Filgrastim (Generic Name)  

Other Names: granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, G-CSF, Neupogen®

About This Drug

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). G-CSF aids the growth, function, and maturation of certain white blood cells that help to fight infection in your body. G-CSF is used to increase white blood cell production. It reduces the length of time your white blood cell count is low after chemotherapy. This drug is given sub-cutaneously (SQ) or intravenously (IV).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone or muscle pain. Mild to moderate pain may be felt in the back, chest, ribs, or legs and can be controlled with medication.
  • Skin and tissue irritation may include redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This occurs if the drug leaks out of the vein and into surrounding tissue.

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Rash

Sexual Problems and Reproductive Concerns

Pregnancy Warning: It is not known if this drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child.  For this reason, be sure to speak with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug.

Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.  Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.

Genetic counseling is available to you to discuss the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. In addition, a genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus due to this medication if an exposure during pregnancy has occurred.

Breast Feeding Warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women are advised to discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and seriously harm a breast feeding infant.

Treating Side Effects

  • Take pain medication as directed by your doctor.
  • Do not put anything on your rash unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medication if your rash is bothersome.
  • During the IV infusion, if you experience pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion, please tell your nurse immediately.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of filgrastim with food. This drug may interact with other medication. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are currently taking. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. Using these might unexpectedly affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's advice.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Bone or muscle pain unrelieved by prescribed medication

Other Instructions

  • Your white blood cell count will be monitored during your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will tell you what you must do to complete the lab work. These white blood cell counts will determine when G-CSF can be discontinued.
  • If you are to receive G-CSF by subcutaneous injection, you will be shown how to prepare the drug and give yourself the injection.
  • Store the vials of G-CSF in the refrigerator. Never freeze them.
  • Do not shake the vial of G-CSF.
  • Each vial contains one dose. Discard the vial after you have used it once.
  • G-CSF is expensive medication. Review the prescription coverage provided by your insurance carrier. If you do not have prescription coverage, you will need to plan for this expense.

Revised January 2012

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