Rebif vs. Lemtrada

Reviewed on 12/19/2019

Are Rebif and Lemtrada the Same Thing?

Rebif (interferon beta-1a) Injection and Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) are used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS).

Because of its safety profile, the use of Lemtrada should generally be reserved for patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more drugs indicated for the treatment of MS.

Rebif and Lemtrada belong to different drug classes. Rebif is made from human proteins and Lemtrada is a recombinant humanized IgG1 kappa monoclonal antibody.

Side effects of Rebif and Lemtrada that are similar include flu-like symptoms (such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, fever, chills, stomach pain, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches).

Side effects of Rebif that are different from Lemtrada include injection site reactions (pain, swelling, or redness).

Side effects of Lemtrada that are different from Rebif include rash, sore throat, nausea, urinary tract infection (UTI), insomnia, upper respiratory tract infection, herpes viral infection, hives, itching, thyroid gland disorders, fungal infection, joint pain, pain in extremities, back pain, diarrhea, sinus infection, mouth and throat pain, numbness or tingling, flushing of face/neck/chest, vomiting, cough, changes in taste, skin swelling, indigestion, blood in the urine, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, anxiety, weakness, and muscle pain.

Rebif may interact with alcohol, acetaminophen, aspirin, gout or arthritis medication (including gold injections), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, antifungal medicines, sulfa drugs, tuberculosis medicines, antiviral or HIV/AIDS medications, medicines to treat mental illness, seizure medications, birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, anabolic steroids, cancer medications, cholesterol-lowering medications, and heart or blood pressure medications.

Lemtrada may interact with other drugs.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Rebif?

Common side effects of Rebif include pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site. Flu-like symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, fever, chills, stomach pain, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches may occur when you first start Rebif. These symptoms usually improve or go away after a few months of continued use of Rebif. Some patients using interferon medications such as Rebif become depressed or have suicidal thoughts. Tell your doctor immediately if this occurs. Tell your doctor if you have serious side effects of Rebif including:

  • mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, rare thoughts of suicide),
  • vision changes,
  • gradual change in weight,
  • intolerance to cold or heat,
  • increased urination,
  • pus or change in skin color at the injection site,
  • signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat, cough),
  • easy bruising or bleeding,
  • fast or irregular heartbeat,
  • sudden increase in weight,
  • swelling hands/legs/feet,
  • severe stomach or abdominal pain,
  • yellowing eyes or skin, or
  • dark urine.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Lemtrada?

Common side effects of Lemtrada include:

  • rash,
  • headache,
  • fever,
  • runny nose,
  • sore throat,
  • nasal congestion,
  • nausea,
  • urinary tract infection,
  • fatigue,
  • insomnia,
  • upper respiratory tract infection,
  • herpes viral infection,
  • hives,
  • itching,
  • thyroid gland disorders,
  • fungal infection,
  • joint pain,
  • pain in extremity,
  • back pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • sinus infection,
  • mouth and throat pain,
  • numbness or tingling, dizziness,
  • abdominal pain,
  • flushing of the face/neck/chest,
  • vomiting,
  • cough,
  • chills,
  • changes in sense of taste,
  • flu symptoms,
  • skin swelling,
  • indigestion,
  • blood in the urine,
  • shortness of breath,
  • fast heart beat,
  • anxiety,
  • weakness, or
  • muscle pain

What Is Rebif?

Rebif (interferon beta-1a) Injection is made from human proteins and is used to treat relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS). Rebif will not cure MS; it will only decrease the frequency of relapse symptoms. Common side effects of Rebif include pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site. Flu-like symptoms such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, fever, chills, stomach pain, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches may occur when you first start Rebif. These symptoms usually improve or go away after a few months of continued use of Rebif. Some patients using interferon medications such as Rebif become depressed or have suicidal thoughts. Tell your doctor immediately if this occurs.

What Is Lemtrada?

Lemtrada (alemtuzumab) is a recombinant humanized IgG1 kappa monoclonal antibody used to treat patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its safety profile, the use of Lemtrada should generally be reserved for patients who have had an inadequate response to two or more drugs indicated for the treatment of MS.

QUESTION

What kind of disease is multiple sclerosis? See Answer

What Drugs Interact With Rebif?

Rebif may interact with oher drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you take. Talk to your doctor about how to drink alcohol safely while using this medication. Rebif should not be used during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might become pregnant during treatment. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What Drugs Interact With Lemtrada?

Lemtrada may interact with other drugs. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. During pregnancy, Lemtrada should be used only if prescribed. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

How Should Rebif Be Taken?

The recommended dosage of Rebif is 22 mcg to 44 mcg injected subcutaneously three times per week. Rebif is intended for use under the supervision of a physician. Patients may self-inject only after proper training.

How Should Lemtrada Be Taken?

The recommended dosage of Lemtrada is 12 mg/day administered by intravenous infusion for 2 treatment courses: First Treatment Course: 12 mg/day on 5 consecutive days (60 mg total dose; Second Treatment Course: 12 mg/day on 3 consecutive days (36 mg total dose) administered 12 months after the first treatment course.

SLIDESHOW

What Is Multiple Sclerosis? MS Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis See Slideshow
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References
EMD Serono. Rebif Product Information

www.rebif.com

Sanofi. Lemtrada Product Information

www.lemtrada.com/?

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