Aubagio vs. Avonex

Reviewed on 1/26/2021

Are Aubagio and Avonex the Same Thing?

Aubagio (teriflunomide) and Avonex (Interferon beta-1a) are used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Aubagio and Avonex belong to different drug classes. Aubagio is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor and Avonex is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein.

Side effects of Aubagio that are different from Avonex include liver problems, influenza, hair loss or thinning hair, nausea, diarrhea, burning or prickly feeling in your skin, and numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms.

Side effects of Avonex that are different from Aubagio include injection site reactions (pain, swelling, or redness), dizziness, stomach pain, and runny or stuffy nose.

Aubagio may also interact with ethinyl estradiol, levonorgestrel, and warfarin.

Avonex may also interact with acetaminophen, cancer medications, tuberculosis medications, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, methotrexate, arthritis medications, antibiotics, HIV/AIDS medications, cholesterol medications, ACE inhibitors, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and seizure medications.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Aubagio?

Common side effects of Aubagio include:

  • liver problems,
  • influenza,
  • hair loss or thinning hair,
  • nausea,
  • diarrhea,
  • burning or prickly feeling in your skin, or
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet that is different from your MS symptoms.

Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Aubagio including:

  • fever,
  • chills,
  • body aches,
  • flu symptoms,
  • sores in your mouth and throat,
  • itching,
  • tired feeling,
  • loss of appetite,
  • dark urine,
  • clay-colored stools,
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes,
  • fast or racing heartbeats,
  • confusion,
  • little or no urinating,
  • chest pain,
  • dry cough,
  • wheezing,
  • feeling short of breath,
  • skin redness or peeling,
  • swelling,
  • rapid weight gain, or
  • severe skin reaction -- fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Avonex?

Common side effects of Avonex include:

  • injection site reactions (pain, swelling, or redness),
  • dizziness,
  • stomach pain, or
  • runny or stuffy nose.

Flu-like symptoms such as headache, fatigue, fever, chills, and muscle aches may occur when you first start Avonex. These symptoms usually last about a day after the shot and improve or go away after a few months of continued use of Avonex. Some patients using interferon medications such as Avonex have become depressed or had suicidal thoughts. Tell your doctor immediately if this occurs. Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects of Avonex including:

  • mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, thoughts of suicide, new or worsening psychiatric symptoms),
  • hair loss,
  • vision changes,
  • persistent fatigue,
  • numbness/tingling/swelling of the hands/ankles/feet,
  • muscle weakness,
  • trouble breathing,
  • sudden weight gain,
  • gradual change in weight (without a change in diet or exercise),
  • cold or heat intolerance,
  • slow/fast/irregular heartbeat,
  • easy bleeding or bruising,
  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat),
  • yellowing eyes or skin,
  • persistent nausea or vomiting,
  • stomach or abdominal pain, or
  • dark urine.

QUESTION

What kind of disease is multiple sclerosis? See Answer

What Is Aubagio?

Aubagio (teriflunomide) is a pyrimidine synthesis inhibitor used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

What Is Avonex?

Avonex (Interferon beta-1a) is a 166 amino acid glycoprotein used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). Avonex will not cure MS, it will only decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms.

What Drugs Interact With Aubagio?

Aubagio may increase exposure of ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. Patients taking Coumadin (warfarin) should be closely monitored as interactions may occur. Aubagio may cause major birth defects if used during pregnancy. Pregnancy must be excluded before starting treatment with Aubagio. Pregnancy must be avoided while taking Aubagio treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). If Aubagio is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking Aubagio, the drug should be discontinued immediately and an accelerated elimination procedure should be initiated. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Avonex?

Avonex may interact with acetaminophen, cancer medications, tuberculosis medications, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, methotrexate, arthritis medications, antibiotics, HIV/AIDS medications, cholesterol medications, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or seizure medications drug interactions. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking.

How Should Aubagio be Taken?

The recommended dose for Aubagio is 7 mg or 14 mg taken orally, once daily, with or without food.

How Should Avonex be Taken?

The recommended dosage of Avonex is 30 mcg injected intramuscularly once a week. This medication is intended for use under the guidance and supervision of a physician. Patients may self-inject only if their physician determines it is appropriate and after proper training in intramuscular injection technique.

SLIDESHOW

What Is Multiple Sclerosis? MS Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis See Slideshow
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References
Genzyme Corporation. Aubagio Product Information.

www.aubagio.com/?

Biogen. Avonex Product Information

www.avonex.com

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