Betaseron

1 What is Betaseron?

Brand: Betaseron, Extavia

Generic: Interferon Beta - 1b

Interferon Beta – 1b, also known and sold under the trade names of Betaseron and Extavia, is a product which is used in the treatment of the symptoms caused by Multiple Sclerosis.

This product does not cure Multiple Sclerosis, just helps by decreasing the symptoms that this disease is causing.

Interferon Beta – 1b is the same as the protein, known as interferon, which is product constantly in the body. It is considered to work by affecting the body’s immune system. It is available in the forms of powder and solution.

2 What to Know Before Using

Before the decision to start the treatment with this product is made, it is very important to get informed about the expected beneficial effects, as well as about the possible side effects and potential risks. In the decision making process, it is essential that the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.

This is a decision that you and your doctor, together, will have to make. It is important that during the consultations with your doctor, to inform the doctor about:

  • Allergies – Inform the doctor about any allergic reactions to any kind of medications, prescribed or no prescribed. Also, inform the healthcare professional about any allergic reactions to any specific kind of food, dye, fabric and etc.
  • Pediatric – There are no studies that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used within pediatric patients. Because of this, it should be used only when the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
  • Geriatric – Proper studies have shown that there are no age-connected risks when this medicine is used within geriatric patients. However, because of the increased sensitivity that is more common within the elderly, it should be used with extra caution.
  • Pregnancy – Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant or have any plans about pregnancy in the near future. There are no studies that would confirm the safety of this medicine to be used during pregnancy. It is unknown how would it affect the infant. Because of this, it should be used only in cases where the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
  • Breastfeeding – Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. There are no studies that would confirm the safety of this medicine to be used within nursing mothers. It is unknown if it passes in the milk, or how would it affect the infant. Because of this, it should be used only in cases when the beneficial effects outweigh the potential risks.
  • Drug interactions – Inform the doctor if you are currently using any other medications, prescribed or no prescribed, even vitamins and herbal tea. This is important because certain medications should not be used in a combination with others. However, sometimes the doctor may decide to use a certain type of a combination which includes two or more medications, if he or she considers that combination to prove as beneficial in regard to your condition.
  • Other interactions – Certain medications should not be used in a combination with specific kind of food, tobacco and/or alcohol. Because of this, it is important to get informed if there is a need for you to follow any specific type of diet, and/or discontinue you use of tobacco and/or alcohol.
  • Other medical problems – Inform the doctor about your medical history, any other medical problems and conditions from the past or at the moment. Especially, inform the doctor if there are any of the following medical conditions present – blood or bone marrow problems, congestive heart failure, depression, liver problems, seizures, infections, or thyroid problems.

3 Proper Usage

This medication is given subcutaneously, with a needle which would apply the medication under the skin. This medication is usually given by a healthcare professional at the hospital, by you as well could be trained to give yourself the medication at home.

For proper use, follow the directions given by your doctor or healthcare professional. It is important to change the area where you inject the medicine. The usual places are – the abdomen, thighs, upper arms, and buttocks.

The dose is individual for every patient, prescribed by the doctor, and based on your condition and the response to the treatment. The usual dose is one injection, every other day.

Use it regularly in order to get the most beneficial effects from it. If you forget a dose, use it as soon as you remember. Do not double to catch up. If an overdose is suspected, inform the doctor as soon as possible.

4 Precautions to Take

Visit your doctor at you scheduled appointments, so that he or she would be able to track your condition and make any adjustments if necessary. These adjustments may refer to the dose – the doctor may decide to increase or decrease the dose, or to the treatment itself – based on the side effects, the doctor may decide to discontinue your treatment with this product.

Inform the doctor about any allergic reaction to any kind of medication, prescribed or no prescribed. This is important because this product may contain inactive substances that could cause certain interactions to occur.

Inform the doctor if you are currently pregnant. This is important because the doctor will probably decide not to treat you with this medication, because of the lack of studies that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used during pregnancy.

If you have plans about pregnancy in the near future, the doctor will probably recommend a proven form of birth control to help prevent pregnancy.

Inform the doctor if you are currently breastfeeding. This is important because the doctor will probably decide not to treat you with this medication, because of the lack of studies that would confirm the safety of this medication to be used within nursing mothers.

5 Potential Side Effects

Along with its expected beneficial effects, there are possible side effects that could occur. These side effects do not occur within all patients, also they could be mild or more serious.

Based on the side effects, the doctor may decide to make certain adjustments regarding the dose or to discontinue the treatment itself, if there are any serious side effects present. Because of this, it is essential to get informed about the potential side effects, so that you would be able to notice their presence and inform the doctor as soon as possible.

  • Common side effects – injection site reactions (pain/swelling/redness), abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, upset stomach, or nausea. These side effects are considered to be common and not serious. However, if they persist or worsen, inform the doctor right away.
  • Serious side effects – mood changes, unusual tiredness, unexplained decreased weight, easy bleeding/bruising, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, seizures, stomach/abdominal pain, dark urine, swelling of the ankles/feet, or yellowing of the eyes/skin. If you notice any of these side effects, inform the doctor right away.

Some patients experience the usual symptoms of the flu – headache, fever and chills, and muscle aches. These side effects usually disappear within 1 day after the injection is given. But, if these symptoms persist or worsen, inform the doctor as soon as possible.

A very serious allergic reaction is not common, but if you notice any of the following symptoms, inform the doctor right away – skin rash, itching/swelling of the hands, feet, face, tongue, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

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