interferon alfa-2b (cont.)
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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)?
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to interferons, or if you have autoimmune hepatitis, or severe liver problems from causes other than hepatitis B or C.
You should not use the combination of interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin if you have:
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use interferon alfa-2b:
This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby, or may cause a miscarriage. Do not use interferon alfa-2b if you are pregnant, especially if you also take ribavirin (Rebetol). The combination of interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin can cause birth defects. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant during treatment. Use 2 forms of effective birth control while you are using this drug combination and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends.
If a man fathers a child while using interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin, the baby may have birth defects. Use a condom to prevent pregnancy during your treatment. Continue using condoms for at least 6 months after you stop using this drug combination..
It is not known whether interferon alfa-2b passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
The powder form of interferon alfa-2b contains albumin, but the solution (liquid) form does not. Albumin comes from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
How should I use interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)?
Interferon alfa-2b is given as an injection into a muscle, under the skin, or directly into a genital wart. The medicine may also be given through a needle placed into a vein.
Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Use each disposable needle only one time. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
Do not shake the medication vial (bottle). Vigorous shaking can ruin the medicine. Do not draw your dose into a syringe or IV bag until you are ready to give yourself an injection.
Interferon alfa-2b powder medicine must be mixed with a liquid (diluent) before using it. If you are using the injections at home, be sure you understand how to properly mix and store the medication. Do not use the mixture if it is not clear or light yellow, or if it has any particles in it. Throw it away and mix another dose.
The single-dose vial of interferon alfa-2b is for one use only. Throw the vial away after measuring your dose, even if there is still some medicine in it. Do not save it for later use.
Not all brands, forms, and strengths of interferon alfa-2b are used to treat the same medical conditions. Always check your refills to make sure you have received the correct brand and type of medicine prescribed by your doctor. Ask the pharmacist if you have any questions about the medicine you receive at the pharmacy.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Store interferon alfa-2b in the refrigerator and do not allow it to freeze. After mixing the powder medicine with a diluent, you may store the mixture in the refrigerator but you must use it within 24 hours.
To reduce or prevent certain side effects, your doctor may recommend you take acetaminophen (Tylenol) at the time of your interferon alfa-2b injection. Follow your doctor's instructions about the correct dose.
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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