Avonex question

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 4/4/2008 10:31 PM (GMT -6)   
confused  Hi all,
      Hope everyone is doing well. I am going back to the neuro on the 18th for a checkup and to discuss my avonex. Even though I have come to terms with the fact that I will have to be on injection therapy I am still struggling with the avonex. Because its the IM injection, the needle is so long that it freaks me out. My fiance does my shots for me because when i get that needle in my hand i just can't do it. The avonex needle is 1 1/4 inches long and i know that the copaxone and beta are 1/2 inch needles and that beta uses the auto inject attachment. My dr is going to want to know whether or not i want to change because he knows that i am struggling with side effects and issues with the injection. He says that copaxone or beta are alot easier as far as injecting goes because it is subq not im. If any of you have any advice I would appreciate it. I just don't know if going from once a week to every other day is a good move. But, if i can do it myself...with a small pinch instead of a muscle jolting pain extravaganza it may be better...just not sure so i thought if i could hear from some of you that are on different meds it would be helpful. Thanks a bunch
thoughts and prayers to you all
diagnosed 12-1-07
avonex weekly

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3571
   Posted 4/5/2008 12:54 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey Lindsay,

I am sorry you are having such a tough time with the avonex.  I have heard that the avonex needle is horrendous.  The only advice I can give you is to tell you that you can switch.  You are allowed that.  I know that if you go to copaxone, you can do both for six months or so so that you have no loss of coverage as far as med goes.  That sounds really awful but you can do it.  But you can also just stop avonex and go to something else. 

I am on copaxone.  It is the non-inteferon drug.  There are no flu-like side effects.  While copaoxone does not work for everyone (some are allergic to it) I absolutely love it.  I do have to inject every single day,but it is so so so easy.  The needle is tiny.  The injection itself does not hurt at all.  about 3 minutes later there is a decent sting but it is really not bad.  The next day I have a lump that takes a few days to go away ( so I am a bit lumpy lol ).  I am really pretty new to this.  In my first year, I flared 3 times in ten months.  Now, I am two weeks away from my first full year without an flare.  I am thinking copaxone is working for me.  I do all my own shots. I do them manually. I do not use the auto-inject but others do and they like that.  I have only let one other person ever give me a shot (don't even ask ;) 

Hang in there Lindsay.  Keep us posted as to what you decide.  I hope this information helps you. 

Love and prayers,

Gretchen       co-moderator MS board       diagnosed with MS July 2006

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 334
   Posted 4/5/2008 12:47 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Lindsay,


I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time with the avonex. Those injections sound pretty miserable. I was on Copaxone for around 9 months at one point (before being redxed with CIS). Due to my current dx, I can’t speak to how Copaxone affected disease activity, so I’ll just write my experience with the shots, themselves.


I have to be honest and say that it took me awhile to get used to the daily injections. However, the shots eventually just became part of my nightly routine, and stopped being a big deal. I used the autoject for all of my injections, since I could just load it and press a button and the shot was done. I liked the fact that I never had to see the needle, or jab it in to my skin.


I did have large injection site reactions in the beginning (swelling, pain, itching etc) but they got less extreme over time. Like Gretchen, I also rarely found the shots themselves to be painful. The delayed stinging was intense at times, but didn’t last too long…it also didn’t seem to bother me as much after a few months on the med. I did end up with some good lumps at old injection sites that took awhile to soften up. I would not hesitate to go back on Copaxone in the future. I hope some people with experience with Rebif and Betaseron will respond to your post, so you can get a better idea about what these meds are like as well.



mystery reader
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 257
   Posted 4/5/2008 2:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lindsay, I was only on betaseron for 3 weeks (allergic to interferons) so I never had a full dose, but I found the injections to be relatively easy. I used the autoinject and this was only a slight pinch. I did have to mix the med myself, but that was not a big deal after the first few times. I was on copaxone for 4 1/2 months and used the autoinjector most of the time. The actual injection did not usually bother me (some burning after the injections) but most people have to deal with injection site reactions for several months. There is also the possibility of experiencing a post injection reaction with copaxone.

If I was able to take either one of these meds now I would probavly choose the betaseron.
Barb/mystery reader
Diagnosed April 2007
Started tysabri -- December 2007

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 144
   Posted 4/5/2008 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi I have been on avonex for almost 8yrs now and yes the needles are a bit much....But you can get your dr. to order a smaller needle they are doing that now.You can always call biogen idc. for the latest info too. In fact they should be calling you every so often so if it is a problem for you see if you cant try the smaller needle..Sorry that you are having such a hard time.......But maybe your dr. can get you to stay on the avonex but with a smaller needle...Is worth looking into..barb
diaganosed 1983
avonex once weekly
steroid infusion every three months for three days
mycoline three times a day
fosamax once a week
bladder meds. daily

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 4/7/2008 11:34 AM (GMT -6)   
HEy all,
thanks for all the info. I will look into that and keep you all posted on any changes. Thanks a bunch
diagnosed 12-1-07
avonex weekly
propranolol 40 mg daily for headache control

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