Peginterferon Alfa-2b

Peginterferon Alfa-2b is a prescription used for the treatment of various cancers and virus infections such as:

  • Melanoma
  • Leukemia
  • AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Condylomata acuminata
  • Chronic hepatitis B
  • Chronic hepatitis C

Melanoma is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes. This typically occurs in the skin but may rarely occur in the intestines, mouth, or eye. Some symptoms may be tenderness, pain or itchiness, sores that do not heal, and changes in texture or bleeding from an existing mole.

Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. Bone marrow produces blood cells. Leukemia can happen when there is a problem with the production of blood cells. It usually affects the leukocytes or white blood cells. Some signs and symptoms of this condition may be losing weight without trying, easy bleeding/bruising, recurrent nosebleeds, or tiny red spots on your skin.

AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused by a herpes virus. It may spread through sexual contact. Tumors with tiny new blood vessels grow below the surface of the skin and in membranes of your nose, mouth, eyes, and anus. It can spread to your lungs, stomach, and lymph nodes which are glands that help you fight infection.

Condylomata acuminata is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted infections. It affects the moist tissues of the genital area. It may look like small, flesh-colored bumps or have a cauliflower-like appearance. The signs and symptoms may include itching or discomfort in your genital area, flesh-colored or gray swellings in your genital area, and bleeding with intercourse.

Chronic hepatitis B and C are both viral infections that attack the liver and they have similar symptoms. These symptoms can include fever, fatigue, dark yellow urine, nausea, vomiting, or pale/gray stools. The most significant difference between hepatitis B and C is that people may get hepatitis B from the bodily fluids of an infected person. Hepatitis C usually spreads through blood-to-blood contact.

Peginterferon Alfa-2b is the same as a protein that your body naturally produces. It is called interferon. Interferons are a group of signaling proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of several viruses. In the body, this medication is thought to affect cell function or growth. This may as well affect the body’s natural defenses in many ways. Adding more interferon may help your body fight off cancer or virus infections. Peginterferon Alfa-2b is supplied in both vials and a single-use pre-filled pen for subcutaneous use. Each vial contains either 74 mcg, 188.4 mcg, 177.6 mcg, or 222 mcg of Peginterferon Alfa-2b. The pre-filled pen is a dual-chamber glass of cartridge contains lyophilized Peginterferon Alfa-2b. Each has either 67.5 mcg, 108 mcg, 162 mcg, or 202.5 mcg of Peginterferon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this medication.

How does Peginterferon Alfa-2b work?

Interferons are a family of small protein molecules that are produced naturally by cells in response to viral infections. Three major classes of Interferons have been identified; alpha, beta, and gamma. Peginterferon Alfa-2b is thought to boost the immune system causing it to attack infected or abnormal cells. This prevents malignant cells from increasing in numbers. In chronic hepatitis B and C, this drug helps prevent these viruses from multiplying in the liver cells.

How to use Peginterferon Alfa-2b?

Peginterferon Alfa-2b is given by injection into a muscle or under the skin as directed by your doctor. Rotate the injection site each time you inject the medication to prevent soreness. It may also be given by injection into a vein or directly into a lesion. Do not shake the medication container. Doing so may lessen the effectiveness of the drug. Check the product visually for particles before using. Do not use the liquid if either is present. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Do not change the dose or how often you use this prescription. Use Peginterferon Alfa-2b regularly for the best benefit. To help you remember, use it at the same time on a scheduled dose. You should also suddenly not stop this prescription without the consent of your doctor. Follow your doctor’s directions carefully.

What are the side effects of Peginterferon Alfa-2b?

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Weakness
  • Feeling tired
  • Mild depression or sadness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Thinning hair
  • Swelling, redness, or itching where the medicine was injected

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Cough with mucus
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing, chest pain, fast heartbeats
  • A light-headed feeling
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual bleeding or easy bruising
  • Burning when you urinate
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your legs
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Thyroid problems (skin changes, weight changes, feeling hot or cold all the time)
  • High blood sugar (weight loss, tiredness, fruity breath odor, or increased thirst or urination)

Warnings and Precautions

  • Peginterferon Alfa-2b may lessen your ability to drive or operate machinery safely. Do not drive or use any machinery until you can do it safely.
  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluid while having this medication.
  • This medicine has rarely been associated with side effects on the eyes. You should have an eye examination before starting this treatment.
  • This drug may rarely lessen the number of blood cells in your blood. Tell your doctor right away if you experience any disturbances in your vision during treatment.
  • Lung inflammation and pneumonia occur rarely in people treated with this drug. For this season it is important to tell your doctor if you get a fever or shortness of breath during treatment.
  • During treatment with Peginterferon Alfa-2b, you will need to have regular blood tests. This is to monitor such as liver and thyroid function.
  • Your ability to become pregnant or father a child may be affected by treatment with this medication. It is important to discuss with your doctor before starting this medication.
  • This prescription should be used with caution in children and those with a history of depression and lung disease.