Peginterferon Alfa-2a Side Effects

Most people who use peginterferon alfa-2a will develop some type of side effect, such as insomnia, joint pain, or flu-like symptoms. In many cases, these reactions tend to be minor and are not typically dangerous. However, some problems are potentially serious and should be reported to a healthcare provider right away, including bloody diarrhea, chest pain, or problems breathing.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Peginterferon Alfa-2a

Just like any medicine, peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys®) can 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, they may be so severe or dangerous that the medication must be stopped.
 
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with peginterferon alfa-2a. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)
 

Peginterferon Alfa-2a Side Effects to Report

Some side effects of peginterferon alfa-2a are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
 
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Signs of heart problems, such as:
 
    • An irregular heart rhythm
    • Fainting
    • Chest pain
 
 
    • Vision or speech changes
    • Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg
    • Severe headache
 
  • Frequent or severe infections
  • Increased bleeding or bruising
  • Worsening of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus
  • Signs of dangerous intestinal problems, such as:
 
    • Bloody diarrhea
    • Abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Fever
 
 
    • Severe abdominal (stomach) pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Worsening in kidney function (typically in people who already have kidney problems)
  • High triglycerides
  • Signs of worsening liver problems, such as yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin (jaundice) or elevated liver enzymes
  • Thyroid problems
  • Worsening of diabetes
  • Temporary decrease in growth (in children)
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
 
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Unexplained swelling.
 

Peginterferon Alfa-2a Information

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