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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) indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

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. Extavia is prescribed for people with MRI results with features consistent with multiple sclerosis lesions.

Extavia is an interferon, glycoproteins produced naturally in the body in response to viral infections. Lyophilized Extavia is a sterile, white to off-white powder, injected after being reconstituted with the diluent solution supplied. Each vial contains albumin and mannitol.

What are the ingredients in Extavia?

The active ingredient in Extavia is interferon beta-1b.

How does Extavia work?

The way Extavia works is not well understood. It is an interferon which helps to control immune system activity. People taking Extavia have shown an increase in select immune system activity.

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)
  • Seizures

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.

Things to note about Extavia

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.

Dosing information

Extavia is administered by subcutaneous injection. It comes as 0.3 mg of lyophilized white to off-white powder in a single-use vial for reconstitution. Each vial contains albumin and mannitol It is recommended that the first dosage be administered under clinical supervision before ongoing shots are done independently or given at home. Injection sites should be rotated to minimize the chance of injection site reactions. Injections should not be administered where the skin is bruised, irritated or red, infected or scarred.

The recommended dose is 0.25 mg every other day. Extavia is generally titrated, starting with 0.0625 mg injected under the skin every other day; increase every 2 weeks by 0.0625 mg to the recommended dosage of 0.25 mg every other day. To prepare the injection the powder is reconstituted with the diluent solution supplied. Slowly inject 1.2 mL of diluent into the Extavia vial. Gently swirl the vial to dissolve the powder completely; do not shake it. If foaming occurs during reconstitution, or if the vial is swirled or shaken too vigorously, allow it to sit undisturbed until the foam settles. Be aware if you have latex allergies that the removable diluent cap contains natural rubber latex. If not used immediately refrigerate the reconstituted Extavia solution and use within 3 hours.

If you miss a dose of Extavia it should be taken as soon as possible on the same day, you should not take Extavia on two consecutive days. Safe disposal practices should be used for needles and syringes. Do not use vials that are cracked or damaged or reuse needles or syringes. Following the administration of each titrated dose, throw away any remaining product.

Written by Linda Saxl Minton | Last review date: July 2019
  1. EXTAVIA prescribing information available at: Accessed 4/11/18.