Aldesleukin (Injection)


Aldesleukin (al-des-LOO-kin)

Treats advanced kidney cancer and skin cancer. This medicine is also called interleukin-2 or IL-2.

Brand Name(s)


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not receive this medicine if you have had an unusual or allergic reaction to aldesleukin or interleukin-2. This medicine should not be given to patients with severe heart, liver, kidney, nerve, lung, or stomach problems. You should not receive this medicine if you have an abnormal thallium stress test, abnormal pulmonary function test, or organ allografts.

How to Use This Medicine


  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • This medicine may change the way many other medicines work. Some of these are medicines to treat pain, nausea, and anxiety. Give your doctor a list of all the medicines you take, including those you get without a prescription.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you use asparaginase (Elspar®), indomethacin (Indocin®), methotrexate (Folex®, Rheumatrex®), certain medicine to treat an infection (such as amikacin, gentamicin, streptomycin, Amidin®, or Garamycin®), other cancer medicines (such as cisplatin, dacarbazine, doxorubicin, interferon-alfa, tamoxifen, Adriamycin®, Nolvadex®, or Platinol®), or steroid medicines (such as glucocorticoids). Tell your doctor if you also use certain blood pressure medicines, such as atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, timolol, or Toprol®.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding or if you have kidney problems, liver disease, Crohn disease, diabetes, eye problems, gallbladder problems, high calcium in the blood, low blood pressure, seizures, a thyroid disorder, any infections, or an autoimmune disorders (such as arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma).
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Capillary leak syndrome (CLS) may occur immediately after you receive this medicine. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and pulse rate frequently to check for low blood pressure (hypotension).
  • Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms that concern you such as unusual drowsiness, tiredness, or weakness or changes in mood or behavior, such as irritability, confusion, or depression after you receive the medicine. These could be signs of serious reactions to this medicine.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood or urine at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.Chest X-rays and certain laboratory tests will be needed before you receive this medicine and to check for side effects.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash
  • Blood in your stools or vomit
  • Chest pain or fast or uneven heartbeat
  • Confusion, irritability, or depressed mood
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate or painful urination
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Loss of appetite or stomach pain
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, tiredness, or weakness
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: September 18, 2013

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