Aldesleukin injection must be administered in a hospital or other healthcare institution under the direction of a physician with training in administering chemotherapy drugs for cancer.
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. Before and throughout your treatment, your doctor may conduct various tests to determine whether it is safe for you to have an aldesleukin injection and to monitor how your body is responding to the injection.
Aldesleukin can result in a serious and potentially fatal reaction known as capillary leak syndrome, which causes the body to retain extra fluid, low blood pressure, and low amounts of a protein called albumin in the blood. This illness can harm your heart, lungs, kidneys, and digestive system. Capillary leak syndrome may develop right away after receiving aldesleukin. Tell your doctor right away if you suffer any of the following symptoms: Weight gain, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, woozy or lightheadedness, confusion, swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, swelling of the feet, ankles, or lower legs, or swelling of the hands, feet, or ankles.
White blood cell counts in the blood may drop as a result of aldesleukin. The likelihood that you’ll get a serious illness may rise if your body’s white blood cell count drops. Inform your doctor right away if you suffer any of the following signs of infection: fever, chills, sore throat, cough, frequent or painful urination, or other symptoms.
Aldesleukin has the potential to damage the neural system and induce coma. Inform your physician right once if you have any of the following signs or symptoms: excessive fatigue or drowsiness.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC, a form of cancer that starts in the kidney) that has spread to other areas of your body is treated with aldesleukin. Melanoma, a form of skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, is similarly treated with aldesleukin. Aldesleukin belongs to the group of medicines known as cytokines. It is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring protein that prompts the body to manufacture more molecules that strengthen the body’s defences against cancer.
How should this medicine be used?
In a hospital, a doctor or nurse will combine powder with liquid to administer aldesleukin intravenously (into a vein) over the course of 15 minutes. Typically, it is injected for five days straight, every eight hours (a total of 14 injections). After nine days, this cycle can be repeated. How well your body responds to treatment will determine how long the treatment will last.
In the event that you encounter certain adverse effects, your doctor may decide to postpone or permanently terminate your therapy. Throughout the course of your aldesleukin treatment, you will be closely watched. It is crucial that you communicate your feelings to your doctor during your aldesleukin treatment.
Other uses for this medicine
Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving aldesleukin,
- If you have an allergy to aldesleukin, any other drugs, or any of the ingredients in aldesleukin injection, let your doctor and pharmacist know right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
- Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any additional prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Make sure you bring up any of the following: Beta blockers such atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne), and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard) and propranolol (Inderal); a number of cancer chemotherapy drugs, including asparaginase (Elspar), cisplatin (Platinol), dacarbazine (DTIC-dome), doxorubicin (Doxil), interferon-alfa (Pegasys, PEG-Intron), methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall), and tamoxifen (Nolvadex); medications for high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, narcotics and other painkillers, sedatives, sleep aids, and tranquillizers. There are also steroids like dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone), as well as steroid creams, lotions, or ointments like hydrocortisone (Cortizone, Westcort). Additionally, let your doctor and pharmacist know what you are taking so they can check to see if any of your drugs could enhance the likelihood that you will experience renal or liver damage while receiving aldesleukin therapy.
- If you have ever experienced seizures, GI bleeding that required surgical intervention, or other severe GI, heart, nervous system, or renal issues after receiving aldesleukin, or if you have ever undergone an organ transplant, be sure to let your doctor know (surgery to replace an organ in the body). You might not be prescribed aldesleukin by your doctor.
- If you have or have had had seizures, Crohn’s disease, scleroderma (a condition that affects the tissues that support the skin and internal organs), thyroid illness, arthritis, diabetes, myasthenia gravis (a condition that weakens muscles), or cholecystitis, let your doctor know (inflammation of the gall bladder that causes severe pain).
- If you are or plan to become pregnant, or if you are nursing a baby, let your doctor know. Call your doctor right away if you fall pregnant while taking aldesleukin. While taking aldesleukin, you shouldn’t breastfeed.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Aldesleukin could have undesirable effects. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Reduced appetite
- In the mouth and throat sores
- Feeling ill generally
- Redness or pain where the shot was administered
Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or any of those in the IMPORTANT WARNING section:
- Chest pain
- Extreme anxiety
- Unusual elation or agitation
- Developing or deepening depression
- Hearing voices or perceiving nonexistent objects (hallucinating)
- Alterations to your speech or vision
- Inability to coordinate
- Decreased vigilance
- Abnormal bleeding or bruising
- Extreme drowsiness or fatigue
- Having trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain
- Skin or eyes turning yellow
- Less urinations
- Breathing or swallowing challenges
Other negative effects of aldesleukin are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
Overdose signs could include the following:
- Rapid or erratic heartbeat
- Less urinations
- Face, arm, hand, foot, ankle, or lower leg swelling
- Unusual weakness or fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Vomit that is reddish-colored or resembles coffee grounds
- Stool with blood in it
- Seats that are dark and tarry
What other information should I know?
Inform the physician that you are receiving aldesleukin therapy if you are having x-rays.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.