Avonex warning

A board to discuss the Multiple Sclerosis modifying drug Avonex

Avonex warning

Postby HarryZ » Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:44 pm

The FDA and Biogen IDEC have made a joint press release warning of possible severe liver damage to those who use Avonex. For more details please go to this site:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=s ... _biogen_dc


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Postby JFH » Thu Mar 17, 2005 6:18 am

As I understand it Avonex and Rebif are the same animal (Crustacean :) ) differing only in dosage and frequency.

Do people here think that the same warning would be applicable to Rebif?
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Postby HarryZ » Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:02 am

JFH,

JFH wrote:As I understand it Avonex and Rebif are the same animal (Crustacean :) ) differing only in dosage and frequency.

Do people here think that the same warning would be applicable to Rebif?


That's a very good question. I'm not sure what the label reads on Rebif but I do know that it is the most potent interferon.

As long as the patients' docs test them on a regular schedule while on these drugs, the problem can be caught early and rectified. But we know by the very comments of users on the net that this isn't always the case.

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Postby LindaR » Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:17 am

I do believe the same warning is already on Rebif. This is one of the known possible side effects of the interferons. That is why it is important for you to have your blood tested every 3 months when taking these medications. This is one of the first things my neurologist stressed with me.
The following is from an article in USA Today regarding the warning:

"Avonex, the No. 1-selling drug for treating multiple sclerosis, might cause liver failure in rare cases and will carry a stronger warning label, the Food and Drug Administration and maker Biogen Idec (BIIB) said Wednesday.

The stronger warning will match one already on rival drug Rebif and underscores dangers that have long been known with that class of drugs, doctors say."
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in conjunction with other drugs that affect the liver......

Postby texas_jim » Thu Mar 17, 2005 2:08 pm

i was thinking outloud.... isn't alcohol considered a drug that affects the liver???


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News: FDA: Avonex can cause Severe Liver Injury

The FDA and Biogen today jointly issued a warning that Avonex can cause severe liver injury, including liver failure, when used in conjunction with other drugs that affect the liver. "In post-marketing experience severe hepatic injury, including cases of hepatic failure, has been reported rarely in patients taking AVONEX. In some cases, these events have occurred in the presence of other drugs that have been associated with hepatic injury. The potential for hepatic injury should be considered when AVONEX is used in combination with other products associated with hepatic injury, or when new agents are added to the regimen of patients already on AVONEX."

The company is revising the drug's label to include the new warning.

Two black eyes for BiogenIdec in two weeks... no eyes left for March, and we're only yet in the ides!

Click "read more" to get the advisory...
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Postby JFH » Fri Mar 18, 2005 3:47 am

Jim

Alcohol is explicitly mentioned.
The potential risk of Avonex used in combination with known hepatotoxic drugs or other products (e.g. alcohol) should be considered prior to Avonex administration, or when adding new agents to the regimen of patients already on Avonex.
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Liver

Postby treez » Fri Mar 18, 2005 6:34 am

That is exactly why the precriber of any Beta-interferons is supposed to keep an eye on your liver enzymes(blood test). Frequency could be as follows: Baseline before starting, after the first 3 months of treatment. Then.........if normal every 6 months. If elevated but still in safe levels, in another 3 months to see what's happening.

This is just a suggestion though.

After all, this is not intended to be medical advise :)

I may add, anything that is working the liver overtime will add to potention problems. IE: Many meds including TYLENOL, alcohol, etc.etc.

This is probably the most dangeroous side effect of tylenol. Being an over the counter med, most people don't recognize the potential seriousness of this.


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Postby LindaR » Fri Mar 18, 2005 8:57 am

You mention Tylenol, but how about Advil? Anyone taking Avonex knows that they have to pre-medicate themselves with Advil before, during and after to minimize the side effects. What stinks is that I found taking one 8-hour Tylenol before bed really helps with my side effects but now knowing about the problems with Avonex I won't be taking that any more.
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Postby MOMTO3 » Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:00 am

JUST TO ADD -IN, I HAVE BEEN ON AVONEX FOR 9 MONTHS, NOT ONCE DID MY NEURO EVER DO A BLOOD TEST. AFTER READING THIS I WENT AND ASKED MY PCP, FOR A BLOOD TEST, THANKFULLY ALL CAME BACK OK. I USED TO TKE TYLENOL B4 SHOT AND TYLENOL PM AFTER BUT FOUND I STILL WOKE NEXT DAY FEELING LIKE CRAP I RECENTLY(ABOUT A MONTH OR SO) STARTED TAKING MOTRIN, FOUND IT HELPS ALOT MORE. I TAKE 2 30 MINS B4 SHOT AND THEN 2 MORE 4 HRS LATER AND THATS IT
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naprelan

Postby texas_jim » Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:34 am

my neuro has offered to write me a script for naprelan (which is just a time-released form for naproxen). none of the NSAIDS are good for your liver (especially with alcohol) there are warning labels on the bottles.

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Is 5 advil per week safe?

Postby batpere » Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:11 am

LindaR wrote:You mention Tylenol, but how about Advil? Anyone taking Avonex knows that they have to pre-medicate themselves with Advil before, during and after to minimize the side effects. What stinks is that I found taking one 8-hour Tylenol before bed really helps with my side effects but now knowing about the problems with Avonex I won't be taking that any more.


I was taking Tylenol PM every night for several years to help me sleep before the neuropsych doctor said that could be causing some of the cognitive problems, so I haven't taken it for 5 months now at all. Advil has worked so much better than Tylenol ever did. But all these are NSAIDs. Am I safe taking just 1 Advil before the shot, two before bed, and one the next morning and possibly another during the next day, for a total of 5 a week? I drink only water and milk, never any alcohol or soda, so I'm not taxing my liver that I know of.

I tried Aleve to get the longer-lasting effect, but it didn't seem to work any better than Tylenol (which didn't work very well).
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Liver

Postby treez » Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:34 pm

I certainly didn't mean to cause anxieties here!!

I guess the biggest thing to remember is "every body is different" I did mean that to be two words.

For comparison sake: If you are a heavy drinker, take maximum doses of any NSAID's frequently, and use an interferon med., you are generally going to be more at risk for liver problems than someone who doesn't drink, seldom uses NSAID's or uses them minimally, and doesn't take a bunch of other "stuff". Our Liver what ultimately deals with all of these foreign substances, the more you take, the harder it works and at some point if you keep adding more and more it is going reach that point of overworked.

Avonex users..........that is a once a week med. correct? If you take a tylenol only@ time of injection compaired to someone who is constantly popping them for every ache and pain...well you figure it out.

I thought bloodwork for Liver enzymes was pretty standard among Neuros. apparently that may not be the case. Chalk one up for my Neuro. at least.

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