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ROFERON-A
INTERFERON ALFA(CON) - INJECTION

Important Note

The following information is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. It should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare professional before using this drug.

INTERFERON ALFA(CON) - INJECTION

(in-ter-FEER-on AL-fuh)

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Alferon N, Infergen, Intron A, Roferon-A

WARNING: This medication can cause or worsen some serious medical conditions including psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression), immune system problems (autoimmune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis), circulation problems (e.g., cardiovascular disease/blood clots), or infections (bone marrow suppression). If your medical history includes these conditions, inform your doctor promptly. Also, tell your doctor immediately if any serious symptoms or side effects occur (see Side Effects section). These conditions occur infrequently, but some can be fatal.

Uses

This medication is used in the treatment of leukemia, certain types of cancer and viral infections.

How To Use

This medication is given by injection. Do not shake the medication container. Be sure to understand and follow the dosing schedule to receive maximum benefit from this medication. Different conditions require different dosing schedules. Drink plenty of fluids while using this medication. This medication may come with a Patient Information Leaflet. Read it carefully. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist any questions that you may have about this medicine. Properly store and discard used needles and syringes.

Side Effects

This medication may cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle/joint aches, diarrhea or stomach pain. These symptoms may subside as your body adjusts to the medication. Acetaminophen may help relieve the fever and headache. If these effects persist or worsen, inform your doctor promptly. Unlikely but report promptly: drowsiness, dizziness, sleep disturbances, one-sided weakness (arm/leg), vision changes, poor coordination, irregular heartbeat, intolerance to heat or cold. Very unlikely but report promptly: black stools, persistent sore throat, chest tightness, unusual bleeding/bruising, tingling hands or feet, yellowing of the eyes or skin, dark urine, seizures, change in amount of urine, unusual increase in thirst, severe stomach/abdominal pain. If you notice any of the following unlikely but serious side effects, stop your treatment with interferon and consult your doctor immediately: unusual or severe mental/mood changes (e.g., suicidal thoughts or severe depression), bloody diarrhea. In the unlikely event you have an allergic reaction to this drug, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include: rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions

This medication is not recommended for use if you have the following medical conditions: other severe liver conditions (e.g., autoimmune hepatitis, decompensated liver disease), immune system suppression for organ transplants. Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression), low blood counts (e.g., red cells, white cells, or platelets), heart problems, thyroid problems, lung diseases (e.g., COPD, asthma, pneumonia), intestinal disease (e.g., colitis), pancreatitis, immune system diseases (e.g., lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), eye problems, diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, brain tumors, seizures, any allergies. Use caution when engaging in activities requiring alertness. Limit alcohol intake. This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy due to the potential for fetal harm and the risk of serious side effects for the pregnant woman. Consult your doctor for more details. Contraceptive (birth control) measures are recommended for use in men and women while taking this medication. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Drug Interactions

Tell your doctor of all over-the-counter and prescription medications you may use including: zidovudine, barbiturates (e.g., phenobarbital), theophylline, vidarabine, other drugs which depress the immune system (e.g., anti-cancer type). Tell your doctor if you take any drugs that make you drowsy such as: sedatives, sleep medication, psychiatric drugs, drugs for anxiety (e.g., diazepam), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., phenytoin), narcotic pain relievers (e.g., codeine), certain antihistamines. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.

Overdose

If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Symptoms of overdose may include chills, fever, muscle pain, and loss of appetite.

Notes

This medication is usually administered initially in the hospital where your condition can be monitored closely. Laboratory tests (e.g., blood counts) will be done periodically to monitor your progress.

Missed Dose

It is important to receive each dose at the scheduled time. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor who will help establish a new dosing schedule. Do not "double-up" the dose to catch up.

Storage

Store this medication as directed, usually in the refrigerator. Properly discard of any unused medication after the expiration date.

Medical Alert

Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For enrollment information call MedicAlert at 1-800-854-1166 (USA), or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).