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oprelvekin (injection)

Generic Name: oprelvekin (injection) (oh PERL ve kin)
Brand Name: Neumega

What is oprelvekin?

Oprelvekin is a protein that stimulates production of platelets in the blood. Platelets are important for proper clotting of the blood and for wound healing.

Oprelvekin is used to prevent platelets from becoming dangerously low in certain people receiving chemotherapy that can result in bone marrow suppression or the need for blood platelet transfusions.

Oprelvekin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about oprelvekin?

Stop using oprelvekin and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: fever, rash, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, confusion, fainting, hives, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Once you have had an allergic reaction to oprelvekin, you must never use it again.

Other serious side effects of oprelvekin include swelling or rapid weight gain, chest pain, uneven heartbeats, sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, problems with speech or balance, and sudden vision loss or pain behind your eyes. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these side effects.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using oprelvekin?

You should not use oprelvekin if you are allergic to it.

To make sure oprelvekin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • congestive heart failure;

  • heart rhythm disorder;

  • a buildup of fluid around your lungs (also called pleural effusion);

  • a history of heart disease or stroke;

  • a history of fluid around your liver or heart;

  • a seizure disorder;

  • kidney disease;

  • low levels of potassium in your blood; or

  • if you take a diuretic or "water pill."

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether oprelvekin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.

It is not known whether oprelvekin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.

How should I use oprelvekin?

Oprelvekin is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Treatment with oprelvekin is usually started 6 to 24 hours after chemotherapy is completed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Oprelvekin is a powder medicine that must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medicine.

Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose only when you are ready to give an injection. Do not use if the medicine has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Use a different place on your stomach, thigh, hip, or upper arm each time you give the injection. Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject the medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

Each single-use vial (bottle) of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.

Use a disposable needle only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.

It may take up to 21 days of using this medicine before your platelets increase. For best results, keep using the medication as directed.

While using oprelvekin, you may need frequent blood tests.

Store unused oprelvekin vials and diluent syringes in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose of oprelvekin.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using oprelvekin?

Avoid making any changes in your diet while using this medication. Oprelvekin can cause fluid retention and swelling. Your doctor may recommend a low-salt diet to prevent this condition.

Oprelvekin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction:

  • hives, rash, itching;

  • fever, flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling);

  • wheezing, difficult breathing, chest pain, tightness in your throat;

  • speech problems, confusion, drowsiness, changes in your mental status, feeling like you might pass out; or

  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

An allergic reaction may occur even if you have received oprelvekin in the past without a reaction. Once you have had an allergic reaction to oprelvekin, you must never use it again.

Stop using oprelvekin and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • pain in your chest, on your left side, or behind your breastbone;

  • pain when you breathe, rapid heart rate, feeling short of breath (especially when lying down), feeling weak or tired;

  • anxiety, sweating, pale skin, gasping for breath, cough with foamy mucus;

  • fever, chills, cold or flu symptoms, cough with yellow or green mucus, new or worsening cough, trouble breathing;

  • sudden vision loss, headache or pain behind your eyes with vomiting; or

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out.

Common side effects may include:

  • slight swelling in your hands or feet;

  • eye redness;

  • breathing problems;

  • blurred vision;

  • swelling or bruising where the medicine was injected; or

  • pale skin, trouble concentrating.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Oprelvekin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Thrombocytopenia Drug Induced:

50 mcg/kg subcutaneously once a day starting 6 to 24 hours after chemotherapy completion

Duration of therapy: Until the post-nadir platelet count is 50,000/mcL or greater up to 6 cycles following chemotherapy; dosing beyond 21 days is not recommended; discontinue treatment at least 2 days before starting the next planned chemotherapy cycle.

-Administer in the abdomen, thigh, or hip (or upper arm if not self-injecting).
-In clinical trials, doses were administered in courses of 10 to 21 days.

Use: Prevention of severe thrombocytopenia and reduction of the need for platelet transfusions following myelosuppressive chemotherapy in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies who are at high risk of severe thrombocytopenia.

What other drugs will affect oprelvekin?

Other drugs may interact with oprelvekin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about oprelvekin.
  • 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.
  • Disclaimer: 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 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.02.

Date modified: June 01, 2017
Last reviewed: May 08, 2017