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Filgrastim

About your treatment

Your doctor has ordered the drug filgrastim to help treat your illness. The drug will be infused into a vein or injected under your skin.

This medication is used to:

  • decrease the chance of infection in patients with nonmyeloid cancers who receive anticancer therapy that lowers white blood cell counts.
  • reduce the amount of time the white blood cell counts are low and prevent the consequences of low white blood cell counts in patients with nonmyeloid cancer who receive chemotherapy that destroys bone marrow in preparation for bone marrow transplant.
  • mobilize hematopoietic progenitor cells into peripheral blood for collection by leukapheresis.
  • decrease the chance and the duration of problems due to low white blood cell counts in patients with congenital, cyclic, and idiopathic neutropenia (low white blood cell counts).

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Filgrastim is in a class of drugs known as growth factors; it promotes the growth of white blood cells which help to fight infections. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Other uses for this medicine

Filgrastim also is used to increase white blood cell counts in adults with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and to treat low white blood cell counts in adults with acute leukemia who have received chemotherapy. In patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, filgrastim is used to increase white blood cell counts or to prevent the further lowering of white blood cell counts due to the virus and/or to medication. Filgrastim has been used to increase white blood cell counts in people who do not have cancer but take medications that lower white blood cell counts.

Precautions

Before taking filgrastim,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to filgrastim or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. You should not plan to have children while receiving therapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy. Filgrastim may harm the fetus.

Side effects

Side effects from filgrastim are common and include:

  • bone pain
  • weakness
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain

Tell your doctor if the following symptom is severe or lasts for several hours:

  • redness, pain, and burning at the injection site

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • skin rash
  • fever
  • chills, shaking, or nighttime sweating
  • trouble breathing
  • early fullness after eating
  • drowsiness
  • loss of appetite

Storage conditions

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it in the refrigerator; do not freeze. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

Special instructions

  • Filgrastim can be taken at home. In that case, your doctor or nurse will instruct you on how to use it. Store filgrastim in the refrigerator. One hour before your dose, remove the medication from the refrigerator to allow it to warm to room temperature. The vial is for one dose only; do not save unused medication for your next dose.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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