This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.
- 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 during treatment and within 6 months after the last dose. Alpha interferons may also cause or make infections, blood flow problems, or autoimmune diseases worse. Some of these may be deadly. If you think your child has any of these health problems, call the doctor right away. Side effects such as high or low blood pressure, a fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, and heart attacks have happened while taking alpha interferons. If your child has very bad signs or if signs of these health problems get worse, talk with the doctor about stopping this drug. Problems are most often fixed after stopping the drug.
- It is used to treat hepatitis B and C infections.
- If your child has been given this drug for some other reason, talk with the doctor about the benefits and risks. Talk with the doctor if you have questions or concerns about giving this drug to your child.
- If your child has an allergy to this drug or any part of this drug.
- If your child is allergic to any drugs like this one or any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell the doctor about the allergy and what signs your child had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
- If your child has ever had any of these health problems: Autoimmune disease or liver problems.
- If your child has any of these health problems: Diabetes or thyroid problems.
- If your child has had a transplant.
If your child is breast-feeding a baby:
- Talk with the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby or plans to breast-feed a baby.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.
Tell the doctor and pharmacist about all of your child’s drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for your child to take this drug with all of his/her drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug your child takes without checking with the doctor.
- Tell all of your child’s health care providers that your child is taking this drug. This includes your child’s doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have your child avoid tasks or actions that call for alertness until you see how this drug affects your child. These are things like riding a bike, playing sports, or using items such as scissors, lawnmowers, electric scooters, toy cars, or motorized vehicles.
- High triglyceride levels have happened with this drug. Tell your child’s doctor if your child has ever had high triglyceride levels.
- Have your child’s blood work checked often. Talk with your child’s doctor.
- Alcohol may interact with this drug. Be sure your child does not drink alcohol.
- Avoid giving your child other drugs and natural products that may slow your child’s actions.
- If your child has high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch his/her blood sugar closely.
- Your child may have more chance of getting infections. Have your child wash hands often. Avoid crowds and people with infections, colds, or flu.
- Your child may bleed more easily. Make sure your child is careful and avoids injury. Be sure your child has a soft toothbrush.
- Take care of your child’s teeth. See a dentist often.
- If your child throws up, have your child rinse the mouth out well.
- This drug may cause eye problems that may lead to loss of eyesight or blindness. Tell your child’s doctor if your child has or has ever had eye problems. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has any changes in eyesight.
- This drug may affect growth in children and teens in some cases. They may need regular growth checks. Talk with the doctor.
- 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. Be sure needles and other things like toothbrushes or razors are not shared. Talk with the doctor.
- Do not switch between this product and other products that have the same drugs in them without checking with the doctor.
- If your child is taking theophylline, talk with the doctor. Your child may need to have his/her blood work checked more closely while taking it with this drug.
- This drug may be used with ribavirin. If your child is also taking ribavirin, talk with the doctor about the risks and side effects that may happen.
If your child is or may be sexually active:
- This drug does not stop the spread of diseases like HIV or hepatitis that are passed through having sex. Be sure your child does not have any kind of sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom. Talk with the doctor.
- Have your child use birth control to prevent pregnancy while taking this drug.
If your child is pregnant:
- Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of your child using this drug while pregnant.
- 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.
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 child’s doctor or get medical help right away if your child has 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, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
- 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 high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Signs of thyroid problems like a change in weight without trying, feeling nervous and excitable, feeling restless, feeling very weak, hair thinning, low mood (depression), neck swelling, not able to focus, not able to handle heat or cold, period (menstrual) changes, shakiness, or sweating.
- Any unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Black, tarry, or bloody stools.
- Throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Feeling very tired or weak.
- Very bad dizziness or passing out.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Very bad headache.
- Very bad belly pain.
- A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
- Memory problems or loss.
- Feeling confused.
- Trouble walking.
- Not able to pass urine or change in how much urine is passed.
- Change in look of teeth or gums.
- Change in eyesight.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly liver problems have happened with this drug. Call your child’s doctor right away if your child has 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 the doctor right away if your child has lung or breathing problems like trouble breathing, shortness of breath, or a cough that is new or worse.
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your child’s doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother your child or do not go away:
- Feeling sleepy.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Change in taste.
- Weight loss.
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Not hungry.
- Irritation where the shot is given.
- Hair loss.
- Not able to sleep.
- 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 child’s doctor. Call your child’s doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to your national health agency.
Give this drug as ordered by your child’s doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- To gain the most benefit, do not miss giving your child doses.
- Keep giving this drug to your child as you have been told by your child’s doctor or other health care provider, even if your child feels well.
- It is given as a shot.
- If you will be giving your child the shot, your child’s doctor or nurse will teach you how to give the shot.
- Follow how to give this drug as you have been told by your child’s doctor or read the package insert.
- Before giving the shot, let it come to room temperature. Do not heat this drug.
- Move the site where you give the shot with each shot.
- Do not give into skin that is irritated, bruised, red, infected, or scarred.
- Do not use if the solution is cloudy, leaking, or has particles.
- Do not use if solution changes color.
- Wash your hands before and after use.
- Throw away needles in a needle/sharp disposal box. Do not reuse needles or other items. 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.
- Have your child drink lots of noncaffeine liquids every day unless told to drink less liquid by your child’s doctor.
- 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.
- Do not share pen or cartridge devices with another person even if the needle has been changed. Sharing these devices may pass infections from one person to another. This includes infections you may not know your child has.
- Give a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your child’s next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your child’s normal time.
- Do not give 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- If you miss giving this drug to your child for a few days in a row, call the doctor before you start giving it again.
- Store in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- After mixing, be sure you know how long the product is good for and how to store it. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- Throw away any part of opened vial not used after use.
- After opening, be sure you know how long the product is good for and how to store it. Ask the doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
- Put back in the refrigerator right after each use.
- Throw away any part not used after 28 days.
- If your child’s symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your child’s doctor.
- Do not share your child’s drug with others and do not give anyone else’s drug to your child.
- Keep a list of all your child’s drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your child’s doctor.
- Talk with your child’s doctor before giving your child 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 child’s doctor, nurse, 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.
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.
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