Interferon Alfa-2a

Interferon Alfa-2a

Interferon alpha-2a is used to treat hairy cell leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, kidney cancer, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, melanoma cancer, or AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma. This drug can also be used to treat chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C.

Interferons are natural proteins produced by the body. Interferon alpha-2a works by increasing the immune system's response and inhibiting the growth of viruses or cancer. Interferon alpha-2a is available as an injection. This drug should not be used carelessly and must be according to a doctor's prescription.

Trademarks of Interferon Alfa-2a: -

What is Interferon Alfa-2a




Prescription drug


Treat hair cell leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, kidney cancer, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cancer, follicular lymphoma cancer, melanoma cancer or AIDS-related cancer of Kaposi's sarcoma and treat chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C

Consumed by


Interferon alpha-2a for pregnant and lactating women

Category C:  Animal studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus, but there have been no controlled studies in pregnant women. Drugs should only be used if the expected benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.

It is not known whether interferon alpha-2a is absorbed into breast milk or not. If you are breastfeeding, do not use this medicine without consulting your doctor first.

Drug form


Precautions Before Using Interferon Alfa-2a

Interferon alpha-2a should only be used as prescribed by a doctor. Before using interferon alpha-2a, you need to pay attention to the following points:

  • Do not use interferon alpha-2a if you are allergic to this drug. Tell your doctor about any history of allergies you have.
  • Tell your doctor if you have or are suffering from depression , heart disease, seizures , diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, high triglycerides , hypertension, blood disorder , colitis, COPD , hyperthyroidism, HIV/AIDS , pancreatitis, or an autoimmune disease , such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Tell your doctor if you have ever experienced drug abuse or alcohol addiction .
  • Do not drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery while being treated with interferon alfa-2a, because this drug may cause dizziness.
  • Consult your doctor if you plan to get vaccinated while using interferon alpha-2a.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy. Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while on treatment with interferon alpha-2a.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines and supplements.
  • See your doctor immediately if you experience an allergic drug reaction, serious side effects, or overdose after using interferon alfa-2a.

Dosage and Rules for Using Interferon Alfa-2a

Interferon alpha-2a is only available in injectable form. Interferon alpha-2a injections are given under the skin (subcutaneous/SC) or into the muscle (intramuscular/IM) by a doctor or medical officer under the supervision of a doctor.

The dose of interferon alpha-2a will be determined by the doctor according to the patient's condition. The following is the distribution of interferon alpha-2a doses:

  • Condition: Hairy cell leukemia
    3 million units daily, for 16–24 weeks. The maintenance dose is 3 million units, 3 times a week, for 24 months.
  • Condition: Chronic myeloid leukemia
    Initially 3 million units per day, for 3 days. The dose was increased to 9 million units per day.
  • Condition: Kidney cancer
    . 3 million units, 3 times a week, for 1 week. Followed by a dose of 9 million units, 3 times a week, for 1 week. The dose is increased to 18 million units, 3 times a week, for 3–12 months.
  • Condition: Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma
    3 million units per day, for 3 days. Followed by a dose of 9 million units per day, for 3 days. The dose is increased to 18 units per day, for 12 weeks.
  • Condition: Follicular lymphoma
    6 million units/m2 per day, given on days 22–26 of each 28-day chemotherapy cycle.
  • Condition: Melanoma
    . A dose of 3 million units, 3 times a week, for 18 months. Treatment can be started no later than 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Condition: AIDS- associated Kaposi's sarcoma
    Initial dose of 3 million units for 3 days. Next, the dose is 9 million units for 3 days. Then, the dose was increased to 18 million units for 3 days. The dose was increased again to 36 million units per day.
  • Condition: Chronic hepatitis B.
    Dosage 2.5–5 million units/m2, given 3 times a week, for 4–6 months.
  • Condition: Chronic hepatitis C
    3–4.5 million units, given 3 times weekly, for 6 months, in combination with ribavirin . As sole therapy, initial dose of 3–6 million units, given 3 times weekly, for 6 months.

How to Use Interferon Alfa-2a Properly

Interferon alfa-2a should only be injected by a doctor or medical personnel under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital. Follow the suggestions and recommendations while undergoing therapy using interferon alpha-2a.

Drink plenty of water while undergoing treatment with interferon alpha-2a to prevent unwanted side effects.

Make sure to carry out the control according to the schedule given by the doctor. While undergoing treatment with interferon alfa-2a, you need to check your blood pressure, complete blood count, or check indicators of blood clotting factors, such as INR, regularly.

Do not stop taking treatment with interferon alfa-2a without consulting your doctor first. Stopping the drug suddenly can make the condition more difficult to treat.

Interferon Alpha-2a Interactions with Other Drugs

There are several drug interaction effects that can occur when interferon alpha-2a is used with other drugs, namely:

  • Increased levels of theophylline in the blood, which can cause side effects
  • Increased myelosuppressive effect thereby increasing the risk of developing serious and severe infections when used with zidovudine , cladribine, or clozapine
  • Increased risk of kidney failure when used with interleukin-2
  • Increased risk of impaired cardiac function and rhabdomyolysis when used with aldesleukin
  • Increased risk of inflammation of the pancreas when used with bexarotene
  • Increased risk of seizures when used with bupropion
  • Increased risk of liver damage when used with eltrombopag
  • Increased risk of nerve damage when used with telbivudine

Side Effects and Dangers of Interferon Alfa-2a

Side effects that may arise after using interferon alpha-2a are:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Stomach pain or loss of appetite
  • Back pain
  • Dizzy
  • Dry mouth
  • Changes in the sense of taste
  • Flu symptoms, which are characterized by fever, fatigue, muscle aches
  • Temporary hair loss

Check with your doctor if the side effects above continue or get worse. You should also see a doctor immediately if an allergic drug reaction occurs or more serious side effects occur, such as:

  • Chest pain , fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent thirst and the urge to urinate constantly
  • Menstrual cycle disorders, including no or irregular periods
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Swelling of the face, hands or feet
  • Sleep disorders
  • Visual disturbances, such as blurred vision
  • Easy bruising
  • Liver disorders, which are characterized by right-sided abdominal pain, dark urine, yellow eyes or skin
  • Sore throat or fever that doesn't get better
  • Depression or thoughts of suicide
  • Seizures or weakness on one side of the body


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