It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using this medicine together with ribavirin while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. The medicine may also cause birth defects if the father is using it when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
A negative pregnancy test is needed in women who are of childbearing age before starting combination treatment with interferon alfacon-1 and ribavirin. Two forms of birth control must be used during treatment and for six months after treatment ends. You will need to have pregnancy tests done regularly to make sure you are not pregnant while being treated with these medicines and after your treatment ends.
This medicine commonly causes a flu-like reaction, with aching muscles, fever, chills, and headache. Using your shot at bedtime may allow you to sleep through the symptoms. Your doctor may want you to take a medicine for pain and fever (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) before or after each dose of interferon alfacon-1. Carefully follow your doctor's instructions about how to prevent or treat these symptoms.
This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. If you or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away.
This medicine may lower the number of white blood cells in the blood. This will increase your chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor immediately if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising; black, tarry stools; blood in the urine or stools; or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects, such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; hoarseness; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.
Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you have fever, stomach cramps, tenderness, pain, or watery or bloody diarrhea. These may be symptoms of a serious stomach problem called colitis.
Pancreatitis may occur while you are using this medicine. Tell your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.
Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
Check with your doctor right away if you are having burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. These could be symptoms of a condition called peripheral neuropathy.
Check with your doctor right away if you are having trouble breathing or if you experience a respiratory infection (such as pneumonia). This could result in a serious respiratory condition.
This medicine may cause high blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic and notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests, check with your doctor.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.