Do you have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are on treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) and have questions about COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccines, contact your healthcare provider for answers and guidance. It is very important to continue taking your MS medicine as prescribed and to follow your healthcare provider’s treatment directions.

For additional information, there are helpful online resources that address the question of whether people with MS should get a COVID-19 vaccine, including the National MS Society and the The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. To learn more about your vaccination options, talk with your healthcare provider.

US-REB-00324 04/2021

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

We have the answers

Want to know more about taking Rebif® (interferon beta-1a)? This is the place to find answers to many common questions.

The following information is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your condition or Rebif®.

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Multiple Sclerosis and Treatment

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself. Specifically, the immune system attacks the coating (the myelin sheath) on nerves in the brain, spinal cord, and eye area, which can cause scarring of the nerves and prevent the nerves from communicating effectively. This communication breakdown can lead to symptoms of MS, including problems with movement, walking, and vision.  While the exact cause of MS is unknown, some healthcare providers believe MS to be triggered by underlying problems with the immune system, or by infection, although MS is not itself contagious. 

RMS includes the following types of MS: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), and active secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Read more about relapsing MS.

CIS is a single episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system.

RRMS—the most common MS disease—is characterized by clearly defined attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms. These attacks—also called relapses, exacerbations, or flare-ups—are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery (remissions). During remissions, all symptoms may disappear, or some symptoms may continue and lead to permanent damage. However, there is no apparent progression of the disease during periods of remission. At different points in time, RRMS can be further characterized as either active (with relapses and/or evidence of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activity) or not active, as well as worsening (a confirmed increase in disability over a specified period of time following a relapse) or not worsening. Approximately 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS.

A relapse is an event lasting more than 24 hours when old symptoms worsen or new ones appear. Relapses may occur at any time, usually without warning, and can be mild or severe. In relapsing MS, relapses are followed by a long or short period of time when symptoms completely or partially go away.

Over time, MS can lead to permanent brain and spinal cord damage. This damage builds up, eventually leading to increasing levels of disability.

The American Association of Neurology (AAN) says that using a disease-modifying therapy (DMT) can be better than letting MS run its course without treatment. So, you should speak with your healthcare provider to determine if starting treatment is right for you.

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Choosing a Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (RMS) Therapy

Many people on disease-modifying therapies for MS wonder if they’re working, because the results can be hard to see. Whatever you do, don’t stop taking your medicine because you don’t think it’s working or because you don’t think you need it anymore. Talk to your doctor to find out whether the treatment is still right for you.

Choosing the right treatment and staying on therapy can help. Rebif® is clinically proven to reduce the frequency of MS relapses (vs placebo and another RMS drug). Ask your healthcare provider if Rebif® is right for you.

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Rebif® Overview

Rebif® is a brand name for a product called interferon beta-1a. Interferons belong to a family of proteins that occur naturally in the body. Rebif® will not cure MS, but it has been shown to decrease the number of relapses and slow the occurrence of some of the physical disability that is common in people with MS. Rebif® can cause serious side effects, so before you start taking it, you should talk with your healthcare provider about the possible benefits of Rebif® and its possible side effects to decide if it is right for you.

In the 2-year PRISMS* study, Rebif® was proven to be effective in treating RMS in 3 ways:

  • Reduced the number of relapses
    People taking Rebif® 44 mcg (n=184) had 32% fewer relapses than those who took a placebo (n=187).
  • Slowed the time to disability progression
    Patients taking Rebif® 44 mcg (n=184) took nearly twice as long (21.3 months) to show sustained disability progression compared to those (n=187) taking placebo (11.9 months).
  • Fewer new or enlarging brain lesions visible on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    At 9 months, people taking Rebif® 44 mcg (n=184) had 78% fewer lesions compared to patients taking placebo (n=187).

