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Interferon Alfa-2b (in ter FEER on AL fa too bee)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: U.S.

Intron A; Intron-A

Brand Names: Canada

Intron A

Warning

  • Alpha interferons may cause or make diseases of the mind worse. Taking one’s own life, ideas of killing yourself or murder, low mood (depression), forceful actions, hallucinations, psychoses, and relapse of drug addiction have happened with use. Alpha interferons may make infections worse, cause blood flow problems or some autoimmune diseases. If you think you have any of these health problems, call your doctor right away. Side effects such as low blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, and heart attacks have happened while taking alpha interferons. If you have very bad signs or if signs of these health problems get worse, talk with your doctor about stopping this drug. Problems are most often fixed after you stop the drug.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to treat cancer.
  • It is used to treat genital warts.
  • It is used to treat perianal warts.
  • It is used to treat hepatitis B and C infections.
  • It is used to treat skin wounds in patients with AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

  • If you have an allergy to interferon alfa-2b or any other part of this drug.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have ever had any of these health problems: Autoimmune disease or liver disease.
  • If you have had a transplant.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how this drug affects you.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
  • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
  • Avoid alcohol or other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Take good care of your teeth. See a dentist often.
  • If you throw up, rinse your mouth out well.
  • This drug may cause eye problems that may lead to loss of eyesight or blindness. Tell your doctor if you have eye problems or have had them in the past. Have eye exams as you were told by your doctor. Talk with your doctor.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this drug with care. You could have more side effects.
  • This drug may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

Powder:

  • This drug is made from human plasma (part of the blood) and may have viruses that may cause disease. This drug is screened, tested, and treated to lower the chance that it carries an infection. Talk with the doctor.

Hepatitis infection:

  • It is not known if this drug will prevent liver failure or other liver problems like cancer. Talk with the doctor.
  • This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through blood or having sex. Do not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Do not share needles or other things like toothbrushes or razors. Talk with your doctor.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
  • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
  • Signs of a pancreas problem (pancreatitis) like very bad stomach pain, very bad back pain, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Signs of bleeding like throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; vaginal bleeding that is not normal; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; or any bleeding that is very bad or that you cannot stop.
  • Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • Change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or blurred eyesight.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Very bad headache.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Not able to focus.
  • Memory problems or loss.
  • Change in thinking clearly and with logic.
  • Trouble walking.
  • Change in balance.
  • Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
  • Not able to handle heat or cold.
  • A change in weight without trying.
  • Anxiety.
  • Change in look of teeth or gums.
  • Change in eyesight, eye pain, or very bad eye irritation.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly lung problems have happened with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.
  • A very bad skin reaction (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) may happen. It can cause very bad health problems that may not go away, and sometimes death. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Headache.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Irritation where the shot is given.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Loose stools (diarrhea).
  • Not hungry.
  • Hair loss.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Change in taste.
  • Weight loss.
  • Belly pain.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating. Mild pain drugs may help.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read and follow the dosing on the label closely.

All products:

  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Use as you have been told, even if you feel well.
  • It is given as a shot.
  • Your doctor may teach you how to give the shot.
  • Follow how to use carefully.
  • Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
  • Do not use if solution changes color.
  • Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. When the box is full, follow all local rules for getting rid of it. Talk with a doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.

Powder:

  • This drug must be mixed with sterile water before using. The sterile water that comes with this drug is meant for one use only. Throw away any part of the sterile water that is not used after one use.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Follow how to store the shot closely. Talk with the doctor.
  • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Last Reviewed Date

2014-08-29

Copyright

Copyright © 2014 Clinical Drug Information, LLC and Lexi-Comp, Inc.