Interferon hepatitis cPatient Education Information for: Pegylated-Interferon injections

What is interferon?

  • It is a weekly injection that is used in combination with other medication to treat patients with multiple genotypes of hepatitis C.

How does interferon work to fight the hepatitis C virus?

  • This drug increases your body’s immune system to help fight the hepatitis C virus.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE taking interferon?

  • If you have a history of depression or other psychiatric condition, as interferon may worsen this.
  • If you are taking clozapine, dipyrone, methadone, or theophylline because they may interact with interferon.
  • **Tell your doctor about all of the drugs you are taking including prescription, over-the-counter medications, natural products, and vitamins to make sure it is safe to take with interferon.
  • **Tell your about all your health problems including a history a liver problems, severe kidney problems, if you are on dialysis, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed, or if you have other major health problems.

How is this drug best taken?

  • It is given as a shot in the fatty part of the skin. Rotate the site for each injection.
  • The shot is given once weekly.
  • Wash hands before and after use.
  • Allow the shot to come to room temperature before injection.
  • Do not shake or use if solution is cloudy or has floating particles.

What are the possible side effects of taking this drug?

  • The most common side effects include flu-like symptoms, not able to sleep, upset stomach, diarrhea, hair loss, feeling tired, muscle pain, dizziness, and irritation on skin at the injection site.
  • Other more severe side effects that rarely occur include a very bad skin reaction, lung problems, liver problems, bowel problems, pancreas problems, depression or thoughts of killing yourself, signs of infections, signs of high blood sugar, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, memory problems.
  • These are not all the possible side effects of this drug. If you have further questions about side effects or you experience any of these side effects, call your doctor.

How should I store interferon?

  • Store at in a refrigerator. Do not freeze.
  • Throw away unopened drug if left out at room temperature for more than 24 hours.
  • Protect from light.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as your remember
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose on your normal schedule.
  • Do not take extra doses or 2 doses at the same time.

All of the above information was adapted from the Genentech package insert for pegylated-interferon.