November 29, 2015


Actimmune Side Effects Center

Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Last reviewed on RxList 10/6/2015

Actimmune (interferon gamma 1 b) is a specific interferon made from human proteins used to prevent infections in people with a condition called Chronic Granulomatous Disease. Actimmune is also used to treat a congenital bone disorder called osteopetrosis. Common side effects of Actimmune include injection site reactions (pain/swelling/redness), diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, problems with memory or concentration, weakness, tired feeling, lack of coordination, muscle or joint pain, or headache. Flu-like symptoms such as headache, tiredness, fever, chills, and muscle aches may occur, especially when you first start this medication. These symptoms usually last about 1 day after the injection and improve or go away after a few months of continued use.

The recommended dosage of Actimmune for the treatment of patients with Chronic Granulomatous Disease and severe, malignant osteopetrosis is 50 mcg/m2 (1 million IU/m2) for patients whose body surface area is greater than 0.5 m2 and 1.5 mcg/kg/dose for patients whose body surface area is equal to or less than 0.5 m2. Other drugs may affect Actimmune. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Actimmune is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Our Actimmune (interferon gamma 1 b) Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is Patient Information in Detail?

Easy-to-read and understand detailed drug information and pill images for the patient or caregiver from Cerner Multum.

Actimmune in Detail - Patient Information: Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using interferon gamma-1b and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • fast or uneven heart rate; or
  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • problems with memory or concentration;
  • weakness, tired feeling, lack of coordination;
  • pain or redness where the injection was given;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
  • muscle or joint pain; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Actimmune (Interferon Gamma 1 b)

What is Patient Information Overview?

A concise overview of the drug for the patient or caregiver from First DataBank.

Actimmune Overview - Patient Information: Side Effects

SIDE EFFECTS: Injection site reactions (pain/swelling/redness), diarrhea, upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Flu-like symptoms such as headache, tiredness, fever, chills, and muscle aches may occur, especially when you first start this medication. These symptoms usually last about 1 day after the injection and improve or go away after a few months of continued use. You can reduce these side effects by injecting this medicine at bedtime and using a fever reducer/pain reliever such as acetaminophen before or after each dose. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: lightheadedness, fainting, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, depression), shaking (tremors), trouble walking, slow/fast/irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles/feet, increasing tiredness, joint pain, butterfly-shaped rash on the face, easy bleeding/bruising, persistent nausea/vomiting, seizures, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, dark urine, change in the amount of urine, yellowing eyes/skin.

Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest/jaw/left arm pain, weakness on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, pain/redness/swelling of the arms/legs, calf pain/swelling that is warm to the touch, coughing up blood.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US -

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Read the entire patient information overview for Actimmune (Interferon Gamma 1 b)

What is Prescribing information?

The FDA package insert formatted in easy-to-find categories for health professionals and clinicians.

Actimmune FDA Prescribing Information: Side Effects
(Adverse Reactions)


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 entire FDA prescribing information for Actimmune (Interferon Gamma 1 b)

Actimmune - User Reviews

Actimmune User Reviews

Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.

Here is a collection of user reviews for the medication Actimmune sorted by most helpful. Patient Discussions FAQs

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

Related Drugs
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations