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Interferon Alfa-2b

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Intron® A
    • Brand Names: Canada: Intron® A

    Uses
    • It is used to treat cancer.
    • It is used to treat genital warts.
    • It is used to treat hepatitis B and C infections.
    • It is used to treat skin wounds in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.
    • Interferon alfa-2b helps fight viral infections.
    • It may affect the cancer cells or the body's response to the cancer.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
    • It is given as a shot.
    • Your doctor may teach you how to give the shot.
    • Take at bedtime to help with flu-like signs.
    • Wash your hands before and after use.
    • Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box and take the box back to your doctor when it is full.
    • Treating genital warts is done in a doctor's office.

    Missed Dose

    • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
    • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
    • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
    • Do not change the dose, brand, or stop this drug. Talk with the doctor.

    Storage

    • Store unopened vials in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • Alpha interferons may cause or make diseases of the mind worse. Taking one's own life, ideas of killing yourself or murder, low mood (depression), forceful actions, hallucinations, psychoses, and relapse of drug addiction have happened with use. Alpha interferons may make infections worse, cause blood flow problems or some autoimmune diseases. If you think you have any of these health problems, call your doctor right away. Side effects such as low blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, and heart attacks have happened while taking alpha interferons. If you have very bad signs or if signs of these health problems get worse, talk with your doctor about stopping this drug. Problems are most often fixed after you stop the drug.
    • Sometimes drugs are not safe when you take them with certain other drugs. Taking them together can cause bad side effects. This is one of those drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the drugs you take.
    • Please read the medication guide.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to interferon alfa-2b or any other part of this drug.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you have any of these health problems: Autoimmune disease, confusion caused by liver disease, fluid in your belly, liver disease, or very low mood (depression).
    • If you have had a transplant.
    • If you are breast-feeding.

    Precautions

    • If you have bleeding problems, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor.
    • If you have a drug or drinking problem, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have any eye problems, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have kidney disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor. The flu-like side effects of interferon may be stressful to heart patients.
    • If you have high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have lung disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have mental illness or thoughts of taking your own life, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have thyroid disease, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked. Talk with your doctor.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Avoid beer, wine, mixed drinks, or other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
    • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.

    Side Effects

    • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating. Mild pain drugs may help.
    • Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred eyesight, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
    • Headache.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
    • Anemia, low white blood cell count, and low platelet count.
    • Low mood (depression).
    • Irritation where the shot is given.
    • Dry mouth. Good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help. See a dentist often.
    • Loose stools (diarrhea).
    • Not hungry.
    • Hair loss. Hair most often grows back when this drug is stopped.
    • Not able to sleep.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • If you think there was an overdose, call your local poison control center or ER right away.
    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue or gray skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
    • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Cough that does not go away.
    • Very bad belly pain or bloody loose stools.
    • A big weight loss.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • Any bruising or bleeding.
    • Feeling very tired or weak.
    • Sudden change in eyesight, eye pain, or irritation.
    • Any rash.
    • Side effect or health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2013 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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