interferon beta-1b (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using interferon beta-1b (Betaseron, Extavia)?
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to interferons or human albumin.
Some patients using interferon medications have become very depressed or had thoughts of suicide. Stop using interferon beta-1b if you have symptoms of depression (sadness, crying, loss of interest in things you once liked) or if you have any thoughts of hurting yourself.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use this medication:
FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby, or may cause a miscarriage. Do not use interferon beta-1b if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.
It is not known whether interferon beta-1b passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Interferon beta-1b is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
How should I use interferon beta-1b (Betaseron, Extavia)?
Interferon beta-1b is given as an injection under the skin. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine at home.
Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Interferon beta-1b is injected into a skin area of the thigh, stomach, buttocks, or back of the upper arm. This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Interferon beta-1b is usually given as one injection at bedtime every 48 hours (2 days). Follow the directions on your prescription label. Try to use your injections at the same time each dosing day.
Interferon beta-1b is a powder that comes in a single-use vial (bottle) with a liquid (diluent) that must be mixed with the powder in the vial. Gently swirl but do not shake the vial after mixing the medicine. Allow any bubbles or foam to settle before drawing the medicine into a syringe.
If the medicine has changed colors or has any particles in it, call your doctor for a new prescription.
Do not draw your interferon beta-1b dose into a syringe until you are ready to give yourself an injection. Use a different place on your skin each time you inject this medication. Do not inject interferon beta-1b into the same skin area two times in a row.
Use each disposable needle only one time. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood and liver function will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your thyroid function may also need to be tested. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Store interferon beta-1b vials at room temperature away from moisture and heat. After mixing the medicine you should use it right away, or within 3 hours after mixing if you store it in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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