Precautions

Drug information provided by: Micromedex

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Using this medicine together with ribavirin while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. These medicines may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using these medicines, tell your doctor right away.

A negative pregnancy test is needed for women who are of childbearing age before starting treatment with this medicine and ribavirin. Effective birth control must be used by male and female patients during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose. Female patients will need to have pregnancy tests every month during treatment and for 6 months after the last dose.

You should not use peginterferon alfa-2a together with ribavirin if you are also taking didanosine (Videx®, Videx® EC). Using these medicines together may cause serious problems.

This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you, your child, or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have itching, hives, hoarseness, trouble with breathing, trouble with swallowing, or any swelling of the hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin, fever or chills, hives or welts, red skin lesions, a severe skin rash or acne, or sores or ulcers on the skin while you are using this medicine.

This medicine will not keep you from giving hepatitis B or hepatitis C to other people.

This medicine combined with ribavirin can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, which will increase the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:

  • If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
  • Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
  • Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
  • Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have back, leg, or stomach pains, bleeding gums, chills, dark urine, difficulty breathing, fever, general body swelling, headache, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, nosebleeds, pale skin, sore throat, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellowing of the eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a blood disorder called hemolytic anemia.

Check with your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness. These could be symptoms of pancreatitis.

Check with your doctor immediately if you have vision changes, such as blurred vision, difficulty reading, or eye pain during or after treatment. This could be a symptom of a serious eye problem. Your doctor may want an eye doctor to check your eyes.

Peginterferon alfa-2a used together with ribavirin may affect your child's growth. Your doctor may need to check your child's height and weight during and after treatment with these medicines.

This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, dizzy, or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are dizzy and not alert.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.