An Overview of Aldesleukin (IL-2, Proleukin)
June 7, 2009
Aldesleukin is a synthetic form of interleukin-2 (IL-2), which is a substance the body produces to stimulate the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system. Aldesleukin, also known as Proleukin, belongs to the class of medicines called biological response modifiers. Biological response modifiers stimulate the body's response to infection and disease. Aldesleukin also belongs to the class of medicines called antineoplastics. Antineoplastics slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.
Aldesleukin is being studied in clinical trials to see if it can improve the body's immune response and slow the progress of HIV. This medicine does not cure or prevent HIV infection or AIDS and does not reduce the risk of passing the virus to other people. Aldesleukin is approved by the FDA for the treatment of kidney and skin cancers.
Aldesleukin comes in liquid form that is given by injection into a vein or under the skin. In clinical trials, aldesleukin is usually given in small doses that are injected under the skin or slowly into the bloodstream.When aldesleukin is used to treat kidney cancer or skin cancer, it is given in high doses that are injected into the bloodstream very quickly. Because this form of aldesleukin therapy can have very serious side effects that are sometimes fatal, it is usually given in the hospital or under the close supervision of a doctor or nurse.
Individuals should tell a doctor about any medical problems before taking this medicine.
Possible Side Effects
Even when given at the lower doses that are usually used in clinical trials, aldesleukin can cause some serious unwanted effects, including high or low blood pressure, lung congestion, shortness of breath, worsening of Crohn's disease, diabetes, heart rhythm irregularities, heart failure, and psoriasis. Individuals should tell a doctor if they have any of these side effects.Other side effects may not be serious and may lessen or disappear with continued use of this medicine. Less serious side effects of this medicine include chills, diarrhea, discoloration, redness, rash, or swelling at the place where the injection was given; dizziness; dry skin; fever; headache; itching; loss of appetite; muscle aches; nausea and vomiting; unusual tiredness; weakness; and weight loss. Individuals should tell a doctor if these side effects continue or are bothersome.
Drug and Food Interactions
A doctor should be notified of any other medications being taken, including prescription, nonprescription (over-the-counter), or herbal medications.
Click here to search ClinicalTrials.gov for trials that use Aldesleukin.
This article was provided by AIDSinfo. Visit the AIDSinfo website to find out more about their activities and publications.