About This Drug
Filgrastim belongs to a class of medicines called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). G-CSF helps the body make more white blood cells. White blood cells help fight infection in your body. This drug is given in the vein (IV) or in a shot under the skin (SQ).
Possible Side Effects (More Common)
- Bone or muscle pain. Mild to moderate pain may be felt in the back, chest, ribs, or legs. Medicines are available to help decrease the pain.
- Skin and tissue irritation may include redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site. This happens if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.
Possible Side Effects (Less Common)
Treating Side Effects
- Take your pain medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
- While you are getting this medicine in your vein, please tell your nurse right away if you get any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion.
- Your white blood cell count will be checked during your treatment. Your doctor or nurse will tell you what you must do to get the lab work done. These white blood cell counts will determine when to stop the G-CSF.
- If you are going to get G-CSF by a shot under the skin (SQ), you will be shown how to prepare the drug and give yourself the shot.
- Keep the vials of G-CSF in the refrigerator. Never freeze them.
- Do not shake the vial of G-CSF.
- Each vial has one dose. Throw away the vial after you have used it once.
- G-CSF is expensive. Review the prescription coverage provided by your insurance carrier. If you do not have prescription coverage, you will need to plan for this expense.
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 of the medication and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often unknown. 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:
- Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
Call your doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have bone or muscle pain that is not relieved by prescribed pain medicines.
- 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.
- Speak with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
- Genetic counseling is available for you to talk about the effects of this drug therapy on future pregnancies. Also, a genetic counselor can look at the possible risk of problems in the unborn baby due to this medicine if an exposure happens during pregnancy.
- 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