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Peginterferon Alfa-2a (E. coli) Solution for injection

It is a man-made drug that acts like a protein made by the body

Generic Name: peginterferon alfa-2a  |  Brand Name: Pegasys

Brand Names: Pegasys

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • May cause or aggravate fatal or life-threatening neuropsychiatric, autoimmune, ischemic, and infectious disorders. Patients should be closely monitored with periodic clinical and laboratory evaluations. Discontinue peginterferon alfa in patients with persistently severe or worsening signs or symptoms of these conditions. In many, but not all cases, these disorders resolve after the drug is discontinued.
  • Concomitant use of ribavirin: ribavirin may cause birth defects and/or death of the fetus. Extreme care must be used to avoid pregnancy in females and in female partners of male patients. Ribavirin causes hemolytic anemia; this may result in worsening of cardiac disease. Ribavirin is genotoxic and mutagenic and should be considered a potential carcinogen.

REMS:

FDA approved a REMS for peginterferon alfa to ensure that the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks. The REMS may apply to one or more preparations of peginterferon alfa and consists of the following: medication guide. See the FDA REMS page ([Web]) or the ASHP REMS Resource Center ([Web]).

What is this medicine?

PEGINTERFERON ALFA-2a (peg in ter FEER on AL fa 2 a) is a man-made drug that acts like a protein made by the body. It is used to treat chronic hepatitis B and 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:
  • alcoholism
  • auto-immune hepatitis
  • blood or bleeding disorders
  • colitis like ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
  • depression or other mental disorders
  • diabetes
  • drug abuse or addiction
  • heart disease
  • history of cancer
  • kidney disease
  • lupus
  • psoriasis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • thyroid problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to peginterferon, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives like benzyl alcohol
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

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 5 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose and you remember within 2 days of when you missed your dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is late in the day, wait until the next day to take your dose. If more than 2 days have passed since you missed your dose ask your doctor what to do. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • alcohol
  • medicines for HIV like didanosine, lamivudine, stavudine, zidovudine
  • methadone
  • theophylline

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.


Last Updated: August 25, 2011
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Peginterferon alfa-2a

 
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