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Difelikefalin Injection

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Difelikefalin injection is prescribed to relieve pain in adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who are on hemodialysis and experiencing itching (pruritus) as a result. It belongs to a class of medications called Kappa opioid receptor agonists, which work by targeting specific receptors in the body to alleviate pain and itching.

How should this medicine be used?

Difelikefalin belongs to a class of medications called kappa-opioid receptor agonists. It works by activating specific receptors in the body, which helps to alleviate the sensation of itching.

The injection is typically administered intravenously (into a vein) by a healthcare professional, usually during hemodialysis sessions. The dosage and frequency of administration will be determined by your healthcare provider based on your individual condition and response to treatment.

It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully regarding the use of Difelikefalin Injection and to not exceed the prescribed dosage. If you have any questions or concerns about the medication, be sure to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Additionally, inform your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking to avoid potential interactions.

Other uses for this medicine

Aside from its primary use in treating itching (pruritus) associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults undergoing hemodialysis, Difelikefalin injection does not have other established uses. However, healthcare providers may occasionally prescribe it for off-label uses, meaning uses not approved by regulatory authorities but based on their clinical judgment and research findings.

What special precautions should I follow?

As for special precautions, here are some key points to keep in mind when using Difelikefalin Injection:

  • Allergies: Inform your healthcare provider if you have any allergies, especially to opioids or any other medications.
  • Medical History: Discuss your medical history with your healthcare provider, particularly if you have a history of substance abuse, liver disease, or any other medical conditions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the potential risks and benefits of using Difelikefalin Injection with your healthcare provider.
  • Driving and Operating Machinery: Difelikefalin Injection may cause dizziness or drowsiness in some individuals. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Potential Interactions: Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are taking, as they may interact with Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Dosage: Use Difelikefalin Injection exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not exceed the recommended dosage, as this can increase the risk of side effects.
  • Monitoring: Your healthcare provider may monitor your response to Difelikefalin Injection and adjust your dosage as needed.
  • Storage: Follow the storage instructions provided with the medication, and keep it out of reach of children.

Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about using Difelikefalin Injection, and never hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience any unexpected side effects or adverse reactions.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

There are no specific dietary instructions associated with Difelikefalin Injection. However, maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated as recommended by your healthcare provider is important for overall health, especially if you are undergoing hemodialysis.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget a dose of Difelikefalin Injection, contact your healthcare provider or the healthcare facility where you receive treatment for guidance. It’s important not to double the dose to make up for the missed one, as this can increase the risk of side effects.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Like any medication, Difelikefalin Injection can cause side effects, although not everyone will experience them. It’s essential to be aware of potential side effects and to promptly inform your healthcare provider if you experience any adverse reactions. Common side effects of Difelikefalin Injection may include:

  • Nausea: Some individuals may experience feelings of nausea after receiving Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting may occur as a side effect of Difelikefalin Injection in some patients.
  • Dizziness: Dizziness is a possible side effect of Difelikefalin Injection. This can affect balance and coordination.
  • Headache: Headaches may occur in some individuals following administration of Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired or fatigued may be experienced by some patients using Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Constipation: Constipation is another potential side effect of Difelikefalin Injection, as it is with many opioid medications.
  • Peripheral Edema: Swelling in the extremities, known as peripheral edema, may occur in some patients.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty sleeping or insomnia may occur as a side effect of Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Hypotension: Some patients may experience low blood pressure (hypotension) as a side effect of Difelikefalin Injection.
  • Pruritus: Paradoxically, itching may occur in some patients, which is an effect opposite to the medication’s intended purpose of alleviating itching.

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive, and other side effects may occur. Additionally, some individuals may experience severe or allergic reactions to Difelikefalin Injection. If you experience any concerning symptoms or side effects after receiving the injection, contact your healthcare provider or seek medical attention promptly.

Your healthcare provider can provide personalized advice and guidance on managing side effects and adjusting your treatment plan if necessary. They can also help you weigh the potential benefits of treatment with Difelikefalin against the risks of side effects.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

When it comes to the storage and disposal of Difelikefalin Injection:


  • Temperature: Store Difelikefalin Injection at room temperature, away from light and moisture.
  • Refrigeration: If necessary, Difelikefalin Injection can be refrigerated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. However, be sure to check the specific storage requirements provided with the medication.
  • Do Not Freeze: Do not freeze Difelikefalin Injection. Freezing may affect its stability and effectiveness.
  • Keep Out of Reach of Children: Store Difelikefalin Injection in a secure location, out of reach of children and pets.


  • Follow Instructions: Dispose of unused or expired Difelikefalin Injection according to local regulations and guidelines.
  • Do Not Flush: Do not flush Difelikefalin Injection down the toilet or pour it down the drain unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
  • Consult Pharmacist: If you are unsure how to properly dispose of Difelikefalin Injection, consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider for guidance.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of emergency or overdose of Difelikefalin Injection:

  • Seek Medical Attention: In case of an emergency or overdose involving Difelikefalin Injection, seek immediate medical attention by calling emergency services or visiting the nearest emergency room.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of overdose may include severe drowsiness, difficulty breathing, slow or shallow breathing, fainting, or loss of consciousness.
  • Inform Healthcare Provider: Inform healthcare providers treating the overdose about the specific medication involved, including the name (Difelikefalin Injection), dosage, and time of ingestion.

What other information should I know?

  • Follow Healthcare Provider’s Instructions: Always use Difelikefalin Injection exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change the dosage or frequency of administration without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Regular Monitoring: Your healthcare provider may monitor your response to Difelikefalin Injection and adjust your treatment plan as needed. Attend all scheduled appointments and follow-up visits.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Avoid consuming alcohol while using Difelikefalin Injection, as it may increase the risk of side effects such as dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Inform all healthcare providers involved in your care, including dentists and pharmacists, about the medications you are taking, including Difelikefalin Injection, to prevent potential drug interactions.
  • Patient Education: Educate yourself about Difelikefalin Injection, including its purpose, potential side effects, and proper administration technique. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

By following these guidelines and staying informed about Difelikefalin Injection, you can ensure its safe and effective use as part of your treatment plan.

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