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Filgrastim (Neupogen®)

Filgrastim

Brand Name: Neupogen®

Filgrastim is used to reduce the risk of infection during chemotherapy treatment for some cancers, for patients who are undergoing a bone marrow transplant, or to help prepare for certain cancer treatments, such as leukapheresis (separating white blood cells from the rest of the blood) either during chemotherapy or for a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.

Filgrastim is in a class of drugs called colony-stimulating factors, or CSFs. Sometimes, chemotherapy can lead to a decrease in the number of neutrophils in the body. These white blood cells help fight infection, and the decreased number can leave patients at risk for serious illness. CSFs stimulate the production of neutrophils, leaving the body better able to fight any infections.

For patients who will be treated with leukapheresis, a process where certain blood cells are removed from the body and then returned after chemotherapy, filgrastim may be given before treatment to help reduce the risk of infection during the procedure. For patients receiving a bone marrow transplant, filgrastim may aid with the process of bone marrow infusion. During a peripheral blood stem cell transplant, filgrastim may be used to stimulate the production of white blood cells that can be collected from the body.

This medication is given as an injection under the skin or into a vein. Usually, filgrastim is given once daily. The first dose is usually given about a day or so after chemotherapy, and typically the treatment lasts for up to 2 weeks. The exact dose and schedule depends on the condition being treated, how well the body responds to treatment, and other factors. For patients receiving a bone marrow transplantation, filgrastim is given about 24 hours after chemotherapy and about 24 hours after the bone marrow is infused. For patients going through leukapheresis, filgrastim is given about 4 days before treatment begins.

Filgrastim side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between filgrastim and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had chronic myeloid leukemia, myelodysplasia, an enlarged spleen, sickle cell disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, liver tumor, liver disease, or kidney disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. If you have surgery or dental work during treatment, be sure to tell your surgeon or dentist that you are receiving filgrastim.

Possible side effects of filgrastim may include:

  • Redness, swelling, bruising, itching, or a lump at the injection site
  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Nosebleeds

Some of filgrastim’s side effects can be serious. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Pain in the left upper part of the stomach or tip of left shoulder
  • Fever
  • Fast breathing, difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hives, rash, itching
  • Swelling around the mouth or eye
  • Unusual bruising or purple markings under the skin

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of filgrastim with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Filgrastim for cancer treatment

Filgrastim is approved by the FDA for the treatment of:

  • Neutropenia, a condition characterized by a low number of white blood cells. This condition can result from cancer chemotherapy or other treatments and increases the risk of serious infections.
  • To stimulate the bone marrow to produce white blood cells and release them into the blood stream, for collection during a peripheral blood stem cell transplant

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.

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