Treatment Guidelines for Rebif and Its Effects
Several studies have evaluated Rebif as an MS treatment. In one study, people who took the drug had fewer MS exacerbations, compared to people taking a placebo injection with no active ingredient. In addition, as many as 32 percent of those taking Rebif for two years did not experience any MS exacerbations, compared to only 15 percent of those taking the placebo. MRI brain scans showed that people had significantly fewer lesions after two years of taking Rebif, compared with those who took the placebo.
More importantly, one study compared Rebif to Avonex®, another MS treatment. More people taking Avonex had MS relapses, compared to those taking Rebif. Also, people taking Avonex had more brain lesions than those taking Rebif.
General considerations for when and how to take the medication include the following:
- Rebif comes in prefilled syringes or auto-injectors. It is injected subcutaneously (just under the skin) three times a week. You will start at a low dose and slowly work up to a full dose.
- Inject it on the same three days each week (for instance, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), making sure there are at least 48 hours between injections. Try to take the injections at the same time of the day, preferably in the late afternoon or evening.
- It is best to inject it into areas of the skin that have a layer of fat underneath. This includes the thigh, outer upper arm, stomach (away from the navel), or buttocks. Try to rotate the injection sites (do not inject in the same place twice in a row).
- Make sure your healthcare provider teaches you exactly how to inject Rebif. This includes how to prepare the skin, how to insert the needle and inject the medication, and what to do with your used needles (this may vary, depending on the local laws and regulations).
- Rebif comes in prefilled, premeasured syringes with needles attached. The needles are very thin, as the injection just needs to go under the skin, not into muscle.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. It will not work if you stop taking it.