Acute and transient “flu-like” symptoms such as fever and chills induced by ACTIMMUNE at doses of 250 mcg/m²/day (greater than 10 times the weekly recommended dose) or higher may exacerbate pre-existing cardiac conditions. Patients with pre-existing cardiac conditions, including ischemia, congestive heart failure or arrhythmia on ACTIMMUNE should be monitored for signs/symptoms of exacerbation. Some of the “flu-like” symptoms may be minimized by bedtime administration of ACTIMMUNE. Acetaminophen may also be used to ameliorate these effects.
Decreased mental status, gait disturbance and dizziness have been observed, particularly in patients receiving ACTIMMUNE doses greater than 250 mcg/m²/day (greater than 10 times the weekly recommended dose). Most of these abnormalities were reversible within a few days upon dose reduction or discontinuation of therapy. Monitor patients when administering ACTIMMUNE to patients with seizure disorders or compromised central nervous system function.
Bone Marrow Toxicity
Reversible neutropenia and thrombocytopenia that can be severe and may be dose related have been observed during ACTIMMUNE therapy. Monitor neutrophil and platelet counts in patients with myelosuppression during treatment with ACTIMMUNE.
Repeated administration of ACTIMMUNE to patients with advanced hepatic disease may result in accumulation of interferon gamma-1b. Frequent assessment of liver function in these patients is recommended.
Elevations of aspartate transaminase (AST) and /or alanine transaminase (ALT) (up to 25-fold) have been observed during ACTIMMUNE therapy. The incidence appeared to be higher in patients less than 1 year of age compared to older children. The transaminase elevations were reversible with reduction in dosage or interruption of ACTIMMUNE treatment. Patients begun on ACTIMMUNE before age one year should receive monthly assessments of liver function. If severe hepatic enzyme elevations develop, ACTIMMUNE dosage should be modified [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Isolated cases of acute serious hypersensitivity reactions have been observed in patients receiving ACTIMMUNE. If such an acute reaction develops the drug should be discontinued immediately and appropriate medical therapy instituted. Transient cutaneous rashes have occurred in some patients following injection of ACTIMMUNE that have necessitated treatment interruption.
Monitor renal function regularly when administering ACTIMMUNE in patients with severe renal insufficiency because the possibility exists that with repeated administration, accumulation of interferon gamma-1b may occur. Renal toxicity has been reported in patients receiving ACTIMMUNE.
Allergic Reactions To Natural Rubber
The stopper of the glass vial for ACTIMMUNE contains natural rubber (a derivative of latex) which may cause allergic reactions.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient and/or their parents or caregivers to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Information for Patient/Caregiver).
- Inform patients and/or their parents or caregiver regarding the potential benefits and risks associated with treatment. If home use is determined to be desirable by the physician, instructions on appropriate use should be given, including review of the contents of the Information for Patient/ Caregiver. This information is intended to aid in the safe and effective use of the medication. It is not a disclosure of all possible adverse or intended effects.
- If home use is prescribed, a puncture resistant container for the disposal of used syringes and needles should be used by the patient and/or parents or caregivers. Instruct patients thoroughly on the importance of proper disposal and caution the patient and/or patient or caregiver against any reuse of needles and syringes. The full container should be disposed of according to the directions provided by the physician.
- Advise the patients and/or their parents or caregivers that the most common adverse reactions occurring with ACTIMMUNE therapy are “flu-like” or constitutional symptoms such as fever, headache, chills, myalgia or fatigue [see ADVERSE REACTIONS] which may decrease in severity as treatment continues. Some of the “flu-like” symptoms may be minimized by bedtime administration of ACTIMMUNE. Acetaminophen may also be used to prevent or partially alleviate the fever and headache.
- Advise patients and/or their parents or caregivers that they may experience undesirable effects such as fatigue, convulsion, confusional state, disorientation or hallucination during treatment. Therefore, caution should be recommended when driving a car or operating machinery. If patients experience any of these events, they should avoid potentially hazardous tasks such as driving or operating machinery. This effect may be enhanced by alcohol.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
ACTIMMUNE has not been tested for its carcinogenic potential.
Ames tests using five different tester strains of bacteria with and without metabolic activation revealed no evidence of mutagenic potential. ACTIMMUNE was tested in a micronucleus assay for its ability to induce chromosomal damage in bone marrow cells of mice following two intravenous doses of 20 mg/kg. No evidence of chromosomal damage was noted.
Impairment of Fertility
Female cynomolgus monkeys treated with daily subcutaneous doses of 30 or 150 mcg/kg ACTIMMUNE (approximately 20 and 100 times the human dose) exhibited irregular menstrual cycles or absence of cyclicity during treatment. Similar findings were not observed in animals treated with 3 mcg/kg ACTIMMUNE.
Female mice receiving recombinant murine IFN-interferon gamma (rmuIFN-gamma) at 32 times the maximum recommended clinical dose of ACTIMMUNE for 4 weeks via intramuscular injection exhibited an increased incidence of atretic ovarian follicles.
Male cynomolgus monkeys treated intravenously for 4 weeks with 8 times the maximum recommended clinical dose of ACTIMMUNE exhibited decreased spermatogenesis. Male mice receiving rmuIFN-gamma at 32 times the maximum recommended clinical dose of ACTIMMUNE for 4 weeks via intramuscular injection exhibited decreased spermatogenesis. The impact of this finding on fertility is not known.
Male mice treated subcutaneously with rmuIFN-gamma from shortly after birth through puberty, with 280 times the maximum recommended clinical dose of ACTIMMUNE exhibited profound yet reversible decreases in sperm counts and fertility, and an increase in the number of abnormal sperm.
The clinical significance of these findings observed following treatment of mice with rmuIFN-gamma is uncertain.
Use In Specific Populations
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. ACTIMMUNE should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
ACTIMMUNE has shown an increased incidence of abortions in primates when given from gestation day 20 to 80 in doses approximately 100 times the human dose. A study in pregnant primates treated with subcutaneous doses 2–100 times the human dose failed to demonstrate teratogenic activity for ACTIMMUNE.
Female mice treated subcutaneously with recombinant murine IFN-interferon gamma (rmuIFN-gamma) at 280 times the maximum recommended clinical dose of ACTIMMUNE from shortly after birth through puberty but not during pregnancy had offspring which exhibited decreased body weight during the lactation period. The clinical significance of this finding observed following treatment of mice with rmuIFN-gamma is uncertain. For lower doses, there is no evidence of maternal toxicity, embryotoxicity, fetotoxicity or teratogenicity in preclinical studies.
It is not known whether ACTIMMUNE is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from ACTIMMUNE, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, dependent upon the importance of the drug to the mother.
Females And Males of Reproductive Potential
Based on the information available, it cannot be excluded that the presence of higher levels of interferon gamma may impair male fertility and that in certain cases of female infertility increased levels of interferon gamma may have played a role [see Nonclinical Toxicology].
In younger patients, the long-term effect on fertility is also not known.
The safety and effectiveness of ACTIMMUNE has been established in pediatric patients aged 1 year and older in CGD patients and 1 month and older in SMO patients [see Clinical Studies]. There are no data available for pediatric patients below the age of 1 month.
Clinical studies of ACTIMMUNE did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/12/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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