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EU Warns Against Interferon Beta Side Effects

Jasjit Mundh2 years ago

The European Union has issued stronger label warnings for interferon beta drugs, which are used to treat multiple sclerosis, because some patients who have used the drugs have suffered organ damage.

About the Dangerous Side Effects

According to Reuters, several cases of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA) have been reported weeks or years after using the interferon beta drugs. Some of these cases have been fatal.

TMA is known to affect the kidney and other organs. Its symptoms include high blood pressure, fever, disorientation, impaired kidney function and a low count of blood coagulation cells. Cases of another illness, nephrotic syndrome, have also been reported.

Patients diagnosed with TMA should be taken off interferon beta and should be treated immediately.

It is not known how many patients could be affected.

Description of Drugs in Question

  • The interferon beta drugs include:
    • Biogen Idec's Avonex and Plegridy
    • Merck KGaA's Rebif
    • Bayer's Betaferon
    • Novartis's Extavia
  • The beta drugs are injections and have been used for over 10 years.


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