Hepatitis Home > Peginterferon Alfa-2a

Peginterferon alfa-2a is prescribed to treat chronic hepatitis B or C infections. This medicine works by boosting the immune system's response to viruses. It comes as an injection that is given just under the skin once a week for 24 to 48 weeks. Most people who use this drug will develop some type of side effect, such as muscle aches, fatigue, or fever.

What Is Peginterferon Alfa-2a?

Peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys®) is a prescription medication approved to treat hepatitis C and hepatitis B. When used to treat hepatitis C, it works best when combined with ribavirin, although it can also be used alone if necessary. For hepatitis C virus genotype 1 infections, it works even better when combined with both ribavirin and a hepatitis C protease inhibitor like Incivek® or Victrelis®, although such a combination is not appropriate for all individuals.
 
(Click What Is Peginterferon Alfa-2a Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, peginterferon alfa-2a may cause side effects. Most people using this drug will develop some sort of adverse reaction. In many cases, these problems are merely bothersome and not usually dangerous. In other cases, the side effects may be so severe or dangerous that the medication must be stopped.
 
Some of the most common side effects seen with peginterferon alfa-2a include but are not limited to:
 
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache.
 
(Click Peginterferon Alfa-2a Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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