Disease Information & Support


The Word:


Generic name Interferon alfa-2a
Pronunciation in-ter-FEER-on AL-fa-too-ay
Brand name(s), other common name(s) Roferon®-A
Drug type  Immunomodulator
How the drug is given Intramuscular (IM) or subcutaneous (SC) injection

Interferons are substances naturally produced by cells in the body to help fight infections and tumors. They may also be synthetic versions of these substances. Interferon alfa-2a is FDA approved to treat people who have hairy cell leukemia and Philadelphia chromosome positive chronic myeloid leukemia who are minimally pretreated (within 1 year of diagnosis). It may cause a temporary loss of hair. After treatment has ended, normal hair growth should return.

Side effects needing medical attention: Depression, anxiety or other mental changes; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; chest pain; numbness or tingling in fingers, toes or face; rapid heartbeat with or without fever; rash; dizziness; flulike symptoms (such as fever, fatigue, muscle, joint or bone pain, headache, chills); sweating; cough; sore throat; swelling of feet or ankles; difficulty walking; unusual tiredness or fatigue; loss of appetite; changes in taste; nausea and vomiting; weight loss; diarrhea or stomach pain.


For information on how to manage the costs of drug therapy, please see Financial Matters and Prescription Drug Coverage, or to speak with an Information Specialist, call (800) 955-4572.

last updated on Monday, October 15, 2012