Disease Information & Support


The Word:


Generic name Interferon alfa-2b
Pronunciation in-ter-FEER-on AL-fa-too-bee
Brand name(s), other common name(s) Intron® 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-2b is FDA approved to treat people who have hairy cell leukemia and aggressive follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Interferon may cause a temporary loss of hair. After treatment has ended, normal hair growth should return.

Side effects needing medical attention: Rapid heartbeat; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; chest pain; depression; flulike symptoms (such as high fever, fatigue, muscle, joint or bone pain, headache, chills); rash; sweating; dizziness; numbness or tingling in fingers and toes; cough; sore throat; confusion; anxiety; muscle weakness; loss of appetite; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; stomach pain; weight loss; changes in taste; dry mouth; increased thirst. Treatment with interferons may be associated with exacerbated symptoms of psychiatric disorders in patients with co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders.


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 Friday, April 12, 2013