peginterferon alfa-2a - injection, Pegasys (cont.)
USES: Peginterferon alfa-2a is used alone or in combination with ribavirin to treat chronic hepatitis C, a viral infection of the liver. It may also be used in combination with ribavirin and a protease inhibitor to treat chronic hepatitis C. Peginterferon alfa-2a is also used to treat chronic hepatitis B infection.This medication reduces the amount of hepatitis C virus in the body and helps the body's immune system fight the infection. It is not known if peginterferon can cure hepatitis C virus infections (permanently eliminate the virus from your body). It is also not known if this drug can prevent you from passing the virus to others. Practice "safe sex" (including the use of latex condoms) to lower the risk of passing the virus to others.
HOW TO USE: Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start using peginterferon alfa-2a and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.Inject this medication under the skin (subcutaneously) on your stomach or thigh, once weekly or as directed by your doctor. Do not inject near the belly button or at the waistline. Use a different place each time you give yourself an injection. Do not shake this medication. Doing so may decrease the effectiveness of this medication. The dose should be given at about the same time on the same day each week. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.Drink plenty of fluids while you are taking this medication unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Additional administration guidelines may be available in the Medication Guide.If you are giving this medication to yourself at home, learn all preparation and usage instructions from your health care professional. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard medical supplies safely.
SIDE EFFECTS: Flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, joint pain, nausea, stomach pain, cough) may occur. If instructed to do so, you may take pain/fever-reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) to help with these symptoms. Dry mouth, loss of appetite, weight loss, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, dry skin, or redness/swelling at the injection site may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Tooth and gum problems may sometimes occur during treatment. Having a dry mouth can worsen this side effect. Prevent dry mouth by drinking plenty of water or using a saliva substitute. Brush your teeth well at least twice a day and have regular dental exams. If you experience vomiting during treatment, rinse your mouth afterwards to lessen the chance of tooth and gum problems.Temporary hair loss may occur. Normal hair growth should return after treatment has ended.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: persistent sore throat or fever, easy or unusual bleeding/bruising, unusually severe fatigue, unusually slow/fast/pounding heartbeat, severe stomach pain with nausea/vomiting, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds, yellowing eyes or skin, dark urine, increased thirst/urination, bloody diarrhea, numbness/tingling of arms/legs.Get medical help right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest pain, vision changes (such as blurred vision, partial loss of vision), seizures, one-sided weakness.This drug may cause you to develop serious mental/mood changes that may get worse during treatment or after your last dose. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as confusion, depression, suicidal thoughts, unusual irritability, or aggressive behavior. If this occurs, psychiatric therapy and monitoring is recommended during and after treatment with this medication.A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but get medical help right away if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction may include: 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.
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.
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