Injection-site reactions and flu-like symptoms are two of the most common side effects with Rebif® (interferon beta-1a), but there are others.
If you are experiencing injection-site reactions and flu-like symptoms, don't be discouraged. MS LifeLines® can give you tips and information that may help you manage these side effects. Read on for some tips that may help.
Potential serious side effects of Rebif include depression and risk of suicide, liver problems, risk to pregnancy, injection-site problems, and severe allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are rare and may be associated with difficulty in breathing and loss of consciousness, which require immediate medical attention.
Please see important safety information below and the Rebif Medication Guide and Prescribing Information in the top right corner of this website, and speak with your doctor for more information.
Injection-site reactions and tips that may help
Injection-site reactions refer to redness, pain, irritation and swelling that may occur at an injection site. It's one of the most common side effects experienced by people taking Rebif, but here are a few simple tips that may help you with injection-site reactions.
- Bring the syringe to room temperature. Removing the syringe from your refrigerator 1 to 4 hours before injecting may help to reduce irritation. Keep in mind that Rebif syringes should never be warmed in the microwave or placed in boiling water.
- Clean your injection site beforehand with antibacterial soap and water or alcohol swabs. If you use alcohol, allow the area to dry before injecting to reduce irritation.
- Rotate your injection sites! Be sure to rotate your sites each time, and don't reuse the same injection spot for at least 7 days. Your MS LifeLines treatment journal can help you to keep track of your injections.
- Apply an ice pack to the site for no more than 2 minutes before and after injecting. This can help to minimize discomfort. If ice doesn't help, try a warm compress instead.*
- Massage the area in a circular motion for at least 2 minutes after injection.*
- Monitor your injection site over several days for redness, swelling or tenderness. If the site worsens over time, contact your doctor.
- See how it's done. You can refresh yourself on proper injection technique by watching our easy-to-follow training video. Please click "Play" on the Rebif Injection Training Video to the right.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever/fever reducer as directed by your doctor.
- Taking one just before an injection may help to reduce flu-like symptoms.
- These medications are available without a prescription, but they can still have side effects; read dosing instructions carefully.
Find a time of day that works for you.
- Some people inject Rebif before bed, so they can sleep through some of their flu-like symptoms.
- Others find that injecting earlier in the day works best for them.
- Maintain a consistent injection schedule (3 times per week, at least 48 hours apart) as prescribed by your doctor.
*These tips have been recommended by some health care professionals. If you have questions or concerns, call your doctor.
Managing flu-like symptoms
Flu-like symptoms are a common side effect of Rebif and for those who get them, these symptoms can range from fever, chills and sweating to muscle aches and tiredness. For many people taking Rebif, flu-like symptoms tend to lessen or go away over time.
It's important to note that flu-like symptoms associated with Rebif are not caused by a viral infection. If you have questions or your symptoms don't lesson or go away over time, talk to your health care professional.
Here are some steps you can take that may help you manage flu-like symptoms:
These tips have been recommended by some health care professionals. If you have questions or concerns, call your doctor.