Human interferon beta



Human interferon beta is a polypeptide drug used in the treatment of relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Generic Name
Human interferon beta
DrugBank Accession Number

Human interferon beta is a polypeptide used in the management of relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and was initially approved by the FDA in 1992.9 Multiple Sclerosis is a devastating neurodegenerative disease that is usually progressive and significantly debilitating with a profound impact on the quality of life.3

Interferon beta is currently being studied as a possible treatment for COVID-19, which results from infection with the novel 2019 SARS-CoV-2 virus.8 Interferon-beta has been used in the past in clinical studies with other coronaviruses due to its demonstrated activity against the virus causing Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It is therefore a potential drug candidate for SARS-CoV-2 based on viral genetic similarity.2,10

Approved, Investigational
Biologic Classification
Protein Based Therapies
Protein Chemical Formula
Not Available
Protein Average Weight
40036.0 Da
Not Available
  • Fibroblast interferon
  • FIF
  • Interferon beta
  • Interferon beta (human)
  • Interferon beta (recombinant)
  • Interferon-beta
External IDs
  • SNG 001
  • SNG-001
  • SNG001



This drug is indicated to treat relapsing forms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in adults, which includes clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, as well as active secondary progressive disease.9

Reduce drug development failure rates
Build, train, & validate machine-learning models
with evidence-based and structured datasets.
See how
Build, train, & validate predictive machine-learning models with structured datasets.
See how
Associated Conditions
Indication TypeIndicationCombined Product DetailsApproval LevelAge GroupPatient CharacteristicsDose Form
Treatment ofRelapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (rrms)•••••••••••••••••••••
Contraindications & Blackbox Warnings
Prevent Adverse Drug Events Today
Tap into our Clinical API for life-saving information on contraindications & blackbox warnings, population restrictions, harmful risks, & more.
Learn more
Avoid life-threatening adverse drug events with our Clinical API
Learn more

Interferon-beta has antiviral and immunomodulatory effects. It reduces demyelination, the main component of Multiple Sclerosis pathophysiology, reducing the clinical frequency of MS attacks and slowing disease progression.1,3,12

In vitro studies have shown that beta interferon reduces the replication of certain coronaviruses in lung tissue.7 Retrospective studies using combinations of mycophenolate mofetil and beta interferon showed improved survival against MERS-CoV, the virus that causes Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). 6

Mechanism of action

Part of the pathophysiology of MS is immune cell activation in addition to degradation of the blood–brain barrier (BBB), resulting in both neural demyelination and axon injury. Immunomodulating drugs such as interferon-beta decrease the inflammation that results in demyelination of nerves. Binding of interferon-beta to type 1 interferon receptors induces a series of beneficial transcriptional JAK/STAT pathway changes. This decreases antigen presentation as well as the proliferation of inflammatory T-cells, reducing the inflammation associated with MS. It also changes the expression of cytokine and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP).1,4

AInterferon alpha/beta receptor 1

Beta interferon has a bioavailability of about 30% after subcutaneous or intramuscular administration, demonstrating peak serum concentrations within several hours of a dose. Peak interferon beta-1b concentrations are achieved between 1-8 hours post-dose, measuring about 40 IU/mL.9 After injection, it is absorbed mainly by the lymphatic route.5 Prescribing information for interferon beta-1b indicates a bioavailability of 50%.12 Concentrations of beta interferon are detectable in the circulation 1-2 to days after administration.5

Volume of distribution

The average state volume of distribution for beta interferon is 0.25 L/kg to 2.88 L/kg.9,12 Another reference mentions a volume of distribution of 120 L.5 Beta interferon is distributed throughout the body after extravasation across the vascular wall into the tissue after injection. It likely does not cross the blood-brain barrier, and it is unclear whether beta interferon crosses the placenta.5

Protein binding

Not Available


Data regarding the metabolism of beta interferon is not readily available in the literature.

