Rebif (interferon beta-1a)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: April 2023

Rebif® is an interferon beta indicated for the treatment of patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), or active secondary progressive MS. It is a disease-modifying drug (DMD). Interferon is a group of glycoproteins produced naturally in the body in response to viral infections.1

Rebif is given by subcutaneous injection (under the skin). The drug is intended to reduce the frequency and severity of relapses. This results in a delay in further physical disability.1

What are the ingredients in Rebif?

The active ingredient in Rebif is interferon beta-1a.1

How does Rebif work?

The way Rebif works is not well understood. It is thought to act by reducing inflammation and the immune response that attacks the body’s myelin.1

What are the possible side effects of Rebif?

Many clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of Rebif. The most common side effects experienced by those taking Rebif include:1

  • Injection site reactions
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Abdominal pain
  • Depression
  • Liver problems
  • Blood count changes

These are not all the possible side effects of Rebif. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Rebif. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Rebif.

Other things to know about Rebif

Before starting Rebif, talk with your doctor if you:1

  • Have a history of hypersensitivity to natural or recombinant interferon beta or human albumin, or any other component of the formulation
  • 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.
  • Have hepatic (liver) injury
  • Have a history of anaphylaxis
  • Experience injection site reactions
  • Have low blood counts
  • Have thrombotic microangiopathy (damage to small blood vessels in vital organs)
  • Have a history of seizures
  • Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, as there is limited information on the use of Rebif in pregnancy. Based on data from animal studies, it may harm unborn babies. It should be used only if the potential benefit of Rebif therapy exceeds risk to the fetus.
  • Develop new autoimmune disorders

People with the above conditions should be monitored closely while taking Rebif.1

Before beginning treatment for MS, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Rebif.

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