What is this medicine?
PEGINTERFERON ALFA-2b (peg in ter FEER on AL fa 2 b) is a man-made drug that acts like a protein made by the body. It is used to treat chronic hepatitis C infections.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- auto-immune hepatitis
- blood or bleeding disorders
- colitis like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
- depression or other mental disorders
- drug abuse or addiction
- heart disease
- kidney disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- thyroid problems
- an unusual or allergic reaction to peginterferon, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medicine?
This medicine is for injection under the skin. Do NOT shake this medicine. You will be taught how to prepare and give this medicine. Use exactly as directed. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed.
It is important that you put your used needles and syringes in a special sharps container. Do not put them in a trash can. If you do not have a sharps container, call your pharmacist or healthcare provider to get one.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 3 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If several days have passed since you missed your dose ask your doctor what to do. Do not take more than one dose in a week unless your doctor tells you to. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medicine?
What should I watch for while using this medicine?
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need regular blood checks.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- bloody diarrhea
- breathing problems
- change in blood sugar
- changes in vision
- chest pain
- fast, irregular heartbeat
- increased anger, depression, irritability, or thoughts of suicide
- pain in lower back or stomach
- pain, tingling, numbness in the hands or feet
- redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, including inside the mouth
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- aches, pains
- dry, itchy skin
- hair loss
- loss of appetite
- nausea or stomach upset
- pain or swelling at site where injected
- trouble sleeping
- unusually weak or tired