Extavia (interferon beta-1b)

Extavia® is a purified, sterile, lyophilized (freeze-dried) protein product produced by recombinant DNA techniques. This form of interferon beta 1-b is administered by subcutaneous injection (under the skin). It is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), active secondary progressive MS, and relapsing-remitting MS. The active ingredient in Extavia is interferon beta-1b.

Use of Extavia is intended to reduce the incidence of clinical exacerbations. An exacerbation is the appearance of a new clinical sign/symptom or the clinical worsening of a previous sign/symptom that persists for a minimum of 24 hours.

How does Extavia work?

The way Extavia works is not well understood. It is thought to act by reducing inflammation and the immune response that attacks the body’s myelin.

What are the possible side effects of Extavia?

Many clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of Extavia. The most common side effects experienced by those taking Extavia include:

  • Injection site reaction
  • Lymphopenia (low lymphocyte count)
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Leukopenia (low white blood cell count)
  • Neutropenia (low neutrophil levels in the blood)
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Headache
  • Hypertonia (spasticity and rigidity)
  • Pain
  • Rash
  • Insomnia (sleeplessness)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Asthenia (physical weakness)

Flu-like symptoms can generally be treated with over-the-counter pain relief medications.

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Extavia. For more information, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you notice any new or worsening side effects when taking Extavia, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Discuss your medical history and all concerns with your doctor

Before starting Extavia, talk with your doctor if you:

  • Have a history of hypersensitivity to natural or recombinant interferon beta, albumin or mannitol
  • Have a history of anaphylaxis
  • Have hepatic (liver) injury
  • Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, as there is limited information on the use of Exatavia in pregnancy. Extavia should be used only if the potential benefit of Extavia therapy exceeds risk to the fetus.
  • Have a history of depression or suicidal ideation. Any new symptoms of depression, suicidal ideation, and/or psychosis should be reported immediately to your doctor.
  • Are a congestive heart failure patient, who should be monitored for worsening symptoms
  • Have Thrombotic Microangiopathy (damage to small blood vessels in vital organs)
  • Experience development of new autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythematosus

Individuals with the above conditions should be monitored closely while taking Extavia.

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Written by Linda Saxl Minton | Last review date: July 2021