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BEtaseron v generic

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    BEtaseron v generic

    So my insurance has decided to stop covering Betaseron as of January 1st and will require only the use of the generic interferon. Does anyone know if there is a great deal of difference besides price? I know they are basically the same drug (I am in nursing school so I get that) but usually there is a bit of difference.

    This is important: there are no generic interferons for MS. Extavia is NOT a generic. It is a brand name medication that is the exact same medication as Betaseron, made available under a special licensing arrangement.

    From all indications, the only difference between them is price and packaging. Of course, the lower price of Extavia is very attractive to insurers so some are insisting on covering Extavia instead of Betaseron. You can take Extavia knowing that you'll be getting the same medication and same benefits and side effects as Betaseron.

    If Extavia were a generic, or if there were another generic interferon beta-1b available, it would make sense that there would be a difference (slight to large) between it and Betaseron. But there is no generic available, and there is no difference between the medicines.

    If the whole arrangement sounds unusual, it's because it is. There might be or might have been similar arrangements with other medicines, but I sure can't think of one off hand.


      from what I read extavia was made as a result of a betaseron factory that negotiated its independence. I read this somewhere while deciding what my next dmd would be...
      First symptom 2000, dxed 2004

      Rebif 04-06, Denial 06-07, Rebif 07--9, Copaxone 09-13, Tecfidera 13-?


        I've been trying to figure out a good way to describe the difference between Beta and Extavia. It can seem confusing but let's give it a try:

        If you grew up near the US/Canadian border in the 70's, you may remember cars like the Pontiac Bonneville and the Pontiac Parisienne (or the Chevy Nova and Chevy Canso). They were both identical, they had the same body style and engine options but one used metric nuts, bolts, and speedometer and one didn't. Both would get you to 55 MPH in the same amount of time. Both cars could look indentical except for the name plates on the fenders.

        As it turns out, both cars may have been assembled on the same production line by the same people.

        The only difference I can find between Beta and Extavia (besides the packaging) is the cap and needle assembly.
        Beta uses a 30 gauge needle while Extavia uses a 28 gauge needle (which makes it slightly wider but not by much). In the past, other posters have mentioned that they got a seperate Rx for 30 gauge needle "heads" after they were switched to Extavia. I'm not sure if the needle Rx is worth the hassle because you'd have twice as many needles to dispose of.

        As I write this, Extavia is less expensive than Beta. Its also important to note that both meds use cloned material which is why its tricky to say they are the same (since cloned material gets some extra legal protections). Think of it this way, cloned material can not become "generic". Companies can, however, have contracts to produce it. Is the material the same? Medically it probably is. Legally speaking it isn't and that's where things get confusing.

        The VA takes care of my medical stuff and I asked them several years ago to check into Beta vs Extavia due to the price difference. They didn't make a change but this has more to do with how the VA buys medicines, as one of the largest medicine buyers in the US the VA uses "bulk" contracts to purchase its meds.

        So, would you need a visiting nurse trainer to show up if you're switching? Probably not unless you want some refresher training.


          The difference between Extavia and Betaseron have nothing to do with chemistry.

          The differences are a different company/brand name, different telephone number, different support offerings, injector, etc. They are identical compounds; 100% identical.


            I was switched to extavia last year because of insurance. Easy transition, drugs are the same. Just new equipment.