See more study results showing the efficacy of Rebif®

*PRISMS: Prevention of Relapses and Disability by Interferon β-1a Subcutaneously in Multiple Sclerosis.
†Progression of disability was defined as an increase of at least 1 point in the EDSS that was sustained for at least 3 months.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Rebif® can cause serious side effects. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following while taking Rebif®: behavioral health problems, including depression and suicidal thoughts; liver problems or worsening of liver problems, including liver failure; serious allergic and skin reactions; injection site problems; blood problems; or seizures.

Yes, Rebif® has been proven to work better than Avonex® (interferon beta-1a).

In the EVIDENCE* study — a head-to-head (comparative) analysis of more than 600 participants over an average of a 64-week period— high-dose, high-frequency Rebif® (44 mcg three times weekly) proven superior to low-dose, low-frequency Avonex® (30 mcg once weekly). Specifically, more people taking Rebif®:

  • were relapse-free than those taking Avonex®
  • showed fewer new or enlarging MRI brain lesions than those taking Avonex®

While the side-effects between the two treatments were generally similar, people taking Avonex® had more flu-like symptoms than those taking Rebif®, though those on Rebif® had a greater number of injection site reactions, liver disorders, and white blood cell disorders.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about titration when first starting on Rebif®. Titration means starting at a lower dose and then gradually building up to the full dose. This may help reduce flu-like symptoms when you're first starting on Rebif®.

See more results from the head-to-head study

*EVIDENCE: EVidence for Interferon Dose-response: European North American Comparative Efficacy.

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Safety Information for Rebif®

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, and more 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, etc. 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® 

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.

Do not take Rebif® if you:

  • are allergic to interferon beta, human albumin, or any of the ingredients in Rebif®. See the end of the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in Rebif®

Before you take Rebif®, tell your healthcare provider if 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)
  • thyroid problems
  • you drink alcohol
  • you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Rebif® can harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant during your treatment with Rebif®
  • you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Rebif® may pass into your breast milk. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby if you take Rebif®

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

  • Rebif® and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of these medicines if you are not sure
  • Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine
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How to Take Rebif®

Rebif® is injected under the skin 3 times weekly, 48 hours apart. There are 3 options for how to inject Rebif®:

  • Prefilled syringes that already contain medicine and do not require assembly or adjustment
  • The Rebiject II® autoinjector, which works with the prefilled syringe and allows for subcutaneous needle depth adjustment
  • Rebif® Rebidose® (interferon beta-1a), which is a preassembled, prefilled, single-use autoinjector

Rebif® should only be self-injected following proper training from a medical professional. Call 1-877-447-3243 to learn about potential remote field nurse injection training from MS LifeLines®.

Learn more about the 3 injection options

Rebif® injections should be taken 3 times a week. Injections should be taken at the same time of day, at least 48 hours apart. Many people choose to take their injections on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that they have injection-free weekends.  To keep track of your injection days and injection sites, you can use a treatment journal.  Download your own treatment journal

Rebif® Rebidose® is a preassembled, single-use autoinjector for taking Rebif®.

  • No assembly required
  • Portable, goes where you go
  • Covered needle before and after the injection
  • Flexible dosing options (44 mcg and 22 mcg)

Learn more about Rebif® Rebidose®

Rebif® should be stored refrigerated between 36 °F and 46 °F (2 °C and 8 °C). Do not freeze. If a refrigerator is not available, Rebif® may be stored between 36 °F and 77 °F (2 °C and 25 °C) for up to 30 days and away from heat and light. At the beginning of Rebif® treatment, your healthcare provider may prescribe a titration phase to gradually increase to the intended dosage.

You should only use Rebif® Rebidose® after you have received proper training from a medical professional. An MS LifeLines® Nurse may be able to provide injection training for you in the comfort of your home. Call 1-877-447-3243 to learn more.

Learn more or watch an injection training video

Your healthcare provider may teach you and/or your care partner the proper way to inject Rebif®. In many areas, you can also arrange to have an MS LifeLines® Nurse visit your home, at no charge, to provide injection training for Rebif®. Just call MS LifeLines® toll-free at 1-877-447-3243 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET, and Saturday, from 9 AM to 5 PM ET.

Do not give yourself an injection until you are comfortable with the dosing and injection process.

