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Sylatron

Generic Name: peginterferon alfa-2b (peg in ter FEER on AL fa too bee)
Brand Names: PegIntron, Sylatron

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Apr 9, 2019.

What is Sylatron?

Sylatron (peginterferon alfa-2b) is made from human proteins that help the body fight viral infections.

Sylatron is a prescription medicine that is used to prevent malignant melanoma (a kind of skin cancer) from coming back after it has been removed by surgery.

Sylatron should be started within 84 days of surgery to remove lymph nodes containing cancer.

It is not known if Sylatron is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Important Information

You should not use Sylatron if you have autoimmune hepatitis or severe liver damage, or if you are allergic to any type of interferon alfa.

Do not use Sylatron if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant. Use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 10 days after the final dose.

Sylatron may cause serious or fatal side effects, and can worsen a medical condition you already have. Call your doctor if you have symptoms such as mood or behavior changes, chest pain, fast heartbeats, trouble breathing, numbness or weakness, loss of coordination, fever, chills, a cough with mucus, burning when you urinate, or bloody diarrhea.

Tell your doctor about any new or worsening mood symptoms, such as feeling irritable, hostile, aggressive, depressed, or having thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Sylatron if:

  • you are pregnant;

  • you are allergic to any type of interferon alfa; or

  • you have autoimmune hepatitis, or severe liver damage.

Sylatron can worsen a medical condition you already have.

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

You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment.

Peginterferon alfa-2b may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while using this medicine and for at least 10 days after your last dose. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because peginterferon alfa-2b can harm an unborn baby.

You should not use Sylatron if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using peginterferon alfa-2b. Ask your doctor about any risk.

How should I use Sylatron?

Use Sylatron exactly as directed. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets.

Sylatron is injected under the skin, usually once per week. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Your doctor may recommend you take a fever-reducer medication at bedtime to help prevent flu-like symptoms. Use this medicine for as long as your doctor has prescribed.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene and have regular dental exams while using peginterferon alfa-2b. Rinse your mouth well if you vomit at any time while using Sylatron.

You may need frequent medical tests.

Sylatron vials (bottles) should be stored at 25°C (77°F). Excursions are permitted between 15°-30°C (59-86°F). Do not freeze. Do not reuse a vial.

Use a needle and syringe only once and then place them in a puncture-proof "sharps" container. Follow state or local laws about how to dispose of this container. Keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

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

Overdose symptoms may include headache, extreme tiredness, muscle pain, fever, sore throat, trouble breathing, bruising or bleeding.

What should I avoid while using Sylatron?

Avoid coffee, tea, energy drinks, or other products that contain caffeine.

Sylatron side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Sylatron: hives, or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling; chest pain, anxiety, difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your doctor right away if you have unusual changes in mood or behavior, such as: depression, irritability, feeling hostile or aggressive, hallucinations, thoughts about hurting yourself, or falling back into a previous pattern of drug addiction. These symptoms may occur during treatment and up to 6 months after your last dose.

Peginterferon alfa-2b may cause serious or fatal side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • fever, chills, cough with mucus;

  • chest pain, fast heartbeats, trouble breathing;

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

  • sudden numbness or weakness, loss of coordination, slurred speech;

  • vision problems;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding;

  • upper stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your arms or legs;

  • bloody diarrhea, burning when you urinate;

  • yellowing of the skin or eyes;

  • high blood sugar - increased thirst or urination, fruity breath odor, tiredness, weight loss; or

  • thyroid problems - weight changes, skin changes, thinking problems, feeling hot or cold all the time.

It is not known if Sylatron is safe and effective in children less than 18 years of age.

Common Sylatron side effects may include:

  • flu-like symptoms, weakness, feeling tired;

  • mild depression or sadness;

  • nausea, loss of appetite, weight loss;

  • thinning hair; or

  • redness, swelling, or itching where the medicine was injected.

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 Sylatron?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

  • telbivudine.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with peginterferon alfa-2b, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Sylatron only for the indication prescribed.

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

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