Neulasta

1 What is Neulasta?

Brand: Neulasta

Generic: Pegfilgrastim

Neulasta injection is a prescription drug used in treating a condition called neutropenia, or low-level white blood cells. Neutropenia is a side effect brought by using certain anticancer drugs.

Neulasta is a synthetic form of a naturally-occurring substance called colony stimulating factor. This drug promotes the production of new white blood cells, which are usually affected when taking cancer medicines that kill cancer cells. This drug also helps minimize the risk of infection during cancer treatment.

2 What to Know Before Using

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

Before using this drug, you and your doctor must consider the following:

  • Allergies: If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Pediatric: Because there are no adequate studies done in pediatric patients, safety and efficacy of use in children are not yet established.
  • Geriatric: Studies show that using this drug in the elderly does not limit its usefulness.
  • Pregnancy: Animal studies show that using this drug during pregnancy can be harmful to the fetus. Nevertheless, no adequate studies are done in pregnant women to prove the same in humans.
  • Breastfeeding: Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.
  • Drug Interactions: Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary. Before using pegfilgrastim, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications.It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness. Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, as well as vitamin and herbal supplement.
  • Other Medical Problems: Your doctor may not allow you to use this drug or may take extra cautionary actions if you have certain medical conditions.Inform your doctor if you have any health issues before using this drug. Use this drug with caution if you have bone marrow cancer, bone marrow disease, kidney disease, leukocytosis, lung disease, sepsis, or sickle cell disease.

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Neulasta requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders.

Missed Dose:

Take the missed dose as soon as possible. In case it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and follow your regular dosing schedule. Never take double doses.

Storage:

Store medicine in the refrigerator. For single-use syringe, do not open until ready to use. Do not freeze. In the case of accidental freezing, thaw out first in the refrigerator before using.

Do not use if you accidentally freeze it again. This drug may be stored outside the refrigerator for 48 hours. Discard if left outside the fridge for 48 hours and longer.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Neulasta, there are some precautions you must take. Regular visits to the doctor are important during medication to check patient’s progress and to see if the drug is working properly. Unwanted side effects may be detected through regular blood tests.

Call your doctor immediately if you feel pain in the shoulder tip or upper stomach for these could be signs of a serious reaction of the spleen. If any sign of infection is present, such as fever, chills, sore throat, or swelling around a cut, consult your doctor.

Using this drug may cause anaphylaxis or other serious allergic reactions. If there are any symptoms of an allergic reaction like itching, rash, or swelling of various parts of the face, seek immediate medical help. Do not use pegfilgrastim 14 days before and 24 hours after receiving cancer medications.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Neulasta. Not all the side effects listed below may not need medical attention.

If any of these occur, consult your doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Bluish skin or lips
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Pain in the shoulder tip or left upper abdomen
  • Troubled breathing

Apart from the side effects listed above, there are side effects that usually take place but do not require medical attention. Most of the time, these side effects diminish as the body gets used to the drug.

If any of these side effects become bothersome, consult your doctor:

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