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All about: Interferon Alfacon-1

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Generic Name: Interferon Alfacon-1 Injection (IN-ter-FEER-ahn AL-fuh-con-1)
Brand Name: Infergen

Interferon Alfacon-1 may cause or aggravate fatal or life-threatening autoimmune (eg, lupus), neuropsychiatric (eg, depression), ischemic (eg, heart problems), or infectious disorders. Contact your health care provider if persistent or worsening symptoms of these conditions occur.

Interferon Alfacon-1 is used for:

Treating long-term hepatitis C virus infection in patients 18 years of age or older. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Interferon Alfacon-1 is an interferon. How interferon alfacon-1 works against the hepatitis C virus is not fully understood. It may directly kill the virus, prevent the virus from reproducing, or alter the body's natural defense against the virus.

Do NOT use Interferon Alfacon-1 if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Interferon Alfacon-1 or products taken from Escherichia coli
  • you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • you have autoimmune hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Interferon Alfacon-1 :

Some medical conditions may interact with Interferon Alfacon-1 . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have heart disease, decompensated liver disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, difficulty sleeping, heart problems, liver problems, thyroid problems, cancer, bowel problems, hepatitis B, HIV, kidney problems, a blood disorder, disease, or a weakened immune system, or have received a transplant
  • if you have a history of low blood cell counts, autoimmune or endocrine disorders, psychotic disorders (eg, anxiety, depression), or a history of suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • if you have a history of alcoholism or substance abuse

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Interferon Alfacon-1 . However, no specific interactions with Interferon Alfacon-1 are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if Interferon Alfacon-1 may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Interferon Alfacon-1 :

Use Interferon Alfacon-1 as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Interferon Alfacon-1 comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Interferon Alfacon-1 refilled.
  • If you will be using Interferon Alfacon-1 at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Interferon Alfacon-1 . Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not shake the vial before using.
  • Interferon Alfacon-1 may be allowed to reach room temperature before it is injected.
  • Do not use Interferon Alfacon-1 if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
  • Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
  • If you miss a dose of Interferon Alfacon-1 , contact your doctor right away. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Interferon Alfacon-1 .

Important safety information:

  • Interferon Alfacon-1 may cause dizziness or drowsiness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Interferon Alfacon-1 with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using Interferon Alfacon-1 ; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, tiredness, fever, rigors, muscle aches, increased sweating, joint pain) are very common with Interferon Alfacon-1 . While fever may be related to flu-like symptoms, other causes of persistent fever should be ruled out. Contact your health care provider if fever recurs or does not go away.
  • Interferon Alfacon-1 may raise your blood sugar. High blood sugar may make you feel confused, drowsy, or thirsty. It can also make you flush, breathe faster, or have a fruit-like breath odor. If these symptoms occur, tell your doctor right away.
  • Vision exams are recommended before starting Interferon Alfacon-1 and during therapy, especially in patients with diabetes or high blood pressure. Stop using Interferon Alfacon-1 and contact your health care provider at once if vision problems (eg, blurred or double vision) occur.
  • Do not change from one brand or generic version of Interferon Alfacon-1 to another without consulting your pharmacist or doctor. Products manufactured by different companies may not be equally effective.
  • Do not share razors or toothbrushes with other people. Interferon Alfacon-1 does not prevent the spread of hepatitis C. If you have questions about how to prevent the spread of hepatitis C, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Interferon Alfacon-1 before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • You should receive an eye exam before using Interferon Alfacon-1 . If you have an eye disease or are at risk for eye disease (eg, diabetes), you should have periodic eye exams while using Interferon Alfacon-1 .
  • Contraceptive (birth control) measures are recommended for use with men and women while taking Interferon Alfacon-1 .
  • Lab tests, including liver function, serum albumin, platelet counts, and blood cholesterol, may be performed while you use Interferon Alfacon-1 . These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Interferon Alfacon-1 should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use Interferon Alfacon-1 if you are pregnant. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. It is not known if Interferon Alfacon-1 is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Interferon Alfacon-1 .

Possible side effects of Interferon Alfacon-1 :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Diarrhea; dizziness; flu-like symptoms (eg, chills; headache; mild, temporary fever); hair thinning; increased sweating; joint or muscle aches; loss of appetite; mild bruising, itching, lump, redness, or swelling at the injection site; nausea; stomach upset; tiredness; weight loss.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); black, tarry, or blood stools; blood diarrhea; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; decreased urination; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; high or persistent fever, chills, or sore throat; mental or mood changes (eg, depression, irritability, nervousness, anxiety, aggressive behavior); numbness of an arm or leg; one-sided weakness; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe stomach or lower back pain; shortness of breath; slurred speech; sudden severe vomiting; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst or urination, unusual drowsiness, flushing, fruit-like breath odor); thoughts of killing or hurting yourself or others; unusual bleeding or bruising; vision problems or changes; yellowing of skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chills; fever; loss of appetite; muscle pain.

Proper storage of Interferon Alfacon-1 :

Store Interferon Alfacon-1 in refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Avoid vigorous shaking and exposure to direct sunlight. Use only 1 dose per vial. Do not use solution from the same vial again. Throw away any unused portion. Keep Interferon Alfacon-1 , as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Interferon Alfacon-1 , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Interferon Alfacon-1 is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Interferon Alfacon-1 . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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