Generic Name: Peginterferon Alfa-2b (Peg-Intron) (peg IN ter FEER on AL fa)
Brand Name: PEG-Intron, Redipen
- Alpha interferons may cause or make diseases of the mind worse. Taking one's own life, ideas of killing yourself or murder, low mood (depression), forceful actions, hallucinations, psychoses, and relapse of drug addiction have happened during treatment and within 6 months after the last dose. Alpha interferons may also cause or make infections, blood flow problems, or autoimmune diseases worse. Some of these may be deadly. If you think you have any of these health problems, call your doctor right away. Side effects such as high or low blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, and heart attacks have happened while taking alpha interferons. If you have very bad signs or if signs of these health problems get worse, talk with your doctor about stopping PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). Problems are most often fixed after you stop the drug.
- This medicine may be used with ribavirin. If you are also taking ribavirin, talk with the doctor about the risks and side effects that may happen.
Uses of PEG-Intron:
- It is used to treat hepatitis C infection.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take PEG-Intron?
- If you have an allergy to PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) or any part of PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)).
- If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If you have ever had any of these health problems: Autoimmune hepatitis or liver disease.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take PEG-Intron?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Tell your doctor if you have signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- Take good care of your teeth. See a dentist often.
- If you throw up, rinse your mouth out well.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while taking PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)).
- Very bad and sometimes deadly pancreas problems (pancreatitis) have happened with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). Call your doctor right away if you have very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very upset stomach or throwing up.
- A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
- Tell your doctor if you take a drug that has caffeine, or you eat or drink products that have caffeine, like tea, coffee, cola, or chocolate.
- If you are 65 or older, use PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
- It is not known if PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) will prevent liver failure or other liver problems like cancer. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) while you are pregnant.
- Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.
How is this medicine (PEG-Intron) best taken?
Use PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
- Your doctor may teach you how to give the shot.
- Give the weekly shot at bedtime to lower the flu-like signs.
- Acetaminophen may be given to lower fever and chills.
- Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.
- Follow how to give closely if you or a family member is giving the shot at home.
- Wash your hands before and after use.
- Do not shake.
- Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
- Do not use if solution changes color.
- Move the site where you give the shot with each shot.
- Throw syringe away after use. Do not use the same syringe more than one time.
- Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
- This medicine must be mixed with sterile water before using. The sterile water that comes with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) is meant for one use only. Throw away any part of the sterile water that is not used after one use.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Call your doctor to find out what to do.
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Not able to focus.
- Not able to handle heat or cold.
- Change in look of teeth or gums.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- This medicine may cause eye problems that may lead to loss of eyesight or blindness. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have any changes in eyesight.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly lung problems have happened with PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly bowel problems (colitis) have happened within 12 weeks of treatment with alpha interferons like PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). Call your doctor right away if you have very bad belly pain, bloody loose stools, throwing up blood, or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.
What are some other side effects of PEG-Intron?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Flu-like signs.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Not hungry.
- Hair loss.
- Not able to sleep.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Weight loss.
- Change in taste.
- Dry mouth.
- Irritation where the shot is given.
- Muscle or joint pain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out PEG-Intron?
- Store vials at room temperature. Do not freeze.
- Store Redipen® syringes in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Use right away after mixing or you may store in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Throw away any part not used after use.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
- Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) is refilled. If you have any questions about PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)), please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)) or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)). This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using PEG-Intron (peginterferon alfa-2b (peg-intron)).
Review Date: March 7, 2018
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