Extavia and Depression
In clinical studies, up to 30 percent of people reported depression while taking Extavia (interferon beta-1b) for multiple sclerosis. However, since a similar percentage of the placebo group also reported depression, it is unclear whether the medicine caused the depression. If you become depressed while taking this drug, talk to your healthcare provider.
Does Extavia Cause Depression?Extavia® (interferon beta-1b) is a prescription medication used for treating multiple sclerosis. Depression is one of the possible side effects of Extavia. This drug belongs to a group of medications known as interferons, and depression has been linked to other interferon medications as well, not just Extavia.
Depression With Extavia Use: What Does the Research Say?Clinical trials are designed to factor out many possible variables in order to measure the effectiveness and side effects of medications. During a study, some people are given the actual medication, while others are given a placebo, which looks exactly like the actual medication but does not contain any of the active ingredients.
Studies that use a placebo are known as "placebo-controlled" studies. Since Extavia is given by injection, the placebo in Extavia studies also used an injection, although it contained no active ingredient. In most studies, the people (and sometimes the healthcare providers) are "blinded," which means they do not know if they are using the real medication or the placebo.
In clinical studies, up to 30 percent of people taking Extavia reported having depression. However, a similar percentage of people taking a placebo also had depression. Because depression is common among people with multiple sclerosis, it is difficult to tell whether any given case is related to Extavia or not (see Multiple Sclerosis and Depression).
However, some factors, such as the timing of the onset of depression in relationship to the medication, may suggest that Extavia is or is not causing or contributing to a particular case of depression.