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From facing a bill of $390 for some medication, just one medication, my husband was able to get it for $18.95. We couldn't believe it, we thought it was a joke! I thought it was a scam! ... We're currently saving about $600 a month just on 4 different medications. That makes a huge difference. — Rebecca
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Aldesleukin is used to treat advanced forms of kidney or skin cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body). This medication is the same as a substance that your body normally makes (interleukin-2). In the body, this drug is thought to work by affecting the body's natural defenses (immune system). This effect slows or stops cancer cell growth.
This medication is given by injection into a vein over 15 minutes by a health care professional. It may also be given in other ways as directed by your doctor.
This medication is usually given every 8 hours for 5 days in a row. However, your doctor may decide to delay or stop your treatment depending on how you respond to this drug. After this treatment period, you will be given time to rest and recover before getting more of this medication. A course of therapy may include up to 28 doses of this medication. To make sure that you receive each scheduled dose as directed, it is important to keep all of your medical appointments while receiving this medication. Depending on your response, your doctor may decide that a second course would be helpful.
Dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, response to treatment, and your side effects.
See also Warning section.
Fever, chills, stomach upset, dry skin, muscle stiffness, diarrhea, mouth sores, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite may occur. Nausea and vomiting can be severe. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent or relieve nausea and vomiting. Eating several small meals, not eating before treatment, or limiting activity may help lessen some of these effects. If these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
People using this medication may have serious side effects. However, your doctor has prescribed this drug because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Careful monitoring by your doctor may decrease your risk.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: swollen belly, muscle pain/weakness, confusion, difficulty speaking, trouble walking, vision changes (including temporary blindness), mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, agitation, hallucinations), unusual bleeding/bruising, thirst, flushing, rapid breathing, symptoms of heart failure (such as shortness of breath, swelling ankles/feet, unusual tiredness, unusual/sudden weight gain).
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: fast heartbeat, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Seek immediate medical attention if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: chest/jaw/left arm pain, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
See also Warning section.
Before using aldesleukin, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: kidney problems, heart disease (e.g., fast/irregular heartbeat, recent heart attack, angina), liver disease, lung disease, stomach problems (e.g., ischemic bowel, perforation, bleeding ulcers), high levels of calcium (hypercalcemia), history of organ transplant, seizures.
This medication may worsen certain types of immune system disorders (autoimmune and inflammatory type). Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any of the following disorders: a certain bowel disease (Crohn's disease), a certain connective tissue disease (scleroderma), thyroid disorders, arthritis, diabetes, a certain muscle/nerve disease (myasthenia gravis), a certain kidney disorder (glomerulonephritis), gallbladder problems (cholecystitis), a certain disease of blood vessels in the brain (cerebral vasculitis).
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
If you are scheduled to have any X-ray or scanning procedure using injectable dye (e.g., iodinated contrast), tell your doctor that you are using this medication.
Kidney function declines as you grow older. This medication is removed by the kidneys. Therefore, elderly people may be at a greater risk for kidney effects or shortness of breath while using this drug.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Women who may become pregnant should use an effective form of birth control while using this medication. Discuss the use of birth control and the risks and benefits of using this medication with your doctor.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of possible harm to a nursing infant, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this medication. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital and will not be stored at home.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug are: blood pressure drugs (e.g., beta blockers such as metoprolol), corticosteroids (e.g., hydrocortisone, methylprednisolone, prednisone), interferon alfa, tamoxifen, drugs that can cause kidney problems (e.g., indomethacin, aminoglycosides such as gentamicin), other anti-cancer medication (e.g., asparaginase, cisplatin, dacarbazine, methotrexate).
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana, drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor to establish a new dosing schedule.
Because there may be breaks in treatment, it is important to keep all medical/infusion appointments.
Your doctor should check your heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and mental state before you start treatment with this medication. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., complete blood counts, kidney/liver/lung function, chest X-ray, blood pressure, pulse, mental status, weight, urine output) should also be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Selected from the Licensed Solutions data included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data provider and is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.