Pegfilgrastim (Generic Name)

Other Names: Neulasta™

About This Drug

Pegfilgrastim is used after chemotherapy to help your body make more white blood cells.. It is given by a shot under the skin (subcutaneously).

Possible Side Effects (More Common)

  • Bone Pain
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)

Possible Side Effects (Less Common)

  • Constipation (not able to move bowels)

Treating Side Effects

  • Drink 6-8 cups of fluids each day unless your doctor has told you to limit your fluid intake due to some other health problem. A cup is 8 ounces of fluid. If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen bone, joint, and muscle pain.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse about medicine that is available to help prevent or lessen nausea and throwing up.
  • If you are constipated, check with your doctor or nurse before you use enemas, laxatives, or suppositories.

Important Information

  • If you are getting pegfilgrastim at home, you will get directions telling you how to give the shot.
  • Store the pre-filled syringes in the refrigerator. They should be kept in their carton to protect them from light until you use them.
  • Do not shake the syringe.
  • You may remove a syringe from the refrigerator to let it reach room temperature but it should be protected from light.  Do not leave a syringe out of the refrigerator for more than 48 hours. If you leave a syringe out for more than 48 hours, throw it away.
  • Do not freeze the syringes. If a syringe is freezes by accident, it can be thawed in the refrigerator. If the drug is frozen a second time, do not use it, throw it away.

Food and Drug Interactions

There are no known interactions of pegfilgrastim with 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:

  • Rash, fever, chills, dizziness, fast heartbeat (palpitations), and/or feeling short of breath  after you get a dose of this medicine
  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Pain in your left upper abdomen or shoulder
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking
  • Throwing up more than 3 times in one day

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

  • Nausea, throwing up, or diarrhea (loose bowel movements) that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 5 or 6 times in one day, or diarrhea with weakness

Reproduction Concerns

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child.  For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while getting this drug.
  • Breast feeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk.  For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and badly harm a breast feeding baby.

Revised November 2014

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