Info on Avonex Effects and Treatment Instructions
Several studies have evaluated Avonex for MS treatment. In one study, Avonex significantly delayed the progression of MS (in terms of disability). After 104 weeks of Avonex injections, only 21.9 percent of people became persistently more disabled, compared to 34.9 percent of people who took a placebo (an injection with no active ingredient). Additionally, as many as 38 percent of those taking Avonex for two years did not experience any MS exacerbations, compared to only 26 percent of those taking a placebo. MRI brain scans showed that people had significantly fewer lesions after one and two years taking Avonex, compared with those who took the placebo.
General considerations for when and how to take the medication include the following:
- Avonex comes as an injection. It is injected into a muscle (intramuscularly) once a week.
- It does not matter if you take the medication with food or on an empty stomach. Also, it does not matter what time of the day you inject it (although it is a good idea to inject it at the same time each week).
- Avonex comes in prefilled syringes or in vials with dry powder that must be mixed first. If you will be using the vials, your healthcare provider should show you exactly how to mix the injection. It is important to follow the instructions carefully, in order to prevent contamination of the injection.
- If you and your healthcare provider desire, you (or a friend or relative) can give the injections. In this case, your healthcare provider should teach you exactly how to inject Avonex.
- The best places to inject Avonex are in the thighs (either on the tops or sides) or the upper arm. If you give the injections to yourself, you will not be able to use the upper arm. You should rotate injection sites, which means that you should not inject the same part of the body two weeks in row.
- The medication comes with a 23 gauge, 1.25 inch needle. If you and your healthcare provider prefer, you may use a thinner and shorter needle (25 gauge, 1 inch), although these must be purchased separately.
- Never shake Avonex (even when mixing the vials). Avonex is a delicate molecule that can be destroyed by shaking.
- Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the best ways to dispose of used needles and syringes in your area.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.