November 27, 2015


Side Effects


The following adverse reactions are described below and elsewhere in the warnings and precautions section of the labeling:

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The following data on adverse reactions are based on the subcutaneous administration of ACTIMMUNE at a dose of 50 mcg/m², three times weekly, in patients with CGD during a clinical trial in the United States and Europe.

The most common adverse reactions observed in patients with CGD are shown in the following table:

Table 2: Adverse Reactions Occurring in 2 % or Greater of CGD Patients Receiving ACTIMMUNE in Clinical Trials

Adverse Reactions Percent of Patients
Placebo CGD
Fever 52 28
Headache 33 9
Rash 17 6
Chills 14 0
Injection site erythema or tenderness 14 2
Fatigue 14 11
Diarrhea 14 12
Vomiting 13 5
Nausea 10 2
Myalgia 6 0
Arthralgia 2 0

Similar safety data were observed in 34 patients with SMO.

The clinical and laboratory toxicity associated with multiple dose studies of ACTIMMUNE is dose, route and schedule-dependent.

The most common adverse reactions include constitutional symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, myalgia or fatigue which may decrease in severity as treatment continues.

Less Common Adverse Reactions

The following adverse reactions are assessed as potentially related to ACTIMMUNE (interferon gamma-1b) therapy:

Blood and Lymphatic System—neutropenia (reversible), febrile neutropenia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia.

Cardiovascular— angina pectoris, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, atrioventricular block, cardiac failure (including congestive cardiac failure), tachyarrhythmia, heart block, (acute) myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia, syncope, and tachycardia.

Gastrointestinal—abdominal pain, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal bleeding, granulomatous colitis, hepatic insufficiency, and pancreatitis, including pancreatitis with fatal outcome.

General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions—asthenia, chest pain/discomfort, influenza-like illness/flu-like symptoms, injection site hemorrhage, injection site pain, malaise, rigors, and weakness.

Hepatobiliary Disorders—hepatic insufficiency and hepatomegaly.

Immunological—hypersensitivity, increased autoantibodies, lupus-like syndrome (including systemic lupus erythematosus-flares and drug-induced lupus erythematosus), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Infections and Infestations—upper respiratory tract infection.

Investigations—blood alkaline phosphatase increased, liver function tests abnormal/ elevation of hepatic enzymes, increased triglycerides, and weight decreased.

Metabolic—hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertriglyceridemia.

Musculoskeletal—back pain, clubbing, and muscle spasms.

Nervous System—dizziness (excluding vertigo), gait disturbance, headache, Parkinsonian symptoms, convulsion/seizure (including grand mal convulsions), and transient ischemic attacks.

Psychiatric—confusion, depression, disorientation, hallucinations, mental status changes, and mental status decreased.

Pulmonary—tachypnea, bronchospasm, pulmonary edema, and interstitial pneumonitis.

Renal—acute renal failure (which may be reversible) and, proteinuria.

Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders—atopic dermatitis, (exacerbation of) dermatomyositis, transient cutaneous rash, and urticaria.

Vascular Disorder—deep venous thrombosis, hypotension, pulmonary embolism.

Abnormal Laboratory Test Values: Elevations of ALT and AST have been observed [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post approval use of ACTIMMUNE. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Children With CGD Less Than 3 Years Of Age

Data on the safety and activity of ACTIMMUNE in 37 patients under the age of 3 years was pooled from four uncontrolled postmarketing studies. The rate of serious infections per patient-year in this uncontrolled group was similar to the rate observed in the ACTIMMUNE treatment groups in controlled trials. Developmental parameters (height, weight and endocrine maturation) for this uncontrolled group conformed to national normative scales before and during ACTIMMUNE therapy.

In 6 of the 10 patients receiving ACTIMMUNE therapy before age one year 2-fold to 25-fold elevations from baseline of AST and/or ALT were observed. These elevations occurred as early as 7 days after starting treatment. Treatment with ACTIMMUNE was interrupted in all 6 of these patients and was restarted at a reduced dosage in 4. Liver transaminase values returned to baseline in all patients and transaminase elevation recurred in one patient upon ACTIMMUNE rechallenge. An 11-fold alkaline phosphatase elevation and hypokalemia in one patient and neutropenia (ANC = 525 cells/mm³) in another patient resolved with interruption of ACTIMMUNE treatment and did not recur with rechallenge.

In the postmarketing safety database clinically significant adverse reactions observed during ACTIMMUNE therapy in children under the age of three years (n=14) included: two cases of hepatomegaly, and one case each of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, granulomatous colitis, urticaria, and atopic dermatitis.


As with all therapeutic proteins, there is a potential for immunogenicity. In clinical trials, 8 out of 33 ACTIMMUNE-treated patients developed non-neutralizing antibodies to interferon gamma-1b. No neutralizing antibodies to ACTIMMUNE have been detected in patients. In a Phase 1 study, none of the 38 ACTIMMUNE-treated healthy volunteers developed non-neutralizing antibodies to interferon gamma-1b.

The detection of antibody formation, including neutralizing antibody, in an assay may be influenced by several factors including assay methodology, sample handling, timing of sample collection, concomitant medications, and underlying disease. For these reasons, comparison of the incidence of antibodies to ACTIMMUNE with the incidence of antibodies to other products may be misleading.

Read the Actimmune (interferon gamma 1 b) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Myelosuppressive Agents

When administering ACTIMMUNE in combination with other potentially myelosuppressive agents, monitor neutrophil and platelet counts [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Drugs With Neurotoxic, Hematoxic Or Cardiotoxic Effects

The concurrent use of drugs having neurotoxic (including effects on the central nervous system), hematotoxic, or cardiotoxic effects may increase the toxicity of interferons in these systems. It is theoretically possible that hepatotoxic and/or nephrotoxic drugs might have an effect on the clearance of ACTIMMUNE.

Immunological Preparations

Simultaneous administration of ACTIMMUNE with other heterologous serum protein preparations or immunological preparations (e.g., vaccines) should be avoided due to the risk of an unexpected, or amplified, immune response.

Effects On Cytochrome P-450 Pathways

Preclinical studies in rodents using species-specific interferon gamma have demonstrated a decrease in hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-450 concentrations. This could potentially lead to a depression of the hepatic metabolism of certain drugs that utilize this degradative pathway.

Read the Actimmune Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/12/2015

Side Effects

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