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The eMC  

Last Updated 28 Mar 2014

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Roferon-A 9million units/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes

Roferon-A (Roh-feer-ron-A) is a medicine which is used in a number of conditions. Roferon-A contains interferon alfa-2a (rbe). It is supplied by Roche Products Limited.

The information in this Medicine Guide for Roferon-A varies according to the condition being treated and the particular preparation used.

There are 4 preparations of Roferon-A available. If Roferon-A 9million units/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes is not the preparation you are looking for, please select from the drop down list below.

Select your preparation (type) of Roferon-A

Roferon-A 9million units/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes

Information specific to Roferon-A 9million units/0.5ml solution for injection pre-filled syringes when used in Kidney cancers

Your medicine

Roferon-A is a form of a natural chemical called interferon which is found in the body. Interferon is one of the chemicals in the body which helps the immune system to work properly. Roferon-A works by protecting cells against viral infections or by killing cells infected with viruses. It can also kill certain types of cancer cells.

Roferon-A is used to treat many types of cancer including leukaemia, lymphoma, Kaposi's sarcoma and kidney cancer. It is also used to treat hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection. Roferon-A may be used in combination with other medicines to treat some of these conditions.

Some people who have Roferon-A may develop depression. If you have any signs or symptoms of depression you must immediately contact your prescriber.

Other information about Roferon-A:

  • people starting treatment with this form of this medicine will normally be prescribed a low dose. The dose will then be gradually increased

Roferon-A needs to be injected. Your prescriber will show you how to inject this medicine yourself.

There should also be instructions on how to inject this medicine in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine or on the pharmacy label.

The pharmacy label on your medicine tells you how much medicine you should have. It also tells you how often you should have your medicine. This is the dose that you and your prescriber have agreed you should have. You should not change the dose of your medicine unless you are told to do so by your prescriber.

Do not share your medicine with other people. It may not be suitable for them and may harm them.

If you feel that the medicine is making you unwell or you do not think it is working, then talk to your prescriber.

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When to take your medicine

Some medicines work best if they are taken at a specific time of day. If someone is giving you this injection, the person with responsibility for giving you your medicine will make sure that you have your medicine at the prescribed times.

If you are injecting this medicine yourself, make sure that you find out from your prescriber the best time to have Roferon-A.

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How to take your medicine

This medicine needs to be injected. Your prescriber may give you your injections or you may be shown how to inject the medicine yourself. If you are injecting this medicine yourself, follow the instructions from your prescriber and the information on the pharmacy label. There should also be further information in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • should be injected under the skin

If you have any concerns about this medicine or about the process of having it you should talk to someone who is involved in your medical care.

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Taking too much of your medicine

Taking extra doses of some medicines can be harmful. In some cases even one extra dose can cause you problems.

The person who is responsible for giving you your medicine will make sure that you are given the correct dose of your medicine. If you inject the medicine yourself, make sure that you do not take any extra doses as this could cause you problems. If you take extra doses of your medicine, you must get medical advice immediately. You may need a test to assess the effect of taking extra doses. This is because the effects of taking too much medicine are very complex so it is very important that you seek medical advice.

Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111 for advice.

Make sure you take all of your medicine containers with you if you are advised to go to hospital.

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Stopping your medicine

If you are having any problems having your medicine you must speak to your prescriber. If you are not having any problems having this medicine then do not stop having it, even if you feel better, unless advised to do so by your prescriber.

If you are in any doubt, contact your prescriber, pharmacist, specialist clinic or call 111.

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Looking after your medicine

If you are injecting this medicine yourself, read the pharmacy label to find out how you should look after your medicine. It is a good idea to keep your medicine in the original container. This will help to keep your medicine in the best condition and also allow you to check the instructions.

Do not use the medicine if the packaging appears to have been tampered with or if the medicine shows any signs of damage. Specific information about how to look after Roferon-A can be found in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with this medicine. Make sure that the medicine is out of the sight and reach of children.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • store in a fridge at temperatures between 2-8°C
  • you must not freeze this medicine
  • you must dispose of this medicine after a single use
  • store the medicine in the outer carton to protect it from light

Do not use the medicine after the expiry date shown on the packaging. If you have any unused medicine, return it to your pharmacist who will dispose of it safely.

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Whether this medicine is suitable for you

Roferon-A is not suitable for everyone and some people should never use it. Other people should only use it with special care. It is important that the person prescribing this medicine knows your full medical history.

Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:

Furthermore the prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all for a premature baby, an infant or a child who is under three years of age.

