Generic Name: interferon alfacon-1 (IN ter FEER on AL fa kon 1)Brand Names: Infergen
What is Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?
Interferon alfacon-1 is made from human proteins. Interferons help the body fight viral infections.
Interferon alfacon-1 is used to treat chronic hepatitis C.
Interferon alfacon-1 may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?You should not use this medication if you are allergic to interferons, or if you have autoimmune hepatitis, severe liver problems from causes other than hepatitis C, severe kidney disease, or a hemoglobin blood cell disorder such as sickle cell anemia or thalasssemia. Interferon alfacon-1 is sometimes used together with another drug called ribavirin. Ribavirin can cause birth defects or death in an unborn baby. If you are a woman, do not take ribavirin if you are pregnant. If you are a man, do not take ribavirin if your female sexual partner is pregnant. An unborn baby could also be harmed if a man fathers the child while he is taking ribavirin.
Before using interferon alfacon-1, tell your doctor if you have other liver problems (including hepatitis B), kidney disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, cancer, bone marrow suppression, HIV or AIDS, a bleeding or blood clotting disorder, numbness or circulation problems, a thyroid disorder, problems with your eyes, a breathing disorder, an intestinal disorder, high triglycerides, heart problems, high blood pressure, an autoimmune disorder, a history of organ transplant, a history of heart attack or stroke, or a history of depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or drug or alcohol addiction.
Tell your doctor if you use any medications that weaken your immune system, such as cancer medicine, steroids, medicines to treat autoimmune disorders, or medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.Interferon alfacon-1 can cause serious side effects, some of which may be life-threatening. However, the benefits of treating your condition may outweigh any risks posed by using interferon alfacon-1. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?Interferon alfacon-1 can cause serious side effects, some of which may be life-threatening. However, the benefits of treating your condition may outweigh any risks posed by using interferon alfacon-1. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication. Interferon alfacon-1 is sometimes used together with another drug called ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere). Ribavirin can cause birth defects or death in an unborn baby.
If you are a woman, do not take ribavirin if you are pregnant. You will need frequent pregnancy tests to make sure you are not pregnant while taking ribavirin.
If you are a man, do not take ribavirin if your female sexual partner is pregnant. An unborn baby could also be harmed if a man fathers the child while he is taking ribavirin. Your sexual partner will need frequent pregnancy tests to make sure she is not pregnant while you are taking ribavirin.
Use at least two effective forms of birth control while either sexual partner is taking ribavirin, and for at least 6 months after treatment ends.
Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is taking ribavirin.
severe liver problems from causes other than hepatitis C-
severe kidney disease- or
a hemoglobin blood cell disorder such as sickle cell anemia or thalasssemia.
To make sure you can safely use interferon alfacon-1, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
hepatitis B or liver problems other than hepatitis C-
bone marrow suppression-
HIV or AIDS-
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder-
numbness or circulation problems-
a thyroid disorder-
problems with your eyes-
a breathing disorder-
a history of depression, mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or drug or alcohol addiction-
heart disease, high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder, or history of a heart attack or stroke-
high triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood)-
an autoimmune disorder such as psoriasis, arthritis, or lupus-
colitis or other intestinal disorder-
if you have had an organ transplant- or
if you use any medications that weaken your immune system.
How should I use Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?
Interferon alfacon-1 is injected under the skin. You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
This medication comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Interferon alfacon-1 injections are usually given 3 times each week. Give the injection at the same time of day each time you use interferon alfacon-1.
Use a different place on your upper arms, stomach, or thighs each time you give yourself an injection. Your care provider will show you the places on your body where you can safely inject the medication. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.Do not shake the medication bottle or you may ruin the medicine. Prepare your dose in a syringe only when you are ready to give yourself an injection. Do not use the medication if it has changed colors, looks cloudy, or has particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.
Each single use vial (bottle) of this medicine is for one use only. Throw away after one use, even if there is still some medicine left in it after injecting your dose.
Use a disposable needle only once. Throw away used needles in a puncture-proof container (ask your pharmacist where you can get one and how to dispose of it). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested often. Visit your doctor regularly.Store interferon alfacon-1in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Protect from light. Do not use the medication if it has become frozen or if it is past the expiration date on the medicine label.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, and then call your doctor to ask when you should use your next dose. Do not go back to your regular dosing schedule without talking to your doctor. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
Infergen (interferon alfacon-1) side effectsGet emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives- difficulty breathing- swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using interferon alfacon-1 and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:
severe depression, aggressive behavior, or thoughts of hurting yourself-
fever, chills, sore throat, body aches, flu symptoms-
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum)-
feeling like you might pass out-
fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats-
increased urination, pain or burning when you urinate-
cough with yellow or green mucus, feeling short of breath-
chest pain, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling-
sudden numbness or weakness, headache, confusion, or problems with vision, speech, or balance-
worsening liver symptoms such as severe stomach pain, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)-
pancreatitis (severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea and vomiting, fast heart rate)-
thyroid problems (trouble concentrating, feeling too hot or cold, weight changes)- or
high blood sugar (increased thirst, fruity breath odor, increased urination, drowsiness, dry skin, nausea, and vomiting).
Less serious side effects may include:
mood changes, feeling irritable, nervous, or anxious-
mild headache, tired feeling-
numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands or feet-
joint or muscle pain, back pain-
mild stomach pain or nausea, diarrhea- or
weight loss or thinning hair.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Infergen (interferon alfacon-1)?
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially drugs that weaken your immune system, such as:
steroids such as prednisone, dexamethasone (Decadron, Hexadrol) fluticasone (Flonase, Advair), mometasone (Asmanex, Nasonex), and others-
medicines to treat autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease- or
medicines used to prevent organ transplant rejection.
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with interferon alfacon-1. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about interferon alfacon-1.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.