Neulasta is a brand name of pegfilgrastim, a drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the chance of infection for patients with neutropenia.
Neutropenia is a condition that is characterized by a low neutrophil count. Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cell made in the bone marrow to defend against infections. The most common cause of neutropenia is cancer chemotherapy.
If your doctor prescribes Neulasta, discuss the potential serious side effects so you know what symptoms to watch for. Your doctor will determine if the risks of prescribing Nuelasta are worth the positive effects of the medication.
Serious side effects include:
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
ARDS is a serious lung problem. If you experience shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or a fast rate of breathing, call your doctor immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.
An allergic reaction to Neulasta can be very serious. If you experience shortness of breath, fast pulse, swelling in the throat or around the mouth or eyes, sweating wheezing, dizziness, or itchiness, call your doctor immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.
While taking Neulasta, your spleen may enlarge and can rupture. You can die from a ruptured spleen.
If you experience pain in your left upper abdomen — your spleen is located in the upper left section of your stomach area — or pain in your left shoulder tip area, call your doctor immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.
Sickle cell crisis
If you have a sickle cell disease, you may risk a serious sickle cell crisis while taking Neulasta. If you experience the symptoms of sickle cell crisis — such as difficulty breathing or pain — call your doctor immediately or go to a hospital emergency room.
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience side effects such as:
- sore throat
- white spots or sores in your mouth
- trouble breathing
- tightness in your chest
- itching (rash or hives)
- swelling of your hands, lower legs, ankles, or feet
- swelling around the mouth or eyes
- urinating less often
- blood in your urine
- blue lips
- pain in your left upper stomach
- pain in your left shoulder tip
Common Neulasta side effects | Common side effects
Some side effects of Neulasta may not need to be treated by your doctor. As your body adjusts to the medicine, some of these side effects may go away as treatment progresses.
Talk with your doctor if side effects continue or are causing you problems in your daily life.
Common side effects of Neulasta include:
- thinning hair or hair loss
- change in sense of taste
- cracked lips
- physical weakness
- muscle soreness
- joint pain
- bone pain
- trouble sleeping
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
If you have been diagnosed with neutropenia and your doctor has prescribed Neulasta, you should be aware of some of the potential side effects such as spleen rupture and ARDS.
Your doctor will balance the risks against the positive effects of the medication and make you aware of symptoms to watch for so you can respond appropriately, if necessary, to any side effects you might experience.