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.
What Is Peginterferon Alfa-2b?Peginterferon alfa-2b (PegIntron®, Sylatron®) is a prescription medication approved to treat hepatitis C (for PegIntron) or malignant melanoma (for Sylatron). It is given as an injection just under the skin once a week.
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.
(Click What Is Peginterferon Alfa-2b Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
Are There Side Effects?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:
(Click Peginterferon Alfa-2b Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)