platelets, which can cause an increased risk of infection, bleeding, or anemia and can cause changes in your liver function tests. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests while you use peginterferon beta-1a to check for side effects.
  • Seizures. Some people have had seizures while taking peginterferon beta-1a, including people who have never had seizures before.

​The most common side effects include: 

  • Flu-like symptoms. Many patients experience flu-like symptoms when they begin therapy with peginterferon beta-1a. These symptoms are not really the flu. You cannot pass it on to anyone else. Symptoms may include: headache, muscle and joint aches, fever, chills, or tiredness. You may be able to manage these flu-like symptoms by taking over-the-counter pain and fever reducers and drinking plenty of water. For many people, these symptoms lessen or go away over time.

Do not take peginterferon beta-1a if you:

  • are allergic to peginterferon beta-1a or to any of its ingredients
  • are allergic to natural or recombinant interferon  beta-1a

Peginterferon beta-1a Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of peginterferon beta-1a, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking peginterferon beta-1a, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions.

Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to peginterferon beta-1a or to any of its ingredients
  • have or have had mental illness, including depression or suicidal behavior
  • have or have had liver problems
  • have or have had heart problems
  • have or have had thyroid problems
  • have or have had blood disorders, including low blood cell counts or bleeding problems
  • have or have had seizures
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Peginterferon beta-1a and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Peginterferon beta-1a falls into category C. There are no well-controlled studies that have been done in pregnant women. Peginterferon beta-1a should be used during pregnancy only if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk to the unborn baby.

Peginterferon beta-1a and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if peginterferon beta-1a crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using peginterferon beta-1a.  

Peginterferon beta-1a Usage

Use peginterferon beta-1a exactly as prescribed.

Peginterferon beta-1a comes in injectable form and is injected directly under the skin every 14 days.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of peginterferon beta-1a at the same time.

Peginterferon beta-1a Dosage

Take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The dose your doctor recommends may be based on the following:

  • the condition being treated

The recommended dose/dose range of peginterferon beta-1a for the treatment of multiple sclerosis is 125 micrograms every 14 days. The dose of peginterferon beta-1a is increased slowly: the first dose of peginterferon beta-1a is 63 micrograms on day 1, and the second dose is 94 micrograms on day 15; the full dose of 125 micrograms should be administered on day 29 and thereafter.

A healthcare professional will train you on the proper technique for administering subcutaneous injections with a prefilled pen or syringe. Peginterferon beta-1a should be injected under the skin of your abdomen, the back of your upper arm, or thigh. Rotate the injection site with each administration of peginterferon beta-1a.

 

Peginterferon beta-1a Overdose

If you take too much peginterferon beta-1a, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If peginterferon beta-1a is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention.

Other Requirements

  • Store peginterferon beta-1a in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). Do not freeze. When you are ready to administer peginterferon beta-1a, the pen or syringe should be allowed to warm at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
  • If refrigeration is unavailable, peginterferon beta-1a may be store between 2°C and 25°C (36°F and 77°F) for no more than 30 days, if it is protected from light. Peginterferon beta-1a may be taken from and returned to the refrigerator as necessary. The total combined time out of refrigeration may not exceed 30 days.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.
  • Dispose of used peginterferon beta-1a pens and syringes in a hard plastic sharps container.