Avonex Comes Out as a Drug to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

Avonex has been available since 1995.

It is made by Biogen Idec.
Avonex comes in new, prefilled syringes (called luer lock), which can be left unrefrigerated for up to 7 days. However, Avonex also comes in a powder that must be mixed; it can be kept at room temperature for up to 30 days.

Biogen, Inc. (Nasdaq: BGEN) today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Avonex® (Interferon beta-1a) to include treatment of patients with a first multiple sclerosis (MS) attack if brain MRI scan abnormalities characteristic of MS are shown.

The first sign that a patient may have MS is a single, clinical event. Until now, standard practice has been to treat MS only after a patient experiences at least two clinical events. Avonex is the first treatment approved for MS patients who have their first clinical MS attack and have a brain MRI scan that suggests MS. This use was approved in Europe in 2002.

Avonex is used for treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. It is the first drug to have proven, in a blinded clinical trial, that it slows the progression of disability as well as reduces the frequency of exacerbations.