What is peginterferon alfa-2a?
Peginterferon alfa-2a is anprescription medicine approved by the U.S. (FDA) for the treatment of chronic (HBV) and chronic (HCV) in adults and children who meet specific requirements, as determined by a health care provider.
HBV and HCV can be opportunistic infections (OIs) of HIV. An OI is an What is an Opportunistic Infection? fact sheet.that occurs more frequently or is more severe in people with weakened immune systems—such as people with HIV—than in people with healthy immune systems. To learn more about OIs, read the HIVinfo
How is peginterferon alfa-2a used in people with HIV?
The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV include recommendations on the use of peginterferon alfa-2a to treat HBV infection in people with HIV who are not receiving (ART).
The Guidelines refer readers to the AASLD-IDSA HCV Guidance: Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C for recommendations on the treatment of HCV infection in people with HIV. Although peginterferon alfa-2a is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic HCV infection, the HCV Guidance no longer recommends the use of peginterferon-containing regimens to treat HCV infection, including in people with HIV. New, recently approved HCV drugs offer more effective, better tolerated treatment options.
The recommended uses may not always be consistent with FDA-approved uses of peginterferon alfa-2a. See the Guidelines for complete information on recommended uses of peginterferon alfa-2a in adults and adolescents with HIV. Peginterferon alfa-2a may have other recommended uses not listed above.
What should I tell my health care provider before using peginterferon alfa-2a?
Before using peginterferon alfa-2a, tell your health care provider:
- If you are allergic to peginterferon alfa-2a or any other medicines.
- About any medical conditions you have or have had, including:
- Heart problems or
- problems, including HBV or HCV infection
- Kidney problems
- Lung problems
- or thyroid problems
- , such as psoriasis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Low blood cell counts
- Blood disorders
- High levels of
- Organ transplant
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Mental health problems
- About any health conditions that may prevent you from receiving medicine by injection.
- If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Peginterferon alfa-2a may cause a miscarriage. Talk to your health care provider about the risks of taking peginterferon alfa-2a during pregnancy. Pregnancy should be avoided during combination treatment with ribavirin and for 6 months after completion of the treatment. The Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV may include other recommendations on the use of peginterferon alfa-2a during pregnancy. Please refer to these guidelines for additional information.
- If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. For women with HIV in the United States, the Guideline does not recommend breastfeeding. Before your baby is born, or if you are already breastfeeding, talk to your health care provider to discuss alternative options for feeding your baby.
- About other prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Peginterferon alfa-2a may affect the way other medicines or products work, and other medicines or products may affect how peginterferon alfa-2a works. Ask your health care provider if there are interactions between peginterferon alfa-2a and the other medicines you take.
Ask your health care provider about possible side effects from peginterferon alfa-2a. Your health care provider will tell you what to do if you have side effects.
How should I use peginterferon alfa-2a?
Use peginterferon alfa-2a according to your health care provider’s instructions. Your health care provider will tell you how much peginterferon alfa-2a to use and when to use it. Before you start peginterferon alfa-2a and each time you get a refill, read any printed information that comes with your medicine.
How should peginterferon alfa-2a be stored?
- Store peginterferon alfa-2a single-dose vials and prefilled syringes in the refrigerator, between 36°F and 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not leave peginterferon alfa-2a out of the refrigerator for more than 24 hours.
- Do not freeze or shake peginterferon alfa-2a.
- Protect peginterferon alfa-2a from light.
- Vials and prefilled syringes are for single use only. Discard any unused portion remaining in the vial or prefilled syringe.
- Throw away peginterferon alfa-2a that is no longer needed or expired (out of date). Follow FDA guidelines on how to safely dispose of unused medicine.
- Keep peginterferon alfa-2a and all medicines out of reach of children.
Where can I find more information about peginterferon alfa-2a?
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of peginterferon alfa-2a, from the Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV, prepared by the , the , and the HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
- Recommendations on the HIV-related uses of peginterferon alfa-2a, from the HCV Guidance: Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C, prepared by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
- This Patient Version drug summary is based on the following FDA label(s): Injection (solution). The Patient Counseling Information section of the label includes information for people taking peginterferon alfa-2a.
- Peginterferon alfa-2a-related research studies, from
Last Reviewed: August 9, 2021