Sylatron (generic: peginterferon alfa-2b) is a prescription medication used to treat people who have had surgery to remove a certain type of skin cancer (malignant melanoma). Sylatron belongs to a group of drugs called interferons. The exact way Sylatron works to treat malignant melanoma is unknown.
Sylatron is a prescription medicine that is used to prevent malignant melanoma (a kind of skin cancer) from coming back after it has been removed by surgery. Sylatron should be started within 84 days of surgery to remove lymph nodes containing cancer.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Sylatron can cause serious side effects or worsen existing problems, including:
See "Drug Precautions".
- Heart problems. Signs and symptoms can include:
- fast heart rate or abnormal heart beat
- trouble breathing or chest pain
- Serious eye problems. Symptoms can include:
- decrease in vision
- blurred vision
- Severe or worsening liver problems. Symptoms can include:
- yellowing of your skin or the white part of your eyes
- swelling of your stomach area (abdomen)
- Thyroid problems. Signs and symptoms can include:
- problems concentrating
- feeling cold or hot all of the time
- weight changes
- High blood sugar (diabetes). Signs and symptoms can include:
- increased thirst
- urinating more often than normal
- weight loss
- your breath smells like fruit
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these serious side effects.
The most common side effects of Sylatron include:
- flu-like symptoms, which may include fever, headache, tiredness, muscle or joint aches, chills, nausea, or loss of appetite
- feeling sad or depressed
- redness, swelling, or itching around the injection site
- changes in blood tests measuring how your liver works
These are not all of the possible side effects of Sylatron. For more information, ask your healthcare provider.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- aldesleukin (Proleukin)
- fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax)
- methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
- pegloticase (Krystexxa)
- ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Ribasphere, Virazole)
- telbivudine (Tyzeka)
- zidovudine (Retrovir, in Combivir, Trizivir)
This is not a complete list of Sylatron drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Sylatron can cause serious mental health problems which can lead to suicide. Signs and symptoms can include:
- depression (feeling so sad or hopeless that it interferes with your life or you have thoughts of hurting yourself)
- aggressive behavior towards others, or thoughts of hurting others
- memory changes and confusion
Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms or if they get worse.
Do not take Sylatron:
- if you have had a serious allergic reaction to peginterferon alfa-2b or to interferon alfa-2b
- if you have certain types of hepatitis
- if you have severe liver damage
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Sylatron there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Sylatron.
Before you take Sylatron, tell your healthcare provider about all of your health problems, including if you:
- are being treated for a mental illness or had treatment in the past for mental illness, including depression or thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts. See "Drug Precautions".
- have severe liver damage from drugs or disease
- have or had an overactive or underactive thyroid gland
- have diabetes
- have any other medical problem(s)
- are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Sylatron will harm your unborn baby.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. You and your healthcare provider should decide if you should use Sylatron or breastfeed. You should not do both.
- Take Sylatron exactly as your healthcare provider tells you to.
- Sylatron is given as an injection under your skin (subcutaneous injection). Your healthcare provider should show you how to prepare and measure your dose of Sylatron, and how to inject yourself before you use Sylatron for the first time.
- Do not take more than your prescribed dose. Call your healthcare provider right away if you take too much Sylatron.
- Inject Sylatron one time each week unless instructed differently by your healthcare provider. Call your healthcare provider for instructions if you miss a dose.
- Expect to get "flu-like" symptoms when taking Sylatron. To help reduce flu-like symptoms:
- You should take 500 mg to 1,000 mg of acetaminophen 30 minutes before your first dose of Sylatron.
- Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about taking acetaminophen before future doses of Sylatron.
- Inject Sylatron at bedtime to help reduce flu-like symptoms.
Your healthcare provider should do blood tests before starting and during treatment with Sylatron.
It is important for you to keep all appointments with your healthcare provider. Call your healthcare provider if you miss an appointment. There may be special instructions for you.
Take Sylatron exactly as prescribed. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
The recommended dose of Sylatron is 6 mcg/kg/week subcutaneously for 8 doses, followed by 3 mcg/kg/week subcutaneously for up to 5 years. This dose recommendation may be modified depending on how well you tolerate the medicine. Do not adjust your dosage unless your doctor instructs you to.
If you take too much Sylatron, call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
Active ingredient: peginterferon alfa-2b
Inactive ingredients: dibasic sodium phosphate anhydrous, monobasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, polysorbate 80, sucrose, sterile water for injection is supplied as a diluent.
- Store Sylatron vials in the carton at 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C).
- After mixing, use Sylatron right away or store it in the refrigerator for no longer than 24 hours at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C).
- Do not freeze Sylatron.
Keep Sylatron and all medicines out of the reach of children.
WARNING: DEPRESSION AND OTHER NEUROPSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS
The risk of serious depression, with suicidal ideation and completed suicides, and other serious neuropsychiatric disorders are increased with alpha interferons, including Sylatron. Permanently discontinue Sylatron in patients with persistently severe or worsening signs or symptoms of depression, psychosis, or encephalopathy. These disorders may not resolve after stopping Sylatron