Route of elimination

Beta interferon is excreted by hepatic and renal pathways, with renal pathways accountable for about 40% of its clearance.5


The mean terminal elimination half-life of interferon-beta varies from 8 minutes to about 4 hours.5,9


Average serum clearance in a pharmacokinetic study of beta-interferon 1b ranged from 9.4 mL/min•kg-1 to 28.9 mL/min•kg-1.12 Another study revealed a clearance ranging between 0.3 to 1.4 L/h/kg.5

Adverse Effects
Improve decision support & research outcomes
With structured adverse effects data, including: blackbox warnings, adverse reactions, warning & precautions, & incidence rates. View sample adverse effects data in our new Data Library!
See the data
Improve decision support & research outcomes with our structured adverse effects data.
See a data sample

LD50 information for beta interferon is not readily available in the literature.

Overdose information

Following an overdose with a very high dose of beta interferon, one patient described in a case report experienced a modest rise in body temperature with diffuse limb and truncal erythema. The symptoms resolved within 24 hours. Biochemical and hematologic parameters were nonremarkable after the overdose.6 In the case of an overdose, discontinue beta interferon and resume when the patient has returned to baseline function.

Not Available
Pharmacogenomic Effects/ADRs
Not Available


Drug Interactions
This information should not be interpreted without the help of a healthcare provider. If you believe you are experiencing an interaction, contact a healthcare provider immediately. The absence of an interaction does not necessarily mean no interactions exist.
AminophyllineThe metabolism of Aminophylline can be decreased when combined with Human interferon beta.
BromotheophyllineThe metabolism of Bromotheophylline can be decreased when combined with Human interferon beta.
CaffeineThe metabolism of Caffeine can be decreased when combined with Human interferon beta.
DyphyllineThe metabolism of Dyphylline can be decreased when combined with Human interferon beta.
LomifyllineThe metabolism of Lomifylline can be decreased when combined with Human interferon beta.
Food Interactions
No interactions found.


Drug product information from 10+ global regions
Our datasets provide approved product information including:
dosage, form, labeller, route of administration, and marketing period.
Access now
Access drug product information from over 10 global regions.
Access now


Drug Categories
Chemical TaxonomyProvided by Classyfire
Not Available
Organic Compounds
Super Class
Organic Acids
Carboxylic Acids and Derivatives
Sub Class
Amino Acids, Peptides, and Analogues
Direct Parent
Alternative Parents
Not Available
Not Available
Molecular Framework
Not Available
External Descriptors
Not Available
Affected organisms
  • SARS-CoV-2

Chemical Identifiers

CAS number


General References
  1. Markowitz CE: Interferon-beta: mechanism of action and dosing issues. Neurology. 2007 Jun 12;68(24 Suppl 4):S8-11. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000277703.74115.d2. [Article]
  2. Al Ghamdi M, Alghamdi KM, Ghandoora Y, Alzahrani A, Salah F, Alsulami A, Bawayan MF, Vaidya D, Perl TM, Sood G: Treatment outcomes for patients with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) infection at a coronavirus referral center in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. BMC Infect Dis. 2016 Apr 21;16:174. doi: 10.1186/s12879-016-1492-4. [Article]
  3. Huang WJ, Chen WW, Zhang X: Multiple sclerosis: Pathology, diagnosis and treatments. Exp Ther Med. 2017 Jun;13(6):3163-3166. doi: 10.3892/etm.2017.4410. Epub 2017 Apr 28. [Article]
  4. Kasper LH, Reder AT: Immunomodulatory activity of interferon-beta. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2014 Aug;1(8):622-31. doi: 10.1002/acn3.84. Epub 2014 Jul 23. [Article]
  5. Hegen H, Auer M, Deisenhammer F: Pharmacokinetic considerations in the treatment of multiple sclerosis with interferon-beta. Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2015;11(12):1803-19. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2015.1094055. Epub 2015 Sep 30. [Article]
  6. Falcone NP, Nappo A, Neuteboom B: Interferon beta-1a overdose in a multiple sclerosis patient. Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Nov;39(11):1950-2. doi: 10.1345/aph.1E416. Epub 2005 Oct 4. [Article]
  7. Chan RW, Chan MC, Agnihothram S, Chan LL, Kuok DI, Fong JH, Guan Y, Poon LL, Baric RS, Nicholls JM, Peiris JS: Tropism of and innate immune responses to the novel human betacoronavirus lineage C virus in human ex vivo respiratory organ cultures. J Virol. 2013 Jun;87(12):6604-14. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00009-13. Epub 2013 Apr 3. [Article]
  8. World Health Organization: Landscape analysis of therapeutics as of February 17 2020 [Link]
  9. FDA approved products: Extravia (interferon beta-1b) subcutaneous injection [Link]
  10. Nature Biotechnology: Coronavirus puts drug repurposing on the fast track [Link]
  11. Product monograph: Avonex pen (interferon beta 1a) [Link]
  12. FDA approved products: Betaseron (interferon beta 1b) subcutaneous injection [Link]
  13. EMD Serono MSDS: Interferon beta 1a [Link]
  14. ThPDB: Interferon beta1a [Link]
  15. DailyMed Label: AVONEX (interferon beta-1a) injection, for intramuscular injection [Link]
Download (43.4 KB)

