A healthcare provider may prescribe peginterferon alfa-2b to treat hepatitis C or malignant melanoma. This medicine comes as an injection that is given subcutaneously every week for up to one year (for hepatitis) or for up to five years (for melanoma). Many people who use this medicine will develop some type of side effect, such as muscle pain, fatigue, or headaches.
When used to treat melanoma, this medication is used after the cancer has been surgically removed. When used to treat hepatitis C, it is usually combined with ribavirin (Rebetol®), an oral medication taken twice a day. It works even better for hepatitis C when combined with both ribavirin and a hepatitis C protease inhibitor (like Incivek™ or Victrelis™), although such a combination is not appropriate for all individuals.
Just like any medicine, peginterferon alfa-2b may cause side effects. Most people using this drug will develop some sort of side effect. In many cases, the reactions are merely bothersome and not usually dangerous. In other cases, the side effects may be so severe or dangerous that the medication must be stopped.
Some of the most common side effects seen with peginterferon alfa-2b include but are not limited to:
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