Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is in the class of drugs called interferons. There are other treatments available that may sound similar, such as Avonex® (interferon beta-1a) and Plegridy® (peginterferon beta-1a), but they are not the same product. They may differ in many ways including formulation, method of delivery, frequency, and dose.

Head-to-head is the only way to compare

The only way to know if one drug is more effective than another is to evaluate them in the same study. Comparing one study against another is tricky because different studies may have different criteria such as: goals of study, ways data were evaluated, length of the study, and patient populations.

Did you know Rebif was proven superior to another relapsing MS treatment?

We compared Rebif to Avonex in a head-to-head study called EVIDENCE.* For an average of 64 weeks, Rebif 44 mcg was given to 339 people 3 times a week under the skin, with injections at least 48 hours apart. Avonex 30 mcg was given to 338 people once a week into the muscle.

The results were significant. High-dose, high-frequency Rebif was proven superior to low-dose, low-frequency Avonex in 2 important ways:

  1. Showed fewer flare-ups (relapses)

    More people on Rebif remained flare-up free than people on Avonex

Rebif vs Avonex evidence study chart
24 weeks
on treatment
64 weeks
on treatment
People on Rebif 44 mcg
(3 times a week under the skin)
People on Avonex 30 mcg
(1 time a week into the muscle)
  1. Showed fewer new or enlarging brain lesions on MRI

    More people on Rebif were free of Gd+T1 lesions than people on Avonex

24 weeks on treatment
People on Rebif 44 mcg
(3 times a week under the skin)
People on Avonex 30 mcg
(1 time a week into the muscle)

More people on Rebif showed no new or enlarging T2 brain lesions than people on Avonex

24 weeks
on treatment
64 weeks
on treatment
People on Rebif 44 mcg
(3 times a week under the skin)
People on Avonex 30 mcg
(1 time a week into the muscle)

The exact correlation between MRI findings and the current or future clinical status of patients, including disability progression, is unknown.

Rebif was proven to work better than another relapsing MS treatment in a class I clinical trial. In fact, the results of this study comparing Rebif with Avonex were one of the reasons the FDA approved Rebif. If you’re currently on Avonex and not doing as well as you expected, talk to your doctor about switching to Rebif.

* The EVIDENCE (EVidence for Interferon Dose-response: European North American Comparative Efficacy) trial was conducted entirely in North America and Western Europe.
Lesions detected with both Gd-enhanced/T1-weighted and PD/T2-weighted MRI.
According to the American Academy of Neurology, data from class I studies are collected under the highest scientific standards and are thought to be the most valid.

Important Safety Information

Compared with Avonex, side effects were generally similar. People taking Avonex had more flu-like symptoms than those taking Rebif. Additional differences included people taking Rebif had a greater number of injection-site reactions, elevated liver enzymes, and decreased white blood cell counts.

What’s the difference between safety and tolerability?

Did you know that Rebif further reduced flare-ups after the head-to-head (comparative) phase of the study ended?

When people who participated in the head-to-head phase of the EVIDENCE study were done, they were asked whether they wanted to continue taking Rebif or leave the study.

Those who chose to stay in the “extension phase” and changed from Avonex to Rebif had a 50% further reduction in flare-ups at 8 months. People who stayed on Rebif had a 26% further reduction in flare-ups at 8 months.

People who changed from Avonex to Rebif had a 50% further reduction at 8 months

People who stayed on Rebif had a 26% further reduction at 8 months

End of
head-to-head phase
Extension
phase
Extension
phase
End of
head-to-head phase
People on Rebif 44 mcg
(3 times a week under the skin)
People on Avonex 30 mcg
(1 time a week into the muscle)

Here’s how the extension phase of the EVIDENCE study worked

At the end of the head-to-head (comparative) phase of the EVIDENCE study, the 605 remaining people were asked if they wanted to leave the study or keep going in the “extension phase.” In this phase, everyone would receive Rebif 44 mcg 3 times a week. 495 people chose to participate in this phase of the study, which lasted an average of 8 months—73% of those taking Avonex 30 mcg chose to take Rebif 44 mcg—while 91% of those taking Rebif 44 mcg decided to stay with it.

