MS lesions on brain MRI | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | Disease Progression | illustration of MRI

Extavia (Interferon Beta-1b) for Multiple Sclerosis

Last updated May 23, 2022, by Teresa Carvalho, MS

Fact-checked by Ines Martins, PhD

FAQs about Extavia

Extavia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August 2009 to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), including clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting MS, and active secondary progressive MS. However, the active ingredient in Extavia, interferon beta-1a, was originally approved in 1993 under the brand name Betaseron.

European registries that tracked more than 2,000 pregnancies exposed to Extavia and other interferon beta treatments did not find an increased frequency of major birth defects or other adverse pregnancy outcomes. If clinically necessary, Extavia may be used during pregnancy, but patients should bear in mind that there is limited data regarding its use in the second and third trimesters. A discussion with a healthcare provider is strongly recommended for anyone planning to become pregnant while on Extavia.

There is no known interaction between Extavia and alcohol. However, alcohol or other products with the potential to cause liver damage should be used cautiously during treatment. Patients should talk with their healthcare team about safe alcohol use while on Extavia.

A clinical trial that supported Extavia’s approval, which tested the similar interferon beta-1b product Betaseron in people with clinically isolated syndrome, found evidence of a significant reduction in brain lesions within the first six months. It also found patients had a lower relapse rate after one year on treatment than those on a placebo. However, multiple sclerosis is a disease that manifests differently in each person, and patients should ask their care team how and when the medication is expected to help in their case.

Both hair loss and weight gain have been reported as potential side effects of Extavia in clinical trials and post-marketing studies. Patients who experience any unexpected side effects during treatment should talk with their healthcare team.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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