Pegintron (Peginterferon Alfa 2B) and/or alternatives
No Generic Alternative.
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General Information on Pegintron
Pegintron is indicated for treating patients with hepatitis C, usually in combination with ribavirin therapy. The drug belongs to the category of pegylated interferon and its generic name is peginterferon alfa-2b. It works by facilitating proliferation of B cells, thus helping in increasing production of the antibodies. In this way, B cells are allowed to inform the immune system about foreign antigens present inside the body. You can buy Pegintron in the form of injections. It is only meant for patients more than 3 years old.
Side Effects for Pegintron
Some mild effects of the drug include dizziness, tiredness, headache, muscle or joint pain, nausea, loss of appetite, dry mouth, weight loss, insomnia, feelings of anxiety, depression or irritability and redness, pain, irritation or swelling at the injection site. Most of these side effects are harmless and get better on their own within a few days, but if any of these become intolerable, you should immediately inform your doctor about the symptoms. You should also contact your doctor if you experience any of the serious or rare side effects of the drug, which include severe anxiety or depression, suicidal thoughts, vision problems, unusual weakness, high fever with bloody diarrhea and stomach pain, shortness of breath, uneven heart rate, chest pain, sudden weakness or numbness, problems with speech, vision or balance or worsening liver symptoms like jaundice, dark urine or upper stomach pain.
Your doctor will not advise you to buy Pegintron if you have liver failure, kidney disease, autoimmune hepatitis or hemoglobin blood cells disorder like thalassemia or sickle cell anemia. You should also inform your doctor if you are suffering from a kidney, heart or lung disease, thyroid disorder, hepatitis B, uncontrolled diabetes, cancer, HIV, AIDS, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, any gum disease or dental problem or if you have a history of stroke, heart attack, depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol addiction or organ transplant. The medicine can prove to be harmful for the unborn baby and therefore, you should not use it during pregnancy.
Pegintron injection is given to the patient subcutaneously. Pegintron 1.5mcg/kg/week is given in combination with Rebetol, to an adult patient and Pegintron 60mcg/m2/week is given to a child. As monotherapy, Pegintron 1mcg/kg/week is administered to a patient subcutaneously, usually for a period of one year. The injection is given at same day of each week and the amount of the medicine depends on the patient’s body weight, medical condition and response to the treatment.
Your doctor will not recommend you to buy Pegintron if you are already taking blood thinners like warfarin, ADHD medications like Ritalin, antidepressants, anti-psychotic medicines, cancer medications like doxorubicin or tamoxifen, cough medicines, oral diabetes medicines, blood pressure or heart medications like captopril or labetalol, HIV or AIDS medicines, sulfa drugs like bactrim or gantanol, medicines used for preventing rejection of organ transplants and medicines like rifampin, voriconazole, methadone and fosphenytoin. You should also inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicinal products at present, including prescription drugs, non-prescription medications, herbal products and health supplements.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.