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Peg-Intron Patient Information including How Should I Take

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using peginterferon alfa-2b (Peg-Intron)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to peginterferon alfa-2b, or if you have:

  • autoimmune hepatitis;
  • liver failure;
  • severe kidney disease;
  • a hemoglobin blood cell disorder such as sickle-cell anemia or thalassemia;
  • if you are pregnant; or
  • if you are a man and your female sexual partner is pregnant.

To make sure you can safely use peginterferon alfa-2b, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • lung disease;
  • kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis);
  • hepatitis B, or liver problems other than hepatitis;
  • a thyroid disorder;
  • uncontrolled diabetes;
  • new or worsening problems with your eyes;
  • cancer;
  • HIV or AIDS;
  • pancreatitis or ulcerative colitis;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, or a history of heart attack, or stroke;
  • dental problems or gum disease;
  • an allergy causing severe reaction;
  • history of organ transplant;
  • anemia (low red blood cells) caused by taking ribavirin (Rebetol);
  • any blood cell disorder causing bleeding episodes, infections, or fever-related illness;
  • an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or psoriasis; or
  • a history of drug or alcohol addiction, depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Peginterferon alfa-2b may be harmful to an unborn baby. Do not use peginterferon alfa-2b without telling your doctor if you are pregnant.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is often used together with another medication called ribavirin (Copegus). Ribavirin is known to cause birth defects or death in an unborn baby. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before taking these two medications together and every month during your treatment.

  • If you are a woman, do not use peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin if you are pregnant.
  • If you are a man, do not use peginterferon alfa-2b and ribavirin if your female sexual partner is pregnant. An unborn baby could also be harmed if a man fathers the child while he is taking ribavirin.
  • Use at least 2 effective forms of birth control while either sexual partner is using peginterferon alfa-2b with ribavirin. Keep using 2 forms of birth control for at least 6 months after treatment ends.
  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using peginterferon alfa-2b together with ribavirin.

It is not known whether peginterferon alfa-2b passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using peginterferon alfa-2b.

Peginterferon alfa-2b can affect growth in children. Talk with your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medication.

How should I use peginterferon alfa-2b (Peg-Intron)?

Peginterferon alfa-2b is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.

Peginterferon alfa-2b is usually given once per week. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

If you are being treated with combination therapy, you will also take ribavirin (Rebetol) capsules or liquid by mouth every day. Ribavirin should be taken with food.

Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. You may also need regular eye exams. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.

Store peginterferon alfa-2b in the refrigerator, protected from light. Do not allow the medicine to freeze. Mixed medicine may be stored in the refrigerator but you must use it within 24 hours after mixing.

The PegIntron Redipen and single-use vials are for one use only. Do not reuse a vial or injection pen.

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