Pegintron

Generic Name: Peginterferon alfa-2b

  • What is Pegintron?

    Pegintron is an antiviral medicine used in combination with Rebetol (ribavirin) to treat chronic (long-term) hepatitis C infection. It is also used alone to treat chronic hepatitis C infection in adults with certain types of liver disease. It works by lowering the amount of virus in the body and helps the body's immune system fight the virus. Pegintron is administered subcutaneously (just below the skin).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Pegintron?

    Pegintron can cause mood or behavioral problems, such as irritability (getting upset easily), depression, aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.

    Pegintron can cause heart problems, such as low blood pressure, fast heart rate or abnormal heartbeat, trouble breathing, chest pain, or heart attack.

    Pegintron can cause stroke or symptoms of a stroke, such as weakness, loss of coordination, and numbness.

    Pegintron can cause new or worsen autoimmune problems (such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or psoriasis).

    Pegintron can cause infections. Tell your doctor if you experience fever, chills, bloody diarrhea, burning or pain with urination, frequent urination, or coughing up mucus (phlegm) that is yellow or pink.

    Pegintron can also cause other serious side effects, such as eye problems; pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); colitis (inflammation of the lower bowel); growth problems in children; worsen or cause liver, thyroid, lung, blood, nerve, or blood sugar problems; or allergic and skin reactions.

    Pegintron can affect your bone marrow and cause low white blood cell and platelet counts (type of blood cells that form clots to help stop bleeding), that can predispose you to infections and problems with bleeding and bruising.

  • Who should not take Pegintron?

    Do not use Pegintron if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients. Also, do not use Pegintron if you have certain types of hepatitis (such as autoimmune hepatitis) or other liver problems.

    Do not use Pegintron with Rebetol if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are a man whose partner is pregnant, if you have certain blood disorders (such as thalassemia major or sickle-cell anemia), or have severe kidney disease.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Pegintron?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Pegintron. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have or ever had heart, lung, bleeding, or vision problems; low blood cell counts; certain blood disorders (such as anemia); addiction to drugs or alcohol; any immune problem; liver, kidney, or thyroid problems; colitis; hepatitis B infection; HIV (AIDS) infection; high blood triglyceride levels; mental health problems (such as depression or thoughts of suicide); an organ transplant; or diabetes.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults and children: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for you based on your body weight.

    If you have kidney impairment, depression, or abnormal tests, your doctor will adjust your dose appropriately.

  • How should I take Pegintron?

    Inject Pegintron exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not inject extra doses or use more often without asking your doctor.

    Please review the instructions that came with your prescription on how to properly prepare and inject Pegintron.

    Inject Pegintron every week, on the same day of each week, and at the same time.

  • What should I avoid while taking Pegintron?

    Do not become pregnant or breastfeed while you are using Pegintron with Rebetol.

    Do not inject more than 1 dose of Pegintron in 1 week without talking to your doctor.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Pegintron?

    If Pegintron is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Pegintron with the following: didanosine, flecainide, HIV medications known as nucleoside analogues (such as lamivudine, stavudine, or zidovudine), methadone, phenytoin, or warfarin.

  • What are the possible side effects of Pegintron?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: allergic reactions, anxiety, blood disorders, fever, headache, injection-site reactions (such as redness, itchiness, or swelling), loss of appetite, muscle pain, nausea, pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas), thyroid problems, tiredness, vision loss, vomiting, weight loss

  • Can I receive Pegintron if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The effects of Pegintron during pregnancy and breastfeeding are unknown. When Pegintron is used with Rebetol, Rebetol may cause harm to your unborn baby if you use it during pregnancy. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Pegintron?

    If you miss a dose of Pegintron, inject the missed dose as soon as possible during the same day or the next day, and return to your regular dosing schedule. If several days go by after you miss a dose, contact your doctor for advice.

  • How should I store Pegintron?

    Before mixing, store at room temperature. After mixing, store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Do not freeze.