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Avonex is a medication that doctors prescribe to treat people who suffer from relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is one of many autoimmune diseases that have an unknown cause and no known cure. There are several different medications now on the market that help treat various autoimmune diseases. Avonex is a medication people with multiple sclerosis take once a week in an effort to lessen flare-ups of the disease. During flare-ups symptoms and the disabling conditions get worse and new symptoms of the disease can develop. Preventing flare-ups is key to long-term treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Use of Avonex decreases the development of disabilities in those suffering from multiple sclerosis by approximately 37%. In a five-year study 90% of patients taking Avonex were still active and were still staving off disabilities.
Some people suffering with multiple sclerosis develop brain atrophy. Avonex cuts the rate of atrophy of the brain by approximately half in patients with multiple sclerosis. In addition to atrophy, multiple sclerosis causes lesions on the brain. Doctors examine lesions to determine the progression of multiple sclerosis in their patients. Brain lesions can affect a person's ability to perform everyday tasks. Studies show that Avonex to reduces the size of existing brain lesions and slows the formation of new brain lesions.
Patients should tell their doctor or pharmacist if they are allergic to albumin or of any other allergies that they have. Patients need to tell their doctor or pharmacist of their medically history, particularly history of mental disorders, heart disease, seizures, thyroid disease, liver disease and lower bone marrow function.
Patients should avoid alcohol or limit their alcohol intake while taking Avonex.
Pregnant women should not take Avonex. Avonex can cause harm to the unborn fetus of a pregnant woman taking Avonex or Avonex may cause miscarriage. Women who are breast-feeding should discuss their use of Avonex and the possibilities of the drug passing from the mother to the baby through breast milk.
Avonex treats multiple sclerosis. Avonex decreases the number of attacks or flare-ups that a patient with multiple sclerosis experiences. Avonex also slows the progression of multiple sclerosis is most patients with the disease.
Doctors inject Avonex once per week into a muscle.
Common side effects of Avonex include pain, swelling and or redness at the injection site. Other common side effects from the medication include headache, chills, fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Most of these symptoms occur within the first day of receiving the shot. The post-shot symptoms should subside within in a few months of starting Avonex and with continual use. Injecting the medication at night or before bed and taking pain and fever reducers can minimize the post-shot side effects.
Rare, but serious side effects include mood changes, hair loss, persistent fatigue, hair loss, vision changes, numbness or tingling of the hands, ankles and feet, muscle weakness, trouble breathing, sudden weight gain, gradual weight changes, cold or heat intolerance and irregular heartbeat.
Additional serious side effects include easy bruising or bleeding, signs of infection, yellowing of skin or eyes, persistent nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain and dark urine. Patients should seek immediate medical attention if they develop side effects that include chest pain or seizures.
Patients taking Avonex should tell their doctor or pharmacist of any and all medications they are taking including over the counter medications particularly telbizudine, hydroxyurea, theophyline and any other drugs that may harm the liver.
If patient suspects they may be suffering from an overdose of Avonex they should seek immediate medical treatment. The symptoms of an Avonex overdose are unknown to scientists and doctors at this time.
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