avonex-500x500Avonex is the trade name of interferon beta-1a and is used treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The beta-interferon cytokine in the drug is made from mammalian cells by means of recombinant DNA techniques. In a normal human body Beta-interferon is usually produced in response to various factors including infection by viruses.

When used in MS, Avonex suppresses inflammation of the neuron by reducing the number of inflammatory cells that enter the central nervous system. Since the cause of Multiple Sclerosis is inflammation the leads to destruction of myelin on the nerves, Avonex is quite effective in controlling the symptoms of MS.


Avonex when used by people with Multiple Sclerosis has various beneficial effects. These include:

  • Managing and controlling relapsing-remitting forms of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Slows down progression of disability in Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lowers the frequency of attacks in Multiple Sclerosis
  • Reduces the size and quantity of brain lesions that occur in Multiple Sclerosis
  • It is also advantageous for people at risk of developing clinically definite Multiple Sclerosis


Patients on Avonex usually self-inject the drug intramuscularly once a week. To facilitate easy administration pre-filled syringe (Avonex® PS) or pre-filled auto-injector (Avonex® Pen) are available to patients.
It is recommended that patients take about 30micrograms each week.


The commonest side effects of using Avonex to treat MS are:


  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating

A person with these symptoms may think that it’s a fever. However these symptoms have a tendency to improve over time.

Less common side effects of Avonex use include:

  • Blood, liver and thyroid dysfunction
  • Injection site reactions such as pain, swelling, discoloration and redness
  • Hypersensitivity or allergic reactions
  • Depression


People who have been put on Avonex have reported all or most of the following effects of using the treatment:

  • Long term treatment reduces exacerbation rate of Multiple Sclerosis after being on treatment for about a year
  • The occurrence and frequency of relapses was significantly decreased after being treatment for two years in most patients
  • Treatment for about two years with the drug dampened the progression of MS greatly
  • Clinicians demonstrated that the rate of development of brain lesions in patients on Avonex was markedly decreased
  • The survival of patients on the drug was positively increased with lowered mortality rate among these patients. They also claimed that the quality of their life was substantially improved when the begun using the drug
  • Patients on the drug claimed that it reduced the chances of complications such as heart and visual problems developing
  • The use of injections as may be expected did not sit well at first with many patients but with time they got used to it.