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials


Not Available
Not Available
Dosage Forms
SolutionSubcutaneous0.250 mg
Not Available
Not Available


Experimental Properties
isoelectric point9.02


Build, predict & validate machine-learning models
Use our structured and evidence-based datasets to unlock new
insights and accelerate drug research.
Learn more
Use our structured and evidence-based datasets to unlock new insights and accelerate drug research.
Learn more
Pharmacological action
General Function
Type i interferon receptor activity
Specific Function
Associates with IFNAR2 to form the type I interferon receptor. Receptor for interferons alpha and beta. Binding to type I IFNs triggers tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of proteins including JA...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Interferon alpha/beta receptor 1
Molecular Weight
63524.81 Da
  1. Markowitz CE: Interferon-beta: mechanism of action and dosing issues. Neurology. 2007 Jun 12;68(24 Suppl 4):S8-11. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000277703.74115.d2. [Article]
  2. Kasper LH, Reder AT: Immunomodulatory activity of interferon-beta. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2014 Aug;1(8):622-31. doi: 10.1002/acn3.84. Epub 2014 Jul 23. [Article]
  3. Haji Abdolvahab M, Mofrad MR, Schellekens H: Interferon Beta: From Molecular Level to Therapeutic Effects. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2016;326:343-72. doi: 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2016.06.001. Epub 2016 Jul 20. [Article]
  4. Kole A, He J, Rivollier A, Silveira DD, Kitamura K, Maloy KJ, Kelsall BL: Type I IFNs regulate effector and regulatory T cell accumulation and anti-inflammatory cytokine production during T cell-mediated colitis. J Immunol. 2013 Sep 1;191(5):2771-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301093. Epub 2013 Aug 2. [Article]


Pharmacological action
Curator comments
Data regarding this enzyme action of interferon beta are scarce in the literature. This is unlikely to result in any CYP1A2 mediated drug interactions.
General Function
Oxidoreductase activity, acting on paired donors, with incorporation or reduction of molecular oxygen, reduced flavin or flavoprotein as one donor, and incorporation of one atom of oxygen
Specific Function
Cytochromes P450 are a group of heme-thiolate monooxygenases. In liver microsomes, this enzyme is involved in an NADPH-dependent electron transport pathway. It oxidizes a variety of structurally un...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Cytochrome P450 1A2
Molecular Weight
58293.76 Da
  1. Delaporte E, Renton KW: Cytochrome P4501A1 and cytochrome P4501A2 are downregulated at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels by conditions resulting in interferon-alpha/beta induction. Life Sci. 1997;60(10):787-96. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(97)00006-4. [Article]
  2. Christensen H, Hermann M: Immunological response as a source to variability in drug metabolism and transport. Front Pharmacol. 2012 Feb 10;3:8. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00008. eCollection 2012. [Article]


Pharmacological action
General Function
Toxic substance binding
Specific Function
Serum albumin, the main protein of plasma, has a good binding capacity for water, Ca(2+), Na(+), K(+), fatty acids, hormones, bilirubin and drugs. Its main function is the regulation of the colloid...
Gene Name
Uniprot ID
Uniprot Name
Serum albumin
Molecular Weight
69365.94 Da
  1. FDA approved products: Extravia (interferon beta-1b) subcutaneous injection [Link]

Drug created at May 20, 2019 14:40 / Updated at July 18, 2023 22:57