Generic Name: interferon alfa-2b (IN-ter-FEER-on AL-fa)
Brand Name: Intron-A
Intron-A powder may cause or worsen certain serious or life-threatening medical conditions. These may include certain mental or mood problems (eg, depression), immune system problems (eg, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis), heart or blood vessel problems, and infection. Tell your doctor if you have a history of any of these conditions. Tell your doctor at once if you experience any new or worsening symptoms of mental or mood problems (eg, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions, aggression), heart or blood vessel problems (eg, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, one-sided weakness, slurred speech), or signs of infection (eg, fever, chills, or persistent sore throat). Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments while you use Intron-A powder.
Intron-A powder is used for:
Treating some patients for certain types of leukemia, lymphoma, and hepatitis; certain AIDS-related illnesses (eg, Kaposi sarcoma); and genital warts (condylomata acuminata). It is also used in addition to surgery to treat a certain type of skin cancer (malignant melanoma) in some patients. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Intron-A powder is an interferon. Exactly how Intron-A powder works is not known. It is thought to help the immune system fight tumor cells and viruses, as well as decrease their ability to reproduce.
Do NOT use Intron-A powder if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in Intron-A powder
- you have certain liver problems (eg, autoimmune hepatitis, liver failure)
- you have mental or mood problems (eg, depression, suicidal thoughts or actions) or a history of these problems
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using Intron-A powder:
Some medical conditions may interact with Intron-A powder. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- 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 liver or kidney problems, heart problems, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure problems, diabetes, high blood cholesterol or lipid levels, epilepsy or seizures, lung problems, thyroid problems, stomach or intestinal problems (eg, colitis, stomach or intestinal bleeding), eye or vision problems, trouble sleeping, inflammation of the pancreas, or a history of heart attack
- if you have immune system problems, hepatitis B or C infection, HIV infection, a viral infection (eg, chickenpox, shingles), a history of autoimmune disease (eg, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), or if you have had an organ transplant and are taking medicine to decrease your immune system
- if you have a history of cancer, bone marrow problems, low blood cell counts, bleeding or clotting problems, or blood clots in your blood vessels (eg, pulmonary embolism, thrombophlebitis)
- if you have a history of alcohol or other substance abuse or addiction
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Intron-A powder. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:
- Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin), fluorouracil, or theophyllines because their actions and the risk of their side effects may be increased by Intron-A powder
- Any medicines that decrease your immune system following organ transplant surgery (eg, cyclosporine) because they may decrease Intron-A powder's effectiveness
- Interleukin-2 or zidovudine because the risk of bone marrow problems, worsening diabetes, or kidney problems may be increased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Intron-A powder 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 Intron-A powder:
Use Intron-A powder as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Intron-A powder comes with an extra patient information sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it carefully. Read it again each time you get Intron-A powder refilled.
- Intron-A powder is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using Intron-A powder at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use Intron-A powder. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- Intron-A powder must be mixed with sterile water before using. The sterile water that comes with Intron-A powder is meant for one use only. Throw away any part of the sterile water that is not used after one use.
- Do not use Intron-A powder if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Use Intron-A powder at bedtime unless directed otherwise.
- Drinking extra fluids while you are taking Intron-A powder is recommended, especially at the beginning of treatment. Check with your doctor for instructions.
- You may notice flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, mild fever) within the first few weeks after you start Intron-A powder. If these become bothersome, ask your doctor for ways to lessen these effects.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from 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.
- This product does not contain a preservative; dispose of the vial after each use.
- If you miss a dose of Intron-A powder, check with your doctor for further instructions. Do not use 2 doses at once.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Intron-A powder.
Important safety information:
- Intron-A powder may cause dizziness, drowsiness, light-headedness, or changes in vision. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Intron-A powder 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 Intron-A powder; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
- Do not change brands of Intron-A powder without discussing it with your doctor.
- Intron-A powder contains albumin, which comes from human blood. There is a very rare risk of getting a viral disease or a central nervous system disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease from products with albumin. No cases of these problems have been found in patients who have used Intron-A powder.
- Severe and sometimes fatal liver problems have happened with Intron-A powder. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of liver problems (eg, dark urine, pale stools, persistent loss of appetite, right-upper stomach pain, yellowing of the skin or eyes).
- Severe and sometimes fatal lung problems have happened with Intron-A powder. Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems (eg, trouble breathing, shortness of breath, cough that is new or worse).
- Intron-A powder may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to Intron-A powder. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
- Proper dental care is important while you are taking Intron-A powder. Brush and floss your teeth and visit the dentist regularly.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Intron-A powder before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Intron-A powder 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.
- Have an eye exam as you have been told by your doctor.
- Lab tests, including liver function, thyroid function, and complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use Intron-A powder. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use Intron-A powder with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially certain heart side effects and confusion.
- Intron-A powder should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 months old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
- Caution is advised when using Intron-A powder in CHILDREN; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially suicidal thoughts or attempts.
- Intron-A powder may affect growth rate in CHILDREN and teenagers in some cases. They may need regular growth checks while they use Intron-A powder.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Intron-A powder may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Intron-A powder while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Intron-A powder.
Possible side effects of Intron-A powder:
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:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; dry mouth; hair thinning; increased sweating; loss of appetite; mild flu-like symptoms (eg, headache, muscle aches, mild fever or chills); mild redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site; nausea; tiredness; vomiting; weight loss.
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 bloody stools; bloody diarrhea; chest pain; confusion; decreased concentration; decreased urination; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hearing problems or loss of hearing; high or persistent fever, chills, or sore throat; mental or mood changes (eg, aggressive behavior, anxiety, depression, hallucination, irritability, nervousness); one-sided weakness; pain or numbness of an arm or leg; persistent feeling of being unusually cold; reddened, blistered, swollen, or peeling skin; severe lower back pain; severe or persistent dizziness or headache; severe or persistent muscle pain or weakness; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; slurred speech; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst or urination, unusual drowsiness, flushing, fruit-like breath odor); thoughts of killing yourself or others; unusual bleeding or bruising; vision problems or changes (eg, blurred or double vision, decreased vision, or loss of vision).
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of Intron-A powder:
Store Intron-A powder in the refrigerator, between 36 and 46 degrees F (2 and 8 degrees C). Do not freeze. Keep Intron-A powder, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about Intron-A powder, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Intron-A powder 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.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take Intron-A powder or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about Intron-A powder. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Intron-A powder. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Intron-A powder.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.