Betaseron Warnings and Precautions
Before taking Betaseron, warnings and precautions for the drug should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Tell him or her about existing conditions you have and other medicines you are taking before starting Betaseron. Warnings and precautions also include the safety of taking Betaseron if you have thyroid problems, seizure disorders, or depression and the possible risk of liver damage in some people.
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b) if you have:
- A blood disorder, such as anemia or low blood counts of any kind
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Depression or other mood disorders
- A seizure disorder or epilepsy
- Thyroid problems
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking Betaseron include the following:
- Rarely, Betaseron can cause dangerous allergic reactions. Report any symptoms of an allergic reaction (such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, itching, hives, and swelling) immediately to your healthcare provider.
- Interferon medications (including Betaseron) may increase the risk of depression (see Betaseron and Depression). Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you have depression or another mood disorder (such as bipolar disorder or manic depression) or if your depression seems to worsen while you are taking Betaseron.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you develop an open sore or an infection at the injection site. You may have to stop taking Betaseron in some cases.
- Betaseron can affect your liver function and can, in rare cases, cause liver damage. Check with your healthcare provider before taking Betaseron if you have liver disease of any kind. Your healthcare provider should monitor your liver enzymes (using a simple blood test) before you start the drug and periodically thereafter.
- Betaseron can decrease blood counts in some people, leading to low white blood cells (which increases the risk of infection), anemia, low platelets (which increases the risk of bleeding), or other problems. Your healthcare provider should make sure you do not develop these problems; a simple blood test can be used to determine this.
- Betaseron contains human albumin, which could theoretically transmit viruses or other infectious diseases (since it comes from human blood). However, there has never been such a case of infection being passed through albumin.
- There have been a few cases of worsening of congestive heart failure with this medication or other similar medications. If you have CHF and your symptoms worsen, contact your healthcare provider for further advice.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have a seizure disorder or thyroid problems, as Betaseron may make these problems worse.
- Betaseron can interact with a few other medications (see Betaseron Drug Interactions for more information).
- Betaseron is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe to take during pregnancy. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Betaseron during pregnancy (see Betaseron and Pregnancy).
- It is not known whether Betaseron passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Betaseron and Breastfeeding).