Important Safety Information

Compared with Avonex, side effects were generally similar. People taking Avonex had more flu-like symptoms than those taking Rebif. Additional differences included people taking Rebif had a greater number of injection-site reactions, elevated liver enzymes, and decreased white blood cell counts; these events also occurred more frequently with Rebif post transition versus prior use of Avonex.

Most common side effects of Rebif include flu-like symptoms, injection site redness, pain, and swelling, changes in liver blood tests, and stomach pain.

Learn more about the Rebif safety profile

Val’s story: Understanding the data

Edress’s Story: Making a Choice

MS is a different kind of thing for everybody. I think you have to take a proactive stance, otherwise you become very reactive. And I don’t want to be that. I want to be ahead of the game.

I was a science major and I like data. So when I was first diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis, I wanted to make decisions based on proof. I went full force on research—my entire kitchen table was filled with pamphlets and pieces of paper. My husband said it looked like a frat house in a med school. And it really did.

So when I was doing all that research, one of the things that was important to me and my physician was the head-to-head trial with Avonex. The data really convinced me. It helped me and my physician choose Rebif.

Val V.Yoga teacher, MS LifeLines Ambassador, living with relapsing MS

This story reflects the personal experience of one person. Results and experiences vary from patient to patient.

Talk to someone who understands living with MS

 
Next: Safety profile
Important Safety Information and Indication

Important Safety Information

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Before beginning treatment, you should discuss the potential benefits and risks associated with Rebif with your healthcare provider.

Rebif can cause serious side effects. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms listed below while taking Rebif.

  • Behavioral health problems, including depression and suicidal thoughts. You may have mood problems including depression (feeling hopeless or feeling bad about yourself), and thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide
  • Liver problems or worsening of liver problems, including liver failure. Symptoms may include nausea, loss of appetite, tiredness, dark colored urine and pale stools, yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eye, bleeding more easily than normal, confusion, and sleepiness. During your treatment with Rebif you will need to see your healthcare provider regularly and have regular blood tests to check for side effects
  • Serious allergic and skin reactions. Symptoms may include itching, swelling of your face, eyes, lips, tongue or throat, trouble breathing, anxiousness, feeling faint, skin rash, hives, sores in your mouth, or skin blisters and peels
  • Injection site problems. Symptoms at the injection site may include redness, pain, swelling, color changes (blue or black), and drainage of fluid
  • Blood problems. Rebif can affect your bone marrow and cause low red and white blood cell and platelet counts. In some people, these blood cell counts may fall to dangerously low levels. If your blood cell counts become very low, you can get infections and problems with bleeding and bruising. Your healthcare provider may ask you to have regular blood tests to check for blood problems
  • Seizures. Some people have had seizures while taking Rebif

Rebif will not cure your MS but may decrease the number of flare-ups of the disease and slow the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS.

Do not take Rebif if you are allergic to interferon beta, human albumin, or any of the ingredients in Rebif.

Before you take Rebif, tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had any of the following conditions:

  • mental illness, including depression and suicidal behavior
  • liver problems, bleeding problems or blood clots, low blood cell counts, seizures (epilepsy), or thyroid problems
  • you drink alcohol
  • you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Rebif will harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant during your treatment with Rebif
  • you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Rebif passes into your breast milk. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you will use Rebif or breastfeed. You should not do both

Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements.

The most common side effects of Rebif include:

  • flu-like symptoms. You may have flu-like symptoms when you first start taking Rebif. You may be able to manage these flu-like symptoms by taking over-the-counter pain and fever reducers. For many people, these symptoms lessen or go away over time. Symptoms may include muscle aches, fever, tiredness, and chills
  • stomach pain
  • change in liver blood tests

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Rebif. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Refer to the Instructions for Use that comes with Rebif® Rebidose® (interferon beta-1a) autoinjector.

Indication

Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is used to treat relapsing forms of MS to decrease the frequency of relapses and delay the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS.