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Peginterferon Alfa-2a and Ribavirin (peg in ter FEER on AL fa too aye & rye ba VYE rin)

Adult Medication

Brand Names: Canada

Pegasys RBV

Warning

  • Sometimes drugs are not safe when you take them with certain other drugs. Taking them together can cause bad side effects. This is one of those drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about all the drugs you take.

What is this drug used for?

  • This product is made up of 2 drugs, ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2a. They are used at the same time to treat some patients with hepatitis C infections.

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

  • If you have an allergy to peginterferon alfa-2a, ribavirin, 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 any of these health problems: Autoimmune disease, autoimmune hepatitis, liver disease, some types of anemia, uncontrolled thyroid disease, or very bad mental disease.
  • If you are of childbearing age, but are not using 2 kinds of birth control or if you are planning to get pregnant during your care or within 6 months after care has ended.
  • If you are a man with a sex partner who is pregnant or plans on getting pregnant at any time while you are being treated or within 6 months after your care has ended.
  • If you have used interferon before.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Do not take this drug if you are pregnant.
  • If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take 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?

  • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
  • If you have been treated for hepatitis C infection before with this drug and it did not work, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have cancer, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), talk with your doctor. This drug may raise blood sugar.
  • If you have a drug or drinking problem, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have hepatitis B or HIV disease, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have kidney disease, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have lung disease, talk with your doctor.
  • If you have mental illness, talk with your doctor.
  • Have your blood work checked often. Talk with your doctor.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol may make liver disease worse.
  • Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust while using this drug and for 6 months after stopping this drug.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during care and for 6 months after care ends. Use 2 kinds of birth control that you can trust.

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 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 low mood (depression), thoughts of killing yourself, nervousness, emotional ups and downs, thinking that is not normal, anxiety, or lack of interest in life.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Very bad belly pain.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Not able to eat.
  • Any bruising or bleeding.
  • Dark, tarry-black stool.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Sudden change in eyesight, eye pain, or irritation.
  • For women, if you get pregnant while taking this drug or within 6 months after care ends.
  • For men, if your woman partner gets pregnant while you are being treated or within 6 months after care ends.

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:
  • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating. Mild pain drugs may help.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred eyesight, or a change in thinking clearly. Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert or have clear eyesight until you see how this drug affects you.
  • Anemia.
  • Belly pain.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
  • Hair thinning.
  • Dry mouth. Good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help. See a dentist often.
  • Low mood (depression).
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Change in eyesight.
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.
  • If you are a woman of childbearing age, take a monthly pregnancy test.

Ribavirin:

  • Take this drug with food.

Peginterferon alfa-2b:

  • It is given as a shot into the fatty part of the skin.
  • Your doctor may teach you how to give the shot.
  • Take at bedtime to help with flu-like signs.
  • Wash your hands before and after use.
  • Throw syringe away after use. Do not use more than one time.
  • 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.

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.
  • Do not change the dose or stop this drug. Talk with the doctor.

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

  • Store ribavirin in a refrigerator or at room temperature.
  • Store peginterferon in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Protect from light.
  • Do not shake.
  • 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

2013-07-16

Copyright

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