Oprelvekin (Generic name)
Other names: Neumega, recombinant human interleukin-11, rhIL-11

About this drug

Oprelvekin helps the cells in bone marrow make more platelets. If you have too few platelets, you have a higher risk for bruising and bleeding. Oprelvekin reduces the length of time your platelet count is low after chemotherapy has been given. This drug is given by subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin).

Possible side effects

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Shortness of breath with physical activity
  • Water retention. You may notice puffiness in your hands or feet, swelling in your legs, and an increase in your weight.
  • Anemia. This is a decrease in the number of red blood cells.
  • This drug may have harmful effects on an unborn child. Effective methods of birth control should be used during your cancer treatment. Genetic counseling is available for you to discuss the effect of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. A genetic counselor can review the potential risks of problems in the fetus if an exposure to this medication during pregnancy has occurred.

Treating side effects

  • Be careful when you’re handling sharp objects. Take extra safety precautions 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.

Food and drug interactions

There are no known interactions of oprelvekin with any food. This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of the medications that you are currently taking.

When to call the doctor

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

  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath when resting

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

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

Other instructions

  • Your platelet count will be monitored with blood tests during your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will tell you what you must do to complete the lab work. These platelet counts will determine when to discontinue use of oprelvekin.
  • If you are to receive oprelvekin by subcutaneous injection, you will receive guidelines for preparing and injecting the drug.
  • Store the vials of oprelvekin in the refrigerator. Never freeze them.
  • Do not shake the vial of oprelvekin.
  • Discard the vial after you have used it once.

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