As part of the process of assessing suitability to take this medicine a prescriber may also arrange tests:

  • to determine whether or not the medicine is suitable and whether it must be prescribed with extra care
  • to check that this medicine is not having any undesired effects

Over time it is possible that Roferon-A can become unsuitable for some people, or they may become unsuitable for it. If at any time it appears that Roferon-A has become unsuitable, it is important that the prescriber is contacted immediately.

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Side-effects

A medicine is only made available to the public if the clinical trials have shown that the benefits of taking the medicine outweigh the risks.

Once a medicine has been licensed, information on the medicine's effects, both intended and unintended, is continuously recorded and updated.

Some side-effects may be serious while others may only be a mild inconvenience.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side-effects you will have from taking a particular medicine, or whether you will have any side-effects at all. The important thing is to tell your prescriber or pharmacist if you are having problems with your medicine.

Very common: More than 1 in 10 people who have Roferon-A

Common: More than 1 in 100 people who have Roferon-A

Uncommon: More than 1 in 1000 people who have Roferon-A

Rare: More than 1 in 10,000 people who have Roferon-A

Very rare: Fewer than 1 in 10,000 people who have Roferon-A

The frequency of these side-effects is unknown

  • benzyl alcohol poisoning - this may be fatal in children under three years of age
  • chills - this may lead to a worsening of heart problems
  • graft rejection
  • weakness

If you feel unwell or if you have concerns about a side-effect, you will need to seek advice. If you feel very ill, get medical help straight away. Contact your prescriber, pharmacist, nurse or call 111.

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Taking other medicines

If you are taking more than one medicine they may interact with each other. At times your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, in other cases this may not be appropriate.

The decision to use medicines that interact depends on your specific circumstances. Your prescriber may decide to use medicines that interact, if it is believed that the benefits of taking the medicines together outweigh the risks. In such cases, it may be necessary to alter your dose or monitor you more closely.

Tell your prescriber the names of all the medicines that you are taking so that they can consider all possible interactions. This includes all the medicines which have been prescribed by your GP, hospital doctor, dentist, nurse, health visitor, midwife or pharmacist. You must also tell your prescriber about medicines which you have bought over the counter without prescriptions.

The following medicines may interact with Roferon-A:

The following types of medicine may interact with Roferon-A:

If you are taking Roferon-A and one of the above medicines or types of medicines, make sure your prescriber knows about it.

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Complementary preparations and vitamins

Medicines can interact with complementary preparations and vitamins. In general, there is not much information available about interactions between medicines and complementary preparations or vitamins.

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and vitamins you should ask your prescriber whether there are any known interactions with Roferon-A.

Your prescriber can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and vitamins may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and vitamins, you should tell your prescriber.

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Driving and operating machinery

When taking any medicine you should be aware that it might interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery safely.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • this medicine could affect your ability to drive or operate machinery

You should see how this medicine affects you before you judge whether you are safe to drive or operate machinery. If you are in any doubt about whether you should drive or operate machinery, talk to your prescriber.

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Diet

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your prescriber may advise you to avoid certain foods.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when having Roferon-A
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Alcohol

Alcohol can interact with certain medicines.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • there are no known interactions between alcohol and Roferon-A
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Family planning and pregnancy

Most medicines, in some way, can affect the development of a baby in the womb. The effect on the baby differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • you should only have this medicine during pregnancy if your doctor thinks that you need it
  • if you are taking Roferon-A and you could become pregnant or father a child, you must use effective contraception or abstain from penetrative sex

You need to discuss your specific circumstances with your doctor to weigh up the overall risks and benefits of taking this medicine. You and your doctor can make a decision about whether you are going to take this medicine during pregnancy.

If the decision is that you should not have Roferon-A, then you should discuss whether there is an alternative medicine that you could take during pregnancy.

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Breast-feeding

Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Roferon-A:

  • it is not known whether this medicine passes into breast milk

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. They will help you decide what is best for you and your baby based on the benefits and risks associated with this medicine. You should only breast-feed your baby while taking this medicine on the advice of your doctor or midwife.

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Ingredients of your medicine

Medicines contain active ingredients. They may also contain other, additional ingredients that help ensure the stability, safety and effectiveness of the medicine. Some may be used to prolong the life of the medicine.

Roferon-A contains:

If you are not able to take any of the ingredients in your medicine, talk to your prescriber or pharmacist to see if they can suggest an alternative medicine. If you have reacted badly to Roferon-A before, do not have Roferon-A. Talk to your prescriber, pharmacist or nurse as soon as possible.

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Roferon-A, Version 8, last updated 28 Mar 2014