Intron A

1 What is Intron A?

Brand: Intron A

Generic: Interferon Alfa-2b

Intron A is a substance made from human proteins. Interferons are signaling proteins released by cells when attacked by bacteria, viruses and tumor to warn neighboring cells to increase their defenses. Interferons also stimulate the immune system of the body to destroy invading pathogens.

Interferon Alfa-2b is made from human interferons using DNA recombinant technology.

Doctors prescribe Interferon Alfa-2b to treat the following:

Doctors may also use Interferon Alfa-2b as off-label treatment for the following conditions:

Interferon Alfa-2b is an injectable medication and requires prescription

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Integrilin, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

Interferon Alfa-2b is not suitable for use in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (abnormal immune reaction to normal cells in the liver) and with severe liver disease.

Interferon Alfa-2b with Ribavirin (used in treating hepatitis B and C) is highly contraindicated in pregnant women.

Do not take Interferon Alfa-2b if you are pregnant.

Male patients using Interferon Alfa-2b must take precaution not to make their partners pregnant. Female patients must use effective birth control while taking Interferon Alfa-2b and for at least 6 months after treatment.

Interferon Alfa-2b is known to cause serious side effects, like

  • life-threatening infections,
  • problems in the immune system,
  • mood and behavior disorders,
  • stroke.

Call your doctor

While using Interferon Alfa-2b, call your doctor if you experienced changes

  • in mood or behavior,
  • chest pain,
  • trouble breathing,
  • sudden numbness or weakness
  • have an infection (fever and chills, cough with mucus and burning sensation while urinating).

Tell your doctor if you have experienced allergies to Interferon Alfa-2b.

Interferon Alfa-2b has other important contraindications. Interferon Alfa-2b is not for you if you have severe diseases in

  • the heart,
  • kidneys,
  • liver,
  • thyroid
  • the immune system.

Interferon Alfa-2b is not suitable for patients with disorders of the blood (like thalassemia and sickle cell anemia) and with allergies to Ribavirin.

3 Proper Usage

To use Integrilin properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

The doctor will determine your dose of Interferon Alfa-2b based on your condition. Interferon Alfa-2b is given by injecting it under the skin (subcutaneous), in the muscle (intramuscular) or infusing it into the vein (intravenous route). For condylomata acuminate, Interferon Alfa-2b is injected directly into the genital wart.

Interferon Alfa-2b is available in a powder for injection with its own packaged diluent. If you administer the medication on your own, make sure to follow instructions carefully. Once the powder has been mixed, it must be used within 24 hours. The solution in a single-dose vial of Interferon Alfa-2b is clear and colorless to light yellow, while the multidose vial is clear and colorless.

In some cases, the doctor may give you acetaminophen before injection of Interferon Alfa-2b to reduce chances of side effects.

Interferon Alfa-2b is usually given by a health professional. If you want to administer it on your own, the doctor will teach you how to do it properly. Inject the solution soon after preparation. If you experience undesirable effects after taking Interferon Alfa-2b, call the doctor right away.

Use the syringe and needles only once. Make sure to dispose of used syringes, needles and tubings properly. You can put them inside a large bleach bottle and put the cap on to seal the contents.

You need to visit the clinic frequently when taking Interferon Alfa-2b to check for early signs of side effects and monitor effectiveness of treatment.

If you missed a dose, take it as soon as you remember, and then return to the original schedule.

Do not take more Interferon Alfa-2b to make up for the missed dose. If several days has passed missing a dose, call the doctor immediately.

If you injected too much Interferon Alfa-2b or overdosed, call the doctor or local poison control hotlines right away.

Store Interferon Alfa-2b in the refrigerator, but not in the freezer.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Integrilin, there are some precautions you must take.

Keep the medication away from children and pets.

If you prepare the Interferon Alfa-2b yourself, be sure you know how to do it correctly. Only use the included diluent in dissolving the powder. If the medication is indicated as ‘single-use’, you must discard the vial after withdrawing the medication, even if there is still some liquid left. Inspect the vial before use. Discard the vial if the liquid is turbid, cloudy, or has changed in color. Do not shake the vial to dissolve the medicine. Never shake the vial to dissolve the powder with the liquid.

Interferon Alfa-2b is known to reduce the numbers of white blood cells in the bloodstream, making you at risk for infection. Interferon Alfa-2b is also known to reduce platelets that make you prone to bleeding. Avoid situations or activities that increase tendencies of bleeding and infection.

Note that Interferon Alfa-2b will not reduce or treat the contagiousness of your condition. You still need to stick to precautions to avoid passing the disease to others.

You must avoid alcohol when taking Interferon Alfa-2b to reduce the risk of liver damage.

Note that Interferon Alfa-2b may cause drowsiness or changes in reaction times. You must avoid doing activities like driving or operating heavy machinery after injecting Interferon Alfa-2b.

Note that Interferon Alfa-2b may interact with drugs including

  • Abacavir,
  • Lamivudine,
  • Zimovudine,
  • Tramadol,
  • Acetaminophen,
  • Aplenzin,
  • Leflunomide,
  • Bexarotene,
  • Teriflunomide,
  • Clozapine,
  • Deferiprone,
  • Iohexol,
  • Zidovudine,
  • Tofacitinib.

Note that this is an incomplete list, so tell all the medications you take before taking Interferon Alfa-2b.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Integrilin.

Call the doctor immediately if you experience the following while on Interferon Alfa-2b treatment:

  • Changes in vision
  • Nosebleeds, bleeding gums and appearance of bruises
  • Having personality or cognition changes, like experiencing depression, low mood, irritability, confusion, thoughts of self-harm or suicide or falling back to drug addiction
  • Having symptoms of heart attack – intense pressure or pain in the chest, radiating pain in the jaws and/or shoulders, nausea, and sweating
  • Having symptoms of stroke – sudden onset of a severe headache, slurring of speech, sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body, and problems with balance
  • Symptoms of autoimmune disorder – changes in the skin, pain or swelling of the joints, coldness and paling of the skin on fingers or toes
  • Having symptoms of infection – fever, chills, body aches, cough or nasal congestion with yellow, pink or green mucus, and burning sensation while urinating
  • Symptoms of liver damage – yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice), loss of appetite, stomach pain or swelling, drowsiness, dark color of urine and passing out clay-colored stools
  • Symptoms of problems in the pancreas – severe stomach pain and vomiting
  • Symptoms of problems with the thyroid – skin changes, feeling either too hot or too cold, unintentional loss of body weight or inability to lose weight
  • Symptoms of increased blood sugar levels – increased urination or thirst, fruity odor of breath, tiredness, drowsiness and unintentional weight loss

Here are symptoms common in patients using Interferon Alfa-2b. These side effects are not harmful, but you can call your doctor for help if they become too bothersome:

  • Having flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling, itching or redness at the injection site
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