Biogen Idec announced the national launch of the new AVONEX(R) (Interferon beta-1a) Nurse Services program which is designed to help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) as they begin and continue treatment with AVONEX, the most prescribed treatment for relapsing forms of MS worldwide.
"As a person living with MS and as a nurse I can attest first-hand that nurses play an important role in working closely with patients and their healthcare providers in both the treatment and care of MS," said Marie Stallbaum, RN, BSN, a nurse with the AVONEX Nurse Services Program. "Nurses in this program will be dedicated to helping MS patients live the fullest and most active lives possible."
The AVONEX Nurse Services program will have registered nurses covering the majority of the country who will provide a wide range of services that will help patients in a home setting. Services include:
»At-home injection training and follow-up visit(s)
»Assistance in managing injection anxiety)
»Management of disease expectations
»Tips for managing common side effects
»Valuable phone counseling
"The AVONEX Nurse Services program is the latest example of our efforts to provide the best care and support for patients," said Michael Panzara, MD, MPH, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Neurology Strategic Business Unit, Biogen Idec. "From our research efforts aimed at discovering new treatment options to the unparalleled support services we offer patients, Biogen Idec is committed to advancing the care of people living with MS."
AVONEX has been proven to slow the progression of physical disability, reduce the frequency of relapses, and is effective for patients who have their first clinical MS attack and have a brain MRI scan that suggests MS. AVONEX is also the only once-a-week therapy for MS.
The clinical benefits of AVONEX have been supported by a number of recent enhancements to the product's delivery. AVONEX can now be administered with a smaller needle, which can further advance patient comfort. The storage and transportation of AVONEX has been made even easier with the introduction of ambient storage for the AVONEX luer-lock prefilled syringe. A new AVOGRIP(TM) is available to aid patients in the administration of injections. These improvements are part of the company's efforts to improve patients' experience with AVONEX. In addition, AVONEX patients have shown significantly higher adherence rates than the other approved disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).(1)
AVONEX is the most prescribed treatment for relapsing forms of MS worldwide, with more than 130,000 patients on therapy. It was launched in the U.S. in 1996 and later in Europe for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS to slow the progression of disability and reduce relapses. AVONEX is marketed internationally in more than 90 countries.
AVONEX was the first treatment approved for patients who have their first clinical MS attack and have a brain MRI scan consistent with MS; this use was approved in Europe in 2002 and in the U.S. in 2003. The most common side effects associated with AVONEX multiple sclerosis treatment are flu-like symptoms, including myalgia, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, nausea, vomiting, pain and asthenia.
AVONEX should be used with caution in patients with depression or other mood disorders and in patients with seizure disorders. AVONEX should not be used by pregnant women. Patients with cardiac disease should be closely monitored. Patients should also be monitored for signs of hepatic injury. Routine periodic blood chemistry and hematology tests are recommended during treatment with AVONEX. Rare cases of anaphylaxis have been reported