Interferon alfa-2b - parenteral

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Interferon alfa-2b is used to treat long-term infections of the liver known as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Hepatitis B and C are contagious liver infections. Hepatitis B is caused by a virus from contaminated blood and body fluids while hepatitis C is caused by a virus that is spread through contaminated blood (blood to blood contact).

This medicine is also used to treat certain types of cancer of the blood, bone marrow, lymph glands, and skin. It may be used to treat carcinoid tumour (a tumour of the endocrine system that produces hormones), and a type of cancer called Kaposi sarcoma, which is associated with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome caused by HIV infection).

Interferon alfa-2b is also used to treat anogenital warts (small lumps that develop on the genitals and/or around the anus which are caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus).
How do I use this medicine?
Different preparations of Interferon alfa-2b may be administered in various routes depending on your condition. It may either be injected subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin), intramuscularly (into a muscle), intravenously (into the vein) or intralesional (directly into a skin lesion).

Your doctor will discuss the use of this medicine as different preparations of Interferon alfa-2b may only be used for a specific condition.

Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.

If you or your caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of this medicine, you or your caregiver may do the administration.

Do not use this medicine for any conditions other than what is prescribed by your doctor.

Use Interferon alfa-2b exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more or less than instructed by your doctor.

The dose of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the dosage, schedule and treatment timeframe depending on your condition and response to the medication.

Interferon alfa-2b must be used regularly for it to be effective. Continue using this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop using it unless instructed by the doctor.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Interferon alfa-2b.

If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.

If you are self-administering your dose, inject the missed dose as soon as you remember and return to your normal dosing schedule.

DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.

Inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you forgot to administer your dose.
When should I not use this medicine?
Do not use Interferon alfa-2b if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine or any of its ingredients.

Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • history of severe heart disease e.g. recent heart attack, heart failure
  • fits or seizures
  • compromised brain function
  • severe kidney disease
  • severe liver disease
  • autoimmune disease (a condition wherein your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake) including autoimmune hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
  • thyroid disease that is not well-controlled
  • progressive visceral disease (diseases of the soft internal organs of the body e.g. lungs)
  • current or history of mental illness (particularly in children and adolescents)
as Interferon alfa-2b may not be suitable for you.

Do not use this medicine if you have undergone an organ transplant.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
  • current or history of mental illness (in adults)
  • irregular heartbeat
  • conditions that cause physical and mental weakness e.g. history of lung disease, diabetes
  • blood clotting disorders
  • bone marrow depression (a condition in which the blood cells are low)
  • eye disorder
  • psoriasis (a type of skin disease that allows the skin cells to rapidly build up causing itchy patches of thick, red skin and silvery scales)
  • sarcoidosis (a rare condition that causes small patches of red and swollen tissue, called granulomas, to develop in the organs of the body)
  • have both hepatitis B and C
  • have HIV and hepatitis C infection at the same time
  • substance use disorder (e.g. alcohol, cannabis)
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Interferon alfa-2b. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.

Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child. Children may be more sensitive to the side effects.

Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?

Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
  • Routine tests (e.g. blood count, liver and thyroid function, electrolytes, cholesterol) and eye examination must be done before and regularly while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
  • Regular monitoring of changes in weight and signs of depression may also be needed.
What side effects could I experience?
Interferon alfa-2b may cause tiredness, confusion and may cause you to suddenly fall asleep during your daily activities such as eating and watching television. Do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, headache, muscle or joint pain, fever, loss of appetite, altered taste, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, hair loss, and injection site redness, swelling or itching.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
  • rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes or mouth
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
  • chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, trouble breathing
  • unusual changes in mood or behaviour (being too depressed, agitated, or having compulsive and impulsive behaviour)
  • having thoughts of self-harm
  • visual changes
  • dental and gum problems
This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.

Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.

White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.

Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).

Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I use this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
  • telbivudine (medicine for long-term hepatitis B infection)
  • other medicines for cancer e.g. cytarabine, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, hydroxyurea
  • zidovudine (medicine for HIV infection)
  • theophylline (asthma medicine)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Interferon alfa-2b.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8 °C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.

Any unused portions should be disposed in accordance with local requirements.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on interferon alfa-2b - parenteral and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2024 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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