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peginterferon alfa-2b (generic name)

(peg in ter FEER on AL fa 2 b): An antiviral interferon - It is a man-made drug that acts like a protein made by the body

peginterferon alfa-2b

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.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
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
  • fever
  • 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
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea or stomach upset
  • pain or swelling at site where injected
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusually weak or tired

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
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?
  • dextromethorphan
  • flecainide
  • methadone
  • phenytoin
  • theophylline
  • tolbutamide
  • warfarin

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your 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 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
  • kidney disease
  • lupus
  • psoriasis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • thyroid problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to peginterferon, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding
Can I stop taking the medication if I feel better?
If you have been diagnosed with a disease for which an antibiotic is needed, you must complete the prescribed course of treatment. Even if you start to feel better, do not skip any doses and remember to take the medication until it is all gone.
I am on so many medications; do I have to take them all?
This is called polypharmacy—many different medications being used at the same time by one person. Sometimes, being on multiple medications is acceptable and appropriate but at other times it may be problematic. If you are receiving your medications from multiple physicians you need to ensure that they all know what medications you are taking. The best way to do this is to make a list of all the medications you are currently using, including all nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies, vitamins and over-the-counter drugs (if possible, also include all the diseases you have been diagnosed with). Give a copy to every doctor who takes care of you so they have it on file, this way they can avoid duplicating medications and perhaps even try to consolidate some. After every doctor's visit remember to update the list accordingly. Also, as much as you possibly can, try to use the same pharmacy to fill all your prescriptions, this way any potential drug interactions can be caught and averted.

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