When You Start Chemotherapy, Start Strong
Help support your natural defenses with Neulasta®Chemotherapy (also known as chemo) works by killing fast-growing cancer cells. Unfortunately, chemo can’t tell the difference between cancer cells and fast-growing healthy cells, including red and white blood cells. As a result, one of the most serious potential side effects of some types of chemotherapy is a low white blood cell count.1 Chemo that causes this side effect is described as myelosuppressive (my-eh-low-suh-PRESS-iv), because it suppresses your production of white blood cells. A low white blood cell count—also known as neutropenia (new-tro-pee-nee-uh)—can place some patients at risk for infections and interruptions in cancer treatment.1,2 Neulasta® is a white blood cell booster to help support your natural defenses and help reduce the risk of infection in patients with some tumors receiving strong chemotherapy.
Learn more about the relationship between on-schedule chemotherapy andlow white blood cell counts.
What is Neulasta®?Neulasta® is a prescription medicine called a white cell booster that helps reduce the risk of infection (initially marked by fever) in patients with some tumors receiving strong chemotherapy that decreases the number of infection-fighting white blood cells. A sufficient white blood cell count may enable your doctors to administer chemotherapy according to their treatment schedule.
With the help of a white cell booster, you can help maintain a sufficient white blood cell count. Most doctors agree that sticking to the planned chemotherapy schedule may be the first step to success.2-10 Studies have proven the effectiveness of Neulasta® in helping to protect chemotherapy patients against infection due to a low white blood cell count.11-13
- An improvement in your white blood cell counts will show that Neulasta®is doing its job.
- Neulasta® helps provide protection with just 1 injection per cycle of chemotherapy. It is given 24 hours after chemotherapy is administered. Neulasta® is for people with some tumors—solid tumors andlymphomas, for example.11
Important Safety InformationWho should not take Neulasta®?
Do not take Neulasta® if you have had an allergic reaction to Neulasta®(pegfilgrastim) or to NEUPOGEN® (Filgrastim).
What should I tell my health care provider before taking Neulasta®?
If you have a sickle cell disorder, make sure your doctor knows about it before using Neulasta®.
What are possible serious side effects of Neulasta®?
- Spleen Rupture. Your spleen may become enlarged and can rupture while taking Neulasta®. A ruptured spleen can cause death. The spleen is located in the upper left section of your stomach area. Call your doctor right away if you have pain in the left upper stomach area or left shoulder tip area. This pain could mean your spleen is enlarged or ruptured.
- A serious lung problem called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Call your doctor or seek emergency care right away if you have shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or a fast rate of breathing.
- Serious Allergic Reactions. Neulasta® can cause serious allergic reactions. These reactions can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness, swelling around the mouth or eyes, fast pulse, sweating, and hives. If you start to have any of these symptoms, call your doctor or seek emergency care right away. If you have an allergic reaction during the injection of Neulasta®, stop the injection. Call your doctor right away.
- Sickle Cell Crises. You may have a serious sickle cell crisis if you have a sickle cell disorder and take Neulasta®. Serious and sometimes fatal sickle cell crises can occur in patients with sickle cell disorders receiving Filgrastim, a medicine similar to Neulasta®. Call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of sickle cell crisis such as pain or difficulty breathing.
The most common side effect you may experience is aching in the bones and muscles. If this happens, it can usually be relieved with a nonaspirin pain reliever, such as acetaminophen.
What important information do I need to know about receiving Neulasta®?
- Occasionally pain and redness may occur at the injection site. If there is a lump, swelling, or bruising at the injection site that does not go away, talk to the doctor.
- Neulasta® should only be injected on the day the doctor has determined and should not be injected until approximately 24 hours after receiving chemotherapy.
- The needle cover on the single-use prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (latex), which should not be handled by persons sensitive to this substance.