Rebif is used for treating multiple sclerosis. Specifically, it is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in people with relapsing forms of the disease. Healthcare providers may also sometimes recommend off-label Rebif uses, such as treating other forms of multiple sclerosis. The medication should not be used in people under the age of 18.
Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (also known as MS). It belongs to a group of medications known as interferons. As with other interferons, Rebif must be given by injection. It is injected subcutaneously (just under the skin) three times a week.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, affecting the brain and spinal cord, and is the leading cause of disability among young adults. There are four basic patterns or types of multiple sclerosis. The most common pattern is relapsing-remitting MS, which consists of episodes of symptoms that last for days or weeks, followed by a period of no symptoms for weeks or months. A less common pattern is progressive MS, a steady worsening of symptoms from the first sign of illness. The two other main forms of multiple sclerosis include secondary-progressive and progressive-relapsing. Rebif is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis in people with relapsing forms of the disease.
Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Loss of balance
- Blurred or double vision and/or eye pain
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness
- Fatigue (see Multiple Sclerosis Fatigue).
As the disease worsens, other possible symptoms include:
- Loss of bladder control
- Muscle stiffness, also known as spasticity (see Spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis)
- Depression (see Multiple Sclerosis and Depression)
- Memory loss.
It is important to understand that the multiple sclerosis prognosis can vary widely and that a multiple sclerosis diagnosis does not necessarily lead to a shorter life or to a life of disability. Not only are there treatments to help manage the symptoms, but there are also several new multiple sclerosis medications that actually alter the course of the disease. Rebif is one of these medications.