Peginterferon Alfa-2a Side Effects

Common Side Effects

Peginterferon alfa-2a has been studied extensively in clinical trials. In these studies, some of the people were treated with peginterferon alfa-2a, while others were treated with other similar interferon medications. The side effects that occurred in the two groups were carefully documented and compared.
In most of the studies, people were also treated with ribavirin (Rebetol®), which helps improve the effectiveness of interferon medications when treating hepatitis C. The information here includes only the data from peginterferon alfa-2a used alone, without ribavirin.
In these studies, the most common side effects included:
  • Flu symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, and muscle aches -- in up to 81 percent of people
  • Fatigue -- up to 56 percent
  • Headache -- up to 54 percent
  • Skin reaction at the injection site -- up to 42 percent
  • Muscle pain -- up to 37 percent
  • Fever -- up to 37 percent
  • Shaking or chills -- up to 35 percent
  • Joint pain -- up to 28 percent
  • Nausea and vomiting -- up to 24 percent
  • Hair loss -- up to 23 percent
  • Low neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) -- up to 21 percent
  • Irritability, anxiety, or nervousness -- up to 19 percent
  • Insomnia -- up to 19 percent
  • Depression -- up to 18 percent
  • Decreased appetite/eating less -- up to 17 percent
Other common reactions, occurring in 3 percent to 16 percent of people, included:
  • A rash
  • Itching
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Low lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell)
  • Anemia
  • Low blood platelets
  • Weight loss
  • Back pain
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Problems concentrating
  • Mood changes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Dry skin
  • Increased sweating
  • Dermatitis
  • Blurred vision.

Peginterferon Alfa-2a Information

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