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All about: PEG-Intron Redipen

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Generic Name: peginterferon alfa-2b (peg in ter FEAR on AL fa 2 b)
Brand Names: PEG-Intron, PEG-Intron Redipen

What is PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Peginterferon alfa-2b is a long acting interferon. Interferons are proteins released in the body in response to viral infections. Interferons are important for fighting viruses in the body, for regulating reproduction of cells, and for regulating the immune system.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is a specific interferon used to treat chronic hepatitis C.

Peginterferon alfa-2b may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you develop symptoms of depression or are contemplating suicide; become unusually irritable, anxious (nervous), or aggressive; or experience other mood or behavior changes. In some cases, peginterferon alfa-2b has caused serious mood or behavioral problems. Problems with body organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes have been experienced by people taking peginterferon alfa-2b or other similar drugs. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop difficulty breathing, chest pain, blurred vision, or loss of vision.

Some patients taking peginterferon alfa-2b have developed a drop in the number of white blood cells and platelets. If the number of these blood cells are too low, there is an increased risk of infection or bleeding. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a fever, symptoms of an infection, or unusual bleeding or bruising.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Peginterferon alfa-2b may cause drowsiness or impair alertness. If you experience drowsiness or impaired alertness, avoid these activities.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Do not use peginterferon alfa-2b without first talking to your doctor if you have had an allergic reaction to an alfa interferon in the past or if you are allergic to E. coli derived products.

Before using peginterferon alfa-2b, tell your doctor if you have

  • a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, or another mental illness;

  • an active infection;

  • heart disease or history of a heart attack;

  • an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or psoriasis;

  • have a suppressed immune system or have received an organ transplant,

  • have a seizure disorder,

  • have diabetes,

  • have bone marrow suppression,

  • have kidney disease, or
  • have liver disease.

You may not be able to use peginterferon alfa-2b, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment if you have any of the conditions listed above.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is in the FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is not known whether peginterferon alfa-2b will be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use this medication if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment. It is not known whether peginterferon alfa-2b passes into breast milk. Do not use this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How should I use PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Use peginterferon alfa-2b exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to explain them to you.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is used as a subcutaneous injection only. Your doctor or nurse will give you detailed instructions on how and where to inject this medication. Do not inject this medication if you are unsure how.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is given subcutaneously once a week. The dose should be administered on the same day each week.

Do not inject peginterferon alfa-2b if it is discolored or has particles in it.

Never reuse a needle or syringe. Dispose of all needles and syringes in an appropriate, puncture-resistant disposal container.

Do not stop using this medication without first talking to your doctor.

It is important to use peginterferon alfa-2b regularly to get the most benefit.

Your doctor may want to you to have regularly scheduled blood tests during treatment with peginterferon alfa-2b.

Flulike symptoms are likely to occur. They are most common at the start of therapy and may decrease with continued use. Over-the-counter fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others), and naproxen (Aleve), plenty of fluid, and taking the medication at bedtime may help to alleviate these symptoms.

It is not known whether treatment with peginterferon alfa-2b will prevent the transmission of hepatitis C to others. It is also not known whether peginterferon alfa-2b will cure hepatitis C or prevent cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer that may be the result of infection with hepatitis C virus.

Store the vials of unmixed peginterferon alfa-2b powder at room temperature away from light and heat. After mixing, the solution should be injected right away. However, it may be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 8 degrees Celsius). Do not allow the peginterferon alfa-2b solution to freeze. Store the PEG-Intron Redipen in the refrigerator at 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 8 degrees Celsius). After mixing, the solution should be injected right away. However, it may be stored for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

What happens if I miss a dose?

A missed dose of peginterferon alfa-2b (Peg-Intron) can be injected the next day, then return to the regular schedule. If more than one day has passed since the dose was missed, contact your doctor. Do not use a double dose of the medication.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if an overdose is suspected.

Symptoms of a peginterferon alfa-2b overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while using PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Peginterferon alfa-2b may cause drowsiness or impair alertness. If you experience drowsiness or impaired alertness, avoid these activities.

PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b) side effects

Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you develop symptoms of depression or are contemplating suicide; become unusually irritable, anxious (nervous), or aggressive; or experience other mood or behavior changes. In some cases, peginterferon alfa-2b has caused serious mood or behavioral problems. Problems with body organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes have been experienced by people taking peginterferon alfa-2b or other similar drugs. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop difficulty breathing, chest pain, blurred vision, or loss of vision.

Some patients taking peginterferon alfa-2b have developed a drop in the number of white blood cells and platelets. If the number of these blood cells are too low, there is an increased risk of infection or bleeding. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a fever, symptoms of an infection, or unusual bleeding or bruising.

If you experience an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives), stop using peginterferon alfa-2b and seek emergency medical attention.

Flulike symptoms are likely to occur. They are most common at the start of therapy and may decrease with continued use. Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and plenty of fluid may help to alleviate these symptoms. Continue to use peginterferon alfa-2b and notify your doctor if you experience:

  • fever or chills;

  • headache;

  • muscle aches;

  • nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea or constipation;

  • dizziness or drowsiness;

  • loss or thinning of hair; or

  • bruising, itching, or irritation at the injection site.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect PEG-Intron Redipen (peginterferon alfa-2b)?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are taking theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theochron, Theolair, others). Peginterferon alfa-2b may increase theophylline levels in the body, which could become dangerous.

Medications other than those listed here may also interact with peginterferon alfa-2b. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about peginterferon alfa-2b written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

Peginterferon alfa-2b is available with a prescription under the brand names PEG-Intron and PEG-Intron Redipen. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01. Revision Date: 2/23/04 2:32:52 PM.

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