If you are experiencing a medical emergency please dial 911 immediately
Pronunciation: in ter FEAR on AL fa 2b and RYE ba VYE rin
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to interferon alfa-2b (Intron A) or ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol), or if you have autoimmune hepatitis, severe liver or kidney disease, or a hemoglobin blood cell disorder such as sickle-cell anemia or thalassemia.
Do not use interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin if you are pregnant, or if you are a man and your female sexual partner is pregnant.
Use at least 2 effective forms of birth control while either sexual partner is using interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin. Keep using 2 forms of birth control for at least 6 months after treatment ends.
Before using interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions, especially kidney disease, liver problems other than hepatitis, heart disease or high blood pressure, a thyroid disorder, eye problems, HIV or AIDS, a blood cell disorder, an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or psoriasis, or a history of heart attack, stroke, organ transplant, depression, mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Also tell your doctor if you have ever used an interferon to treat hepatitis in the past and it did not work.
Interferon alfa-2b is made from human proteins that help the body fight viral infections.
Ribavirin is an antiviral medication.
Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin are packaged together as a capsule and injection kit to treat chronic hepatitis C. These medications must be used together.
Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to interferon alfa-2b (Intron A) or ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol), or if you have:
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin:
FDA pregnancy category X. Ribavirin is known to cause birth defects or death in an unborn baby. Do not use interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin if you are pregnant. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before using this medication and every month during your treatment.
Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin can affect growth in children. Talk with your doctor if you think your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medication.
The powder form of interferon alfa-2b contains albumin, but the solution (liquid) form does not. Albumin comes from human plasma (part of the blood) and may contain viruses and other infectious agents that can cause disease. Although donated human plasma is screened, tested, and treated to reduce the risk of it containing anything that could cause disease, there is still a small possibility it could transmit disease. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medication.
Interferon alfa-2b is given as an injection under the skin. Your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider will give you this injection. You may be shown how to inject your medicine 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.
Do not use the medication if it has changed colors or has any particles in it. Call your doctor for a new prescription.
Use a different place on your arm, stomach, or thigh 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.
Use each disposable needle only one time. 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.
The interferon alfa-2b injection is usually given 3 times per week. The ribavirin capsule is usually taken twice daily. You may take the capsules with or without food but take them the same way each time. Follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Your ribavirin dose needs may change if you gain weight. Tell your doctor if your weight increases to 165 pounds or above.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. You may also need regular eye exams. Do not miss any scheduled appointments.
Store both the ribavirin capsules and the interferon alfa-2b vials (bottles) or injection pens in the refrigerator. Do not allow the medicine to freeze.
Use the medicine as soon as you remember the missed dose, then go back to your regular schedule on the day your next dose is due. If you are more than 2 days late in using your injection, call your doctor for instructions. Do not use extra medicine to make up a missed dose.
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. Symptoms of an interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin overdose are not known.
Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage.
Treatment with this medication does not prevent spread of the hepatitis virus to other people. Follow your doctor's instructions about how to prevent passing the disease to another person.
Get 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 this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
Less serious side effects may include:
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.
Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially HIV or AIDS medications such as :
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about interferon alfa-2b and ribavirin.
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.
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