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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Pegasys, Pegasys ProClick Autoinjector

Generic Name: peginterferon alfa-2a (Pronunciation: peg in ter FEER on AL fa 2 a)

What is peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Pegasys ProClick Autoinjector)?

Peginterferon alfa-2a is made from human proteins that help the body fight viral infections.

Peginterferon alfa-2a is used to treat chronic hepatitis B or C. Peginterferon alfa-2a is often used together with another medication called ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, RibaPak, Ribasphere, RibaTab).

Peginterferon alfa-2a may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Pegasys ProClick Autoinjector)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • confusion, severe depression, thoughts of hurting yourself or others;
  • unusual thoughts or behaviors, feeling anxious or aggressive;
  • sudden weakness, loss of balance or coordination, or problems with speech;
  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
  • numbness, burning, pain, or tingly feeling;
  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;
  • easy bruising or bleeding, feeling very tired;
  • sores in your mouth, nose or eyes;
  • redness, crusting, or drainage in your eyes;
  • worsening of psoriasis;
  • cough, stabbing chest pain, feeling short of breath;
  • severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, fast heart rate;
  • high blood sugar (increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss);
  • low blood sugar (headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, tremors, irritability, trouble concentrating);
  • vision changes, headache or pain behind your eyes; or
  • fever with severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhea.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • vomiting, upset stomach, loss of appetite, mild diarrhea;
  • weight changes, feeling very hot or cold;
  • headache, muscle or joint pain;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • temporary hair loss, mild skin rash; or
  • itching, redness, dryness, or swelling where the medicine was injected.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys, Pegasys ProClick Autoinjector)?

Peginterferon alfa-2a is often used together with another medication called ribavirin. Ribavirin is known to cause birth defects or death in an unborn baby.

If a man fathers a child while using ribavirin, the baby may have birth defects.

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to peginterferon alfa-2a, or if you have autoimmune hepatitis, liver failure, or a hemoglobin blood cell disorder such as sickle-cell anemia or thalassemia, if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your sexual partner is pregnant.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Also tell your doctor if you have ever had a drug or alcohol addiction, or depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts.

Using this medication will not prevent you from passing hepatitis.



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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