About Neulasta® and NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim)
What are Neulasta® and NEUPOGEN®?
Neulasta® and NEUPOGEN® are both white blood cell boosters. They are man-made forms of a substance called granulocyte (gran-yoo-loh-site) colony-stimulating factorColony-stimulating factors—Also called CSFs, colony-stimulating factors are drugs that promote the production of various white blood cells. Examples of CSFs are NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim) and Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim). that is naturally produced by the body. They stimulate the growth of a type of white blood cell called neutrophilsNeutrophil—The most common type of white blood cell. Neutrophils help the body fight infection. A low white blood cell count usually indicates that the neutrophil count is low. It is easier to get an infection and harder to recover from an infection when the number of neutrophils in the bloodstream is low., which are important in the body’s fight against infection.1,2
The NEUPOGEN® molecule is small, so your kidneys remove it quickly from the body. Because of this, daily injections of NEUPOGEN® are needed.
Neulasta® has a large chemical called polyethylene glycol (or PEG) added to one end of the NEUPOGEN® molecule. This makes the Neulasta® molecule too large to be removed by the kidneys so that it stays in your body longer than NEUPOGEN®.3,4 Because of this, Neulasta® is only given once for every chemotherapy cycle. To learn more about taking Neulasta®, go to How Neulasta® Is Given.
Your doctor will determine whether Neulasta® or NEUPOGEN® is right for you, and what dose you should receive.
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What are Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) and NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim)?
Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) and NEUPOGEN® (filgrastim) are prescription medications used to reduce the risk of infection (initially marked by fever) in patients with some tumors receiving strong chemotherapy that decreases the number of infection-fighting white blood cells.
Your doctor will do blood tests to monitor your blood cell counts before and during your treatment with NEUPOGEN®.
Important Safety Information
Who should not take Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) or NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim)?
Do not take Neulasta® or NEUPOGEN® if you have had an allergic reaction to Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) or to NEUPOGEN (filgrastim).
Do Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) and NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim) prevent all infections?
Neulasta® or NEUPOGEN® may reduce your chance of getting an infection, but it does not prevent all infections. An infection can happen anytime your neutrophil counts are low. Look for signs of infection, such as fever, chills, rash, sore throat, diarrhea, or redness, swelling, or pain around a cut or sore. If you have any of these signs, contact your health care professional immediately.
What are possible serious side effects of Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) and NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim)?
Your spleen may become enlarged and can rupture while taking Neulasta or NEUPOGEN. A ruptured spleen can cause death. The spleen is located in the upper left section of your stomach area. Call your doctor right away if you have pain in the left upper stomach area or left shoulder tip area. This pain could mean your spleen is enlarged or ruptured.
A serious lung problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has been reported with Neulasta and NEUPOGEN use. Call your doctor or seek emergency care right away if you have shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or a fast rate of breathing.
Neulasta and NEUPOGEN can cause serious allergic reactions. These reactions can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness, swelling around the mouth or eyes, fast pulse, sweating, and hives. If you start to have any of these symptoms, call your doctor or seek emergency care right away. If you have an allergic reaction during the injection, stop the injection. Call your doctor right away.
You may have a serious sickle cell crisis if you have a sickle cell disorder and take Neulasta or NEUPOGEN. Serious and sometimes fatal sickle cell crises can occur in patients with sickle cell disorders receiving NEUPOGEN. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of sickle cell crisis such as pain or difficulty breathing.
Talk to your doctor if you experience unusual bleeding or bruising while taking NEUPOGEN, as this could mean a decrease of platelets which reduces the ability of blood to clot.
What are the most common side effects of Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) and NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim)?
The most common side effect you may experience is aching in the bones and muscles. If this happens, it can usually be relieved with a nonaspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen.
Some people experience redness, swelling, or itching at the site of injection. If you notice any signs of a local reaction, call your doctor.
If you have any questions about this information, be sure to discuss them with your doctor. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088(1-800-332-1088).
For more information about Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim), please see the Neulasta® Prescribing Information and Patient Product Information. For more information about NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim), please see the NEUPOGEN® Prescribing Information and Patient Product Information.