Prescription onlyClass: Hematopoietic

Neulasta 

(pegfilgrastim)

Prescription onlyClass: Hematopoietic
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Prevents infection during chemotherapy.

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Our bottom line

Neulasta can lower your risk of infection during chemotherapy, and the injections are less frequent than some alternatives.

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Upsides

  • Neulasta has a longer duration of effect compared to a similar medicine, Neupogen. It's a larger molecule so it stays in the body longer and is slowly removed by the kidney.
  • Only needs to be given once with each chemotherapy cycle compared to daily injections.
  • Studies show less people who took Neulasta had fever with low white blood cell count (neutropenia) compared to people who didn't take it initially. They went to the hospital less and needed less intravenous medicine to fight infections.
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Downsides

  • If you decide not to self-inject and don't have someone to do it for you, you'll need to have your doctor or trained medical staff give you each dose.
  • You'll need to properly dispose of the needle and syringe in a special (FDA-approved) sharps container.
How it works

Neulasta is a colony-stimulating factor (blood cell booster) that's similar to a protein your body makes naturally. It works to boost the number of certain white blood cells called neutrophils and makes them grow faster. Neutrophils help your body fight infection.

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Side effect rates for Neulasta (pegfilgrastim)

Risks and Warnings for Neulasta (pegfilgrastim)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Allergy to filgrastim

    Neulasta (Pegfilgrastim) has been reported to cause hypersensitivity reactions (severe rash, trouble breathing) and angioedema (life-threatening condition with swelling with or without hives). Most cases happened right away, but it can happen days after you stop the medicine even if you were treated with anti-allergy medicine. If you notice these symptoms after your injection or days later, call your doctor and get medical care right away.

Common concerns from people taking Neulasta (pegfilgrastim)

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Pregnancy
Kidneys and liver
  • Neulasta has a longer duration of effect compared to a similar medicine, Neupogen. It's a larger molecule so it stays in the body longer and is slowly removed by the kidney.
Pain
  • Pain or redness in the area of injection is common. Let your doctor know if you notice a lump, swelling, or bruising that doesn't go away.
  • Most common side effect is aches/pain in your muscles and bones. Take Tylenol or other non-aspirin pain reliever.