Chemical Name: INTERFERON (in-ter-FEER-on) ALFA-2b
This medicine is an interferon used to treat certain types of leukemia, certain AIDS-related illnesses, and certain forms of hepatitis. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.
WARNING: This medicine can cause or worsen some serious medical conditions including psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression), immune system problems (autoimmune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis), circulation problems (e.g., cardiovascular disease/blood clots), or infections (bone marrow suppression). If your medical history includes any of these conditions, inform your doctor promptly. Also, tell your doctor immediately if any serious symptoms or side effects occur (see Possible Side Effects section). These conditions occur infrequently, but some can be fatal. Some medicines or medical conditions may interact with this medicine. INFORM YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST of all prescription and over-the-counter medicine that you are taking. ADDITIONAL MONITORING OF YOUR DOSE OR CONDITION may be needed if you are taking fluorouracil, zidovudine, barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital), theophylline, vidarabine, other drugs that depress the immune system (e.g., anti-cancer type). Tell your doctor if you take any drugs that make you drowsy, such as: medicine for sleep (e.g., sedatives), tranquilizers, anti-anxiety drugs (e.g., diazepam), narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), psychiatric medicines (e.g., phenothiazines such as chlorpromazine, or tricyclics such as amitriptyline), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., carbamazepine), muscle relaxants, and certain antihistamines (e.g., diphenhydramine). USE OF THIS MEDICINE IS NOT RECOMMENDED if you have a history of other severe liver conditions (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis, decompensated liver disease), or immune system suppression for organ transplants. Inform your doctor of any other medical conditions, including psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression), low blood cell counts (e.g., red cells, white cells, or platelets), heart problems, thyroid problems, lung diseases (e.g., COPD, asthma, pneumonia), intestinal disease (e.g., colitis), pancreatitis, immune system diseases (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), eye problems, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, brain tumors, seizures, allergies, pregnancy, or breast-feeding. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about taking this medicine.
Follow the directions for using this medicine provided by your doctor. This medicine is sometimes used at home as an injection. Before using this medicine, a healthcare professional will provide detailed instructions for its appropriate use. This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read it carefully. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this medicine or giving injections. USE THIS MEDICINE AT BEDTIME unless directed otherwise. DRINKING EXTRA FLUIDS while you are taking this medicine is recommended. Check with your doctor or nurse for instructions. STORE THIS MEDICINE as directed on the prescription label. Do not use this medicine if it is cloudy or discolored. ANY LEFTOVER MEDICINE or supplies used with this medicine should be placed in a plastic bag and disposed of as instructed by your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. IF YOU MISS A DOSE OF THIS MEDICINE, check with your doctor for further instructions. Do not use 2 doses at once.
KEEP ALL DOCTOR AND LABORATORY APPOINTMENTS while you are taking this medicine. DO NOT CHANGE BRANDS OF THIS MEDICINE without discussing it with your doctor. THIS MEDICINE MAY CAUSE dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to this medicine. THIS MEDICINE WILL ADD TO THE EFFECTS of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants. BEFORE YOU HAVE DENTAL WORK, check with your doctor. IF YOU EXPERIENCE difficulty breathing; tightness of chest; swelling of eyelids, face, or lips; or if you develop a rash or hives, tell your doctor immediately. Do not take any more doses of this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. FOR WOMEN: IF YOU PLAN ON BECOMING PREGNANT, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medicine during pregnancy. IT IS UNKNOWN IF THIS MEDICINE IS EXCRETED in breast milk. DO NOT BREAST-FEED while taking this medicine.
Possible side effects
SIDE EFFECTS, that may go away during treatment, include flu-like symptoms of fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle/joint aches, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain; temporary hair loss; or change in taste. If they continue or are bothersome, check with your doctor. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience drowsiness, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, one-sided weakness (arm/leg), vision changes, poor coordination, irregular heartbeat, intolerance to heat or cold, black stools, persistent sore throat, chest tightness, unusual bleeding/bruising, tingling hands or feet, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, seizures, change in amount of urine, unusual increase in thirst, or severe stomach/abdominal pain. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY AND STOP YOUR TREATMENT with interferon if you experience any of the following: unusual or severe mental/mood changes (e.g., suicidal thoughts or severe depression), or bloody diarrhea. IF YOU EXPERIENCE difficulty breathing; tightness of chest; swelling of eyelids, face, or lips; or if you develop a rash or hives, tell your doctor immediately. Do not use any more doses of this medicine unless your doctor tells you to do so. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
If you take too much
If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately.
KEEP THIS MEDICINE out of the reach of children. Dispose of properly after use. IF USING THIS MEDICINE FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, obtain refills before your supply runs out.