Rebif Warnings and Precautions
To help ensure safe treatment with Rebif, warnings and precautions for the drug should be discussed with a healthcare provider. For example, Rebif can worsen certain conditions, including thyroid problems, depression, and liver disease, so tell your healthcare provider about all your existing conditions before taking Rebif. Warnings and precautions also apply to people who are allergic to any components of the medication.
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) if you have:
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Depression or other mood disorders
- A seizure disorder or epilepsy
- Thyroid problems
- 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 Rebif include the following:
- In rare cases, the medication can cause liver damage. In some cases, the liver damage was severe enough to require a liver transplantation. You may be at higher risk for this side effect if you already have liver disease or if you are a heavy alcohol drinker.
- Interferon medications (including Rebif) may increase the risk of depression (see Rebif 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 Rebif.
- In rare cases, Rebif 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.
- Rebif can decrease blood counts in some people, leading to low levels of white blood cells (which increases the risk of infection), anemia, low levels of platelets (which increases the risk of bleeding), or other problems. Your healthcare provider should make sure that you do not develop these problems by using a simple blood test.
- The medication 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.
- Let your healthcare provider know if you have a seizure disorder or thyroid problems, as Rebif may make these problems worse.
- Rebif can interact with a few other medications (see Rebif Drug Interactions).
- Rebif 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 the drug when pregnant (see Rebif and Pregnancy).
- It is not known whether Rebif 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 Rebif and Breastfeeding).