Multiple Sclerosis Home > Extavia

Extavia is a medication prescribed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, a condition often considered an autoimmune disease. The drug is believed to work by limiting this immune system response, decreasing damage to the nerves. It is given as an injection every other day. Possible side effects include headaches, weakness, and skin reactions at the injection site.

What Is Extavia?

Extavia® (interferon beta-1b) is a prescription medication approved to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) in adults.
(Click Extavia Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes This Medication?

Extavia is made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

How Does Extavia Work?

Extavia is a manufactured version of interferon and is almost identical to a naturally occurring human interferon. Interferons are naturally occurring proteins or glycoproteins (proteins attached to carbohydrates). In humans, they are produced by cells in response to certain situations, such as viral infections, and often play a key role in the immune system.
At this time, it is not fully understood how Extavia works to treat MS. Although the exact causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown, it is often considered an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the protective coating around nerve fibers. It is thought that Extavia may work by limiting this immune system response, decreasing the damage to the nerves.
Because Extavia is a protein, it would be broken down and destroyed by the digestive system if taken by mouth. For this reason, the medication must be injected to bypass the digestive tract.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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