Filgrastim (Injection)

Introduction

Filgrastim (fil-GRA-stim)

Helps your body make white blood cells. This will help prevent infections during cancer treatments (chemotherapy).

Brand Name(s)

Neupogen

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to filgrastim, or any other medicine made from E. coli (Escherichia coli) such as pegfilgrastim (Neulasta®). You should not receive this medicine within 24 hours (1 day) before and after you receive chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given as a shot under your skin or into a vein.
  • This medicine can be used for several different reasons, so there are different schedules for using it. Make sure you understand your personal schedule.
  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • This medicine comes with patient instructions. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
  • You may be taught how to give your medicine at home. Make sure you understand all instructions before giving yourself an injection. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You will be shown the body areas where this shot can be given. Use a different body area each time you give yourself a shot. Keep track of where you give each shot to make sure you rotate body areas.
  • Do not shake the medicine. Use a new needle and syringe each time you inject your medicine.
  • If you use the prefilled syringe, make sure you know how to use the needle guard. After giving an injection, slide the needle guard forward over the needle until you hear a "click." The needle guard will safely cover the used needle.
  • Each syringe or vial of medicine is good for only one dose. After using one dose of medicine, discard (throw away) the syringe or vial and any leftover medicine. Do not save unused medicine from an opened vial or syringe.

If a dose is missed:

  • It is important that you receive each dose of this medicine according to schedule. Call your doctor, pharmacist, treatment clinic, or home health caregiver for instructions if you or your child miss a dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • If you store this medicine at home, keep it in the refrigerator. Do not freeze. Leave the medicine in the carton until you are ready to use it. If you accidentally freeze the medicine, let it thaw out in the refrigerator before you use it. If you accidentally freeze the medicine a second time, do not use it.
  • You may let the medicine warm up to room temperature before you use it. The medicine can stay out of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Discard any medicine that has been out of the refrigerator for more than 24 hours.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any leftover medicine, containers, and other supplies. You will also need to throw away old medicine after the expiration date has passed.
  • Throw away used needles in a hard, closed container that the needles cannot poke through. Keep this container away from children and pets.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®). Your doctor also needs to know about all other cancer or radiation treatments you are using.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have bleeding problems, bone marrow problems (such as chronic myeloid leukemia [CML], myelodysplastic syndrome), lung disease or breathing problems, a blood disorder (such as sickle cell disease), or a skin disorder called cutaneous vasculitis.
  • Tell your doctor if you or your child are allergic to rubber. The needle cover of the prefilled syringe contains dry natural rubber (a derivative of latex), which may cause an allergic reaction if you have a latex allergy.
  • This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash; itching skin; dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; trouble breathing; or chest pain after you receive the medicine.
  • Check with your doctor right away if you or your child are having a pain in the upper left part of your abdomen (stomach) or at the tip of the left shoulder. This could be a symptom of a serious side effect with the spleen.
  • Stop using this medicine and check with your doctor right away if you or your child develop fever, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, trouble with breathing, or wheezing. These could be symptoms of a serious lung condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
  • This medicine may also cause bleeding in your lungs. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child cough up blood or if you have blood in your sputum (spit).
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.
  • If you think you have an infection, tell your doctor right away. Some signs of an infection are fever, chills, tiredness, weakness, or sore throat.
  • You or your child should not receive this medicine within 24 hours (1 day) before and after you receive cancer medicines or radiation treatments.

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
  • Blue lips or fingernails.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Pain in your left side or shoulder, or feeling unusually full.
  • Red or dark brown urine.
  • Skin blisters, small red or purple spots on your skin.
  • Slow or shallow breathing, or coughing up blood.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

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

  • Bone, joint, or muscle pain.
  • Hair loss.
  • Headache.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting.
  • Pain, redness, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle was placed.
  • Skin rash or itching.

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: June 18, 2013

         
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