 

Do not heat or microwave the medication. You can allow Rebif® to reach room temperature gradually before use (typically 1 to 4 hours before the injection). Doing this may help minimize injection site discomfort.

Remember to temporarily store your Rebif® somewhere safe and out of the way. Keep away from heat and light. Room temperature should be under 77 °F (25 °C) and above 36 °F (2 °C).

If you miss an injection, you should take your next injection as soon as you remember or are able to take it, then skip the following day. Do not take Rebif® on 2 consecutive days. If you accidentally take more than your prescribed dose, or take it on 2 consecutive days, call your healthcare provider right away.

If you accidentally take the wrong dose, call your healthcare provider right away.

Store Rebif® in the refrigerator between 36 °F and 46 °F (2 °C and 8 °C). If a refrigerator is not available, it may be stored between 36 °F and 77 °F (2 °C and 25 °C) for up to 30 days, away from heat and light. Do not freeze Rebif® or inject Rebif® that you suspect has been frozen.

Don’t dispose of Rebif® injectors in household trash. As the disposal of hazardous waste (such as needles, syringes, and Rebif® Rebidose® autoinjectors) varies according to local laws, consult with your doctor on proper practices. Healthcare providers may provide you with a sharps container for immediate disposal of autoinjectors after use. If you do not have a sharps container, you can use a household container that is:

  • made of a heavy-duty plastic,
  • can be closed with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant lid, without sharps being able to come out,
  • upright and stable during use,
  • leak-resistant, and
  • properly labeled to warn of hazardous waste inside the container.
  • Once your container is full, dispose of it according to your community guidelines. Do not recycle your container, and keep it out of reach of children.

    See more information about disposal

    To determine how to dispose of hazardous waste in your state, visit the FDA website.

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Living with Rebif®

If you will be spending time away from home, you should take your Rebif® with you. First, pack the supplies that you'll need for your trip. A handy travel kit that can carry all of your injection supplies is available for free through the MS LifeLines® support program by calling 1-877-447-3243. If a refrigerator is not available while you are traveling, Rebif® may be stored stored between 36 °F and 77 °F (2 °C and 25 °C) for up to 30 days and away from heat and light. For this reason, the travel kit provides a reusable ice pack to help maintain Rebif® syringes at the correct temperature while you travel.

Rebif® should be stored refrigerated between 36 °F and 46 °F (2 °C and 8 °C). Do not freeze. You should check the temperature of the refrigerator that you are using while traveling to avoid unintentionally freezing Rebif®. For small hotel refrigerators, store Rebif® away from the unit's cooling element and small freezer compartment.

If you are traveling by car, don't leave Rebif® on the dashboard, in the glove compartment, or in the trunk. This is important even if you have it in the insulated pack provided in the travel kit. Keep your syringes with you in the climate-controlled area of the car.

If you are flying, plan to carry your Rebif® syringes with you onboard in your carry-on luggage. Be sure to check the latest TSA regulations regarding traveling with injectable medicines. These are subject to change and may require certain documentation.

If you become pregnant while taking Rebif®, you should call your doctor right away. It is not known if Rebif® can harm your unborn baby.

Yes. When it comes to helping you start and stay on Rebif® therapy, MS LifeLines® is committed to finding affordable access. There are a number of programs available, including as little as $0 co-pay for those eligible. To see if you're eligible for these programs, call 1-877-447-3243, to speak with an MS LifeLines® Financial Support Specialist, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET, and Saturday, 9 AM to 5 pm PM.

Attention Patients: Federal and state healthcare program beneficiaries are not eligible for the MS LifeLines® $0 co-pay program. If you participate in a federal or state healthcare program, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, or any other similar federal or state healthcare program, including any state medical pharmaceutical assistance program, you are not eligible to utilize the MS LifeLines® $0 co-pay program.

 


IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION AND INDICATION

Important Safety Information

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
  • you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Rebif may pass into your breastmilk. Talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby if you take Rebif

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. 

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Indication

Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is a prescription medicine used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.