Interleukin-2 : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain tests before and during your treatment to see if it is safe for you to receive Interleukin-2 injection and to check your body’s response to Interleukin-2 injection.
Interleukin-2 can cause a serious and life-threatening reaction called capillary leak syndrome (a condition that causes the body to keep excess fluid, low blood pressure, and low levels of a protein [albumin] in the blood) that can damage your body. . heart, lungs, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract. Capillary leak syndrome can occur immediately after administration of Interleukin-2. If you experience any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor immediately: swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs; weight gain; difficulty breathing; Fainting; dizziness or lightheadedness; confusion; bloody or black, tarry, sticky stools; chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat.
Interleukin-2 can cause a decrease in the number of white blood cells in the blood. A decrease in the number of white blood cells in your body can increase the risk of developing a serious infection. If you experience any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor immediately: fever, chills, sore throat, cough, frequent or painful urination, or other signs of infection.
Interleukin-2 can affect the nervous system and cause coma. If you experience any of the following symptoms, tell your doctor immediately: extreme drowsiness or tiredness.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Interleukin-2 is used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma (CRC, a type of cancer that begins in the kidney) that has spread to other parts of your body. Interleukin-2 is also used to treat melanoma (a type of skin cancer) that has spread to other parts of your body. Interleukin-2 belongs to a class of drugs known as cytokines. It is a man-made version of a natural protein that stimulates the body to produce other chemicals that increase the body’s ability to fight cancer.
How should this medicine be used?
Interleukin-2 comes as a powder that is mixed with a liquid so that a doctor or nurse injects it intravenously (into a vein) over 15 minutes in a hospital. It is usually injected every 8 hours for 5 days in a row (a total of 14 injections). This cycle can be repeated after 9 days. The length of treatment depends on how well your body responds to the treatment.
Your doctor may need to delay or permanently stop your treatment if you experience certain side effects. You will be carefully monitored during your treatment with Interleukin-2. It is important that you tell your doctor how you feel during your treatment with Interleukin-2.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving Interleukin-2,
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Interleukin-2, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in Interleukin-2 injection. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), and propranolol (Inderal); certain cancer chemotherapy drugs, such as asparaginase (Elspar), cisplatin (Platinol), dacarbazine (DTIC-dome), doxorubicin (Doxil), interferon alpha (Pegasys, PEG-Intron), methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and tamoxifen ( Nolvadex)); medications for high blood pressure; medications for nausea and vomiting; narcotics and other pain relievers; sedatives, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers; steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone); and steroid creams, lotions, or ointments, such as hydrocortisone (Cortizone, Westcort). Also tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medications you are taking so that they can check if any of your medications may increase the risk that you will develop kidney or liver damage during your treatment with Interleukin-2.
- Tell your doctor if you have ever had seizures, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding requiring surgical treatment, or other serious gastrointestinal, heart, nervous system, or kidney problems after receiving Interleukin-2 or if you have ever had an organ transplant (surgery to replace an organ in the body). Your doctor may not want you to receive Interleukin-2.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures, Crohn’s disease, scleroderma (a disease that affects the tissues that support the skin and internal organs), thyroid disease, arthritis, diabetes, myasthenia gravis (a disease that weakens the muscles) or cholecystitis. (inflammation of the gallbladder causing severe pain).
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while receiving Interleukin-2, call your doctor. You should not breastfeed while receiving Interleukin-2.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Interleukin-2 may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- loss of appetite
- sores in the mouth and throat
- general feeling of being unwell
- pain or redness at the place where the injection was given
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- extreme worry
- abnormal excitement or agitation
- new or worsening depression
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
- changes in your vision or speech
- loss of coordination
- decreased alertness
- unusual bruising or bleeding
- extreme sleepiness or tiredness
- difficulty breathing
- stomach pain
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- decreased urination
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
Interleukin-2 may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medicine.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim collapsed, had a seizure, is having trouble breathing, or is unable to wake up, immediately call 911 for emergency services.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- decreased urination
- swelling of the face, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- stomach pain
- vomit that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds
- blood in the stool
- black and tarry stools
What other information should I know?
If you are having X-rays, tell the doctor that you are receiving Interleukin-2 therapy.
It is important that you keep a written list of all prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you go into hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.