Interferon is usually given as a shot under the skin.
How It Works
Interferon is a man-made copy of a protein that is produced by the body in response to infection. It helps the immune system fight disease and may slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. It can make cancer cells too weak to protect themselves from the immune system.
Why It Is Used
How Well It Works
The use of interferon may increase the survival rate of some people with melanoma.2
Side effects of treatment with interferon are common and may include:
Rare side effects include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Interferon should be used only under the supervision of a medical oncologist or hematologist. When interferon is used for chronic viral hepatitis, a hepatologist or gastroenterologist is most likely to supervise treatment.
Clinical trials are studying the use of interferon for melanoma that has spread or come back.
Interferon can cause birth defects. Taking this medicine is not recommended if you wish to become pregnant or to father a child while you are taking it. But for young women with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) who are pregnant, there may be less risk in taking this medicine compared to other medicines, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs).
Do not use alcohol or illegal drugs while you are being treated with interferon.
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