Alcohol and Rebif

A board to discuss the Multiple Sclerosis modifying drug Rebif

Alcohol and Rebif

Postby Bubba » Sun Mar 08, 2009 9:08 pm

I have yet another question about Rebif... I heard that you cannot consume beer while taking Rebif. I went to their website and couldnt find anything on that. Does anyone know? I am not an acoholic by any means, however I like to drink beer on my days off. I am trying to impact my life as little as possible. So, from what I was told, you can drink beer on copax but not on Rebif.... Anyone ever hear of that? I suppose I could call them. I am just trying to cover all my angles before starting therapy. I want to make an informed decision....
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Re: Alcohol and Rebif

Postby NHE » Mon Mar 09, 2009 2:33 am

I can't give you any definite answer to your question. A potential side effect from Ifn-B therapy is that it can be hard on your liver and elevate your liver enzymes in your blood. This is evidence that your liver is under stress. Alcohol also puts the liver under stress (as can be seen in the extreme case of cirrhosis). Combining both alcohol and Ifn-B can increase your risk of elevated liver enzymes. I suspect that moderate alcohol consumption may be ok. Personally, I wouldn't know; I don't consume alcohol for other reasons. I can tell you that when you begin Ifn-B therapy, you should get your blood tested about once a month at first and then about once a year after the first 6 months or so. My yearly tests always include a complete blood count (CBC) and a liver enzyme assay. I've never had elevated liver enzymes due to Ifn-B but there are other members of the forum that have experienced that and have had to go off of Ifn-B. My best recommendation is talk to your doctor about it and be as truthful as possible regarding your alcohol consumption. For example, for some folks "a little beer" is a six pack a night while for others "a little alcohol" might be a glass of wine with dinner. In any case, if you decide to start Ifn-B, then you should get your liver enzyme level in your blood checked regularly and that will be the deciding factor on whether or not it's a problem. Of course, you can help your liver out by consuming certain supplements and antioxidants and you should be able to find posts that discuss that approach by searching the forum. I posted some helpful tips about searching the forum in the Forums FAQ thread which you may want to read if you haven't already.

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Postby Rene966 » Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:41 pm

I also can't give any definite advice 'cause I'm not a doctor. So these are just my personal experiences:

I started Rebif 22mcg once a week in 1995, upgraded to 3 times a week in 2002 and to 44mcg thrice a week in 2005. Side effects were mostly mild, except in a couple of instances with rather wild flu-like symptoms. And there's a bit of lipoatrophy where I inject.

Concerning alcohol: I have my liver enzymes checked four times a year, which appears to be the standard procedure for all ms patients. I avoid drinking alcohol for the next 24 hours following an injection, but other than that I drink when I feel like it.

I'm sure you've heard that alcohol can temporarily worsen some symptoms like balance, bladder control etc., but I've had no other ill-effects this far (except some hangovers of course).

A word of caution: Your body might react differently!
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Postby carolsue » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:40 pm

Bubba,
I've been on Rebif for almost 5 years. I drink socially and haven't had any problems. No doctor has ever suggested that I abstain.

I read that you are trying to decide between Rebif and Copaxone. I selected Rebif in part because of the somewhat flexible treatment schedule. Some weeks I do MWF, others MThSa, TThSa, MWSa, etc. I just make sure that I get 3 doses in per week and that I don't go more than 72 hours (or less than 48 hours) between doses.

I figured that if my liver enzymes elevated, I could switch to Copaxone. I DID have a short period of time during which my enzymes were elevated, but they fell back to normal range in a couple months. Apparently, that is not uncommon.

Good luck with picking a therapy,
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Postby ursula » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:26 am

Hi Bubba,

I wrote that I couldn´t drink alcohol under Rebif.
My liver enzymes were elevated but this is nothing special under Rebif.
But in my case I think this had something to do with gastric problems (nausea, extreme loss of weight) - or did I have it because of the liver enzymes? I don´t know.
Anyway, these problems definitely came from Rebif, I didn´t have them before or afterwards.

With Copaxone I can drink as much as I drank before MS.
But everyone´s different..!

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