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Pegasys Chemotherapy
Dec 22, 2002

Dr. Dieterich,

Perhaps you can help me clear up the myths and misunderstandings regarding Interferon chemotherapy. We have had some home debates about this. I believe you would concur with me regarding this matter. Other Doctors have.

So often I hear people referring to interferons as mimicking chemotherapy or acting like chemotherapy. You yourself responded to Karens query with the statement The side effects are no walk in the park but they are not like chemotherapy.

Wouldnt you agree that Interferon does not mimic chemotherapy or act like chemotherapy? IT IS CHEMOTHERAPY! Its the real McCoy!

The American Medical Association (AMA) documents Interferon Alfa-2A and Alfa-2B as Chemotherapy. The AMA CPT Administration codes, as well as the CMS/HCPCS codes, for Interferon Alfa-2A and 2B, fall under the category of Injectable chemotherapy.

Interferon Alfa-2A, Code: #J9213 Interferon Alfa-2B, Code: #J9214

The AMA, HGSA, HCPCS, CMS, and even the HGSA in Australia all classify Interferon Alfa-2A and 2B as chemotherapy. Why? Because they are indeed chemotherapies!

Anyone can pick out any search engine and just type in J9213. You dont need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out.

For example: click below. CPT/HCPCS Section & Benefit Category: Drugs and Biologicals, Chemotherapy Drugs CPT/HCPCS Codes: J9212 Interferon injection J9213 Interferon alfa-2a inj J9214 Interferon alfa-2b inj J9215 Interferon alfa-n3 inj J9216 Interferon gamma 1-b inj

LMRP Description: Chemotherapy is the treatment of disease by means of chemical substances or drugs. LMRP Description: Interferon, Alfa-2A and Alfa-2B, is a protein chain of 165 ammoniac's produced by a recombinant DNA process, involving genetically engineered Escherichia coli. Interferon, Alfa-N3 is a highly purified mixture of up to 14 natural human alpha interferon subtypes. It is a protein chain of approximately 166 amino acids. Acronym definitions;

AMA: American Medical Association CMT: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics HCPCS: HCFAs Common Procedure Coding System HCFA: Health Care Financing Administration [now: Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services (CMS) HGSA: Human Genetics Society of Australasia (Australia) LMRP: Local Medical Review Policies ==========================================================================

Im sure what you meant, was that interferon is not as severe as other chemotherapies and you would be right on the money about this. I am on Pegasys and I work a full week every week. The first injection was rough; however, Ive not had much trouble with successive injections. I know some patients whos hair has thinned-out some, but I have yet to speak with any other patients at the treatment center that have totally lost their hair. I experience some mild nausea at sporadic intervals due to the time release properties of Pegasys, but it is by all means tolerable. Im grateful for the chance at a cure.

Kind Regards, M. Ronald Smith Houston, TX


Response from Dr. Dieterich

J codes are used for injectable medications. Of course anything that is a chemical and is therapy is chemotherapy. It is generally understood in the medical world that chemotherpy refers to antineoplastic therapy. While interferon has been used for cancer I wanted to make it clear that the generally bad name that chemotherapy has does not apply to interferon therapy. Glad you are doing so well. Keep it up.! DTD

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