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Peginterferon Alfa-2b (Injection)
Peginterferon Alfa-2b (peg-in-ter-FEER-on AL-fa-2b)
Treats hepatitis C. May be used alone or together with another medicine (such as ribavirin, Copegus®, Rebetol®).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
PEGIntron, Peg Intron RP, PEG-Intron
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to peginterferon alfa-2b. You should not use this medicine if you have certain other liver problems that are getting worse (such as autoimmune hepatitis or cirrhosis).
How to Use This Medicine
- Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin.
- This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one. Your doctor might ask you to sign some forms to show that you understand this information.
- A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine. It may also be given by a home health caregiver.
- You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
- This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- Use this medicine on the same day each week, and at about the same time of the day.
- If you switch from using the vial (glass container) to using the prefilled syringe, double-check that you are giving yourself the correct amount of medicine.
- You might not use all of the medicine in each vial (glass container) or prefilled syringe. Use each vial or syringe only one time. Do not save an open vial or syringe. If the medicine in the vial or syringe has changed color, or if you see particles in it, do not use it.
- You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
- Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
If a dose is missed:
- If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine
- If you store this medicine at home, keep it at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. After the powder medicine has been mixed with the liquid, the mixture must be used right away or kept in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours. Do not freeze the powder or the mixture.
- Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
- Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
- Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using flecainide (Tambocor®), methadone (Dolophine®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), medicine to treat HIV or AIDS (such as didanosine, lamivudine, stavudine, zidovudine, Combivir®, or Zerit®), or a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding problems, breathing problems, lung disease, heart disease, a history of a heart attack or stroke, high or low blood pressure, or heart rhythm problems. Tell your doctor if you have thyroid problems, diabetes, eye or vision problems, pancreas disease, immune system problems, or an autoimmune disorder (such as psoriasis, lupus, or arthritis).
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have a history of depression, bipolar disorder, HIV or AIDS, or an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Also, tell your doctor if you have ever had an organ transplant.
- You might have mood or behavior changes with this medicine, such as feeling sad or hopeless, or getting upset easily. You could feel nervous or hostile. Some people become violent and want to hurt themselves or others. You might have too much energy, or see or hear unusual things. Call your doctor right away if you have any strange feelings, thoughts, or behaviors.
- Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty with reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an eye doctor.
- This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
- If you have severe diarrhea, ask your doctor before taking any medicine to stop the diarrhea.
- Serious allergic reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin; fever or chills; hives or welts; red skin lesions; a severe skin rash or acne; or sores or ulcers on the skin while you are using this medicine.
- When used together with ribavirin, this medicine may cause teeth and gum problems. This medicine may cause dry mouth, and a dry mouth may damage your teeth and gums if you take the medicine for a long time. To help prevent this condition, carefully brush your teeth at least two times a day and have regular visits with your dentist. For temporary relief of mouth dryness, use sugarless candy or gum, melt bits of ice in your mouth, or use a saliva substitute.
- When used with ribavirin, this medicine may cause slow growth. If your child is using this medicine, the doctor will need to keep track of your child's height and weight to make sure that your child is growing properly.
- Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
- You might continue to have side effects for several months after you stop using this medicine.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
- Bloody or black, tarry stools.
- Chest pain or trouble with breathing.
- Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
- Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, or body aches.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or pain in your upper stomach.
- Seeing or hearing things that are not there.
- Sores or white patches in the mouth or throat.
- Stomach pain or bloody diarrhea.
- Sudden and severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and lightheadedness.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
- Unusual thoughts or behaviors, depression, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
- Warmth or redness in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.
- Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
- Blurred vision or other vision problems.
- Diarrhea, loss of appetite, or stomach pain or upset.
- Dry mouth.
- Hair loss.
- Increased sweating.
- Joint or muscle pain.
- Mild "flu-like" symptoms (muscle aches, sore throat, cough, fever, or chills).
- Mild skin rash, redness, itching, or bruising where the shot is given.
- Trouble with sleeping.
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor