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Generic Name: aldesleukin (AL des LOO kin)
Brand Name: Proleukin

Medically reviewed by on Jul 27, 2020 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is Proleukin?

Proleukin is a cancer medication that interferes with tumor growth.

Proleukin is used to treat kidney cancer or skin cancer than has spread to other parts of the body.

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

Important Information

Proleukin is a cancer medication used to treat kidney or skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

You should not receive this medication if you have recently had abnormal lung or heart function tests.

Proleukin can cause a serious blood vessel problem. Call your doctor at once if you have mood or behavior changes, confusion, chest pain, trouble breathing, bloody or tarry stools, or little or no urinating.

Also tell your doctor if you feel very drowsy during treatment.

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive this medication if you are allergic to Proleukin or interleukin-2, or if you have:

  • an infection caused by bacteria;

  • if you have received an organ transplant;

  • if you have recently had an abnormal lung function test; or

  • if you have recently had an abnormal exercise test showing decreased blood flow to your heart.

You may not be able to receive Proleukin if you have had any of these side effects while receiving this medicine in the past:

  • irregular heart rhythm;

  • chest pain;

  • a build-up of fluid around your heart;

  • kidney failure;

  • seizures;

  • psychosis (thinking problems, hallucinations, or changes in personality);

  • stomach or intestinal bleeding; or

  • if you needed a breathing tube.

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

It is not known whether Proleukin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether aldesleukin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is Proleukin given?

Proleukin is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, kidney function, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving Proleukin. Your blood will also need to be tested daily during treatment, and you may also need chest X-rays.

After 4 weeks off the medication, your doctor will examine you to determine if you need to be treated again with Proleukin.

If you need to have any type of X-ray or CT scan using a dye that is injected into your veins, be sure the doctor knows ahead of time if you have recently received Proleukin. Some people treated with this medicine or similar medication have had unusual allergic reactions to contrast agents used within weeks to several months later.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Proleukin.

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 receiving Proleukin?

Proleukin can pass into body fluids (urine, feces, vomit). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Proleukin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe drowsiness, feeling like you might pass out;

  • chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats;

  • runny or stuffy nose, cough, rapid breathing and heart rate, trouble breathing, swelling and pain in any part of your body;

  • problems with vision, speech, balance, or coordination;

  • mood or behavior changes, confusion, agitation, hallucinations;

  • seizures (convulsions);

  • swelling, rapid weight gain, little or no urinating;

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;

  • a blistering skin rash;

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • signs of infection such as fever, chills, sore throat, flu symptoms, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums), nausea and vomiting, mouth sores, unusual weakness.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Proleukin?

Taking Proleukin with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can increase these effects. Ask your doctor before taking this medicine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Proleukin can harm your kidneys. This effect is increased when you also use certain other medicines, including: antivirals, chemotherapy, injected antibiotics, medicine for bowel disorders, medicine to prevent organ transplant rejection, and some pain or arthritis medicines (including aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve).

Many other drugs may interact with Proleukin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide. Give a list of all your medicines to any healthcare provider who treats you.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.