Oprelvekin (Generic name)

Other names: Neumega®

About This Drug

Oprelvekin helps the cells in the bone marrow make more platelets. This drug is given by a shot under the skin (SQ).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Water retention. You may notice in your hands or feet get puffy, swelling in your legs, and an increase in your weight.
  • Anemia. This is a decrease in the number of red blood cells.
  • Nausea and throwing up

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Allergic reaction
  • Feeling short of breath with physical activity

Infusion Reactions

While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction.  Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain.   

Treating Side Effects

  • Be careful when handling sharp objects. Be extra careful to avoid falling or bumping and bruising yourself.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about using saline eye drops if your eyes are dry or irritated.

Other Instructions

  • Your platelet count will be checked with blood tests during your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will tell you what you must do to get this lab work done. These platelet counts will determine when to stop using oprelvekin.
  • When you get oprelvekin by SQ injection at home, you will get directions for preparing and injecting the drug.
  • Keep the vials of oprelvekin in the refrigerator. Never freeze them.
  • Do not shake the vial of oprelvekin.
  • Throw away the vial of oprelvekin after you have used it once.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of oprelvekin with any food. This drug may interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might 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 help.  

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Bleeding or bruising that is not usual
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way (palpitations)
  • Feeling short of breath when resting

Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Blurred vision, eye dryness or discomfort in your eyes
  • Swelling of your legs, feet, or hands
  • Weight gain of more than 5 pounds in one week
  • Extreme fatigue that interferes with normal activities

Reproduction 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.
  • 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.

Revised July 2014

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