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An Overview of Peginterferon Alfa-2 (Pegasys, PEG-Intron)

October 4, 2012


Other Names: PEG-interferon alfa-2a, Pegasys, pegIFN alfa-2a, pegylated-interferon alfa 2a

What is peginterferon alfa-2a?

Peginterferon alfa-2a is an antiviral prescription medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. HBV infection and HCV infection are opportunistic infections. An opportunistic infection is an infection that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems -- such as those infected with HIV -- than in people with healthy immune systems.

The Guidelines for Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Infected Adults and Adolescents, prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides recommendations on the use of peginterferon alfa-2a to treat HBV and HCV infections in people also infected with HIV. In addition to recommendations for the medicine's use in treating chronic HBV and HCV infections, the guidelines include recommendations on the "off-label" use of peginterferon alfa-2a to treat acute HCV infection in HIV-infected individuals. "Off-label" use refers to use of an FDA-approved medicine in a manner different from that described on the medicine label. Good medical practice and the best interests of a patient sometimes require that a medicine be used "off-label."

What should I tell my health care provider before taking peginterferon alfa-2a?

Before taking peginterferon alfa-2a, tell your health care provider:

Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from peginterferon alfa-2a. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.

How should I take peginterferon alfa-2a?

Take peginterferon alfa-2a according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much peginterferon alfa-2a to take and when to take it. Before you start peginterferon alfa-2a and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.

How should peginterferon alfa-2a be stored?

Where can I find more information about peginterferon alfa-2a?

More information about peginterferon alfa-2a is available:

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