PrescriptionGiant is a FREE prescription savings program that can save you up to 75% on your prescriptions with or without insurance!

Interleukin-2 (Generic Aldesleukin)

Actual product appearance may differ slightly.

Click the CARD below to print or take a screenshot on your mobile phone or tablet. There is no need to download another app!

If you would like to personalize your card enter your full name in the member name field below the card at this link and click the Update button.


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a naturally occurring protein that plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system. It is sometimes used as a medication to treat certain types of cancer, such as metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. While IL-2 therapy can be beneficial in specific cases, it also carries certain risks and potential side effects. Here are some of the risks associated with taking Interleukin-2 (IL-2):

  • Capillary leak syndrome: IL-2 can cause the walls of small blood vessels to become leaky, leading to fluid retention and swelling in various body tissues. This condition, known as capillary leak syndrome, can cause low blood pressure, organ dysfunction, and fluid overload.
  • Flu-like symptoms: IL-2 therapy often causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These symptoms are usually temporary but can be severe and require medical management.
  • Cardiovascular effects: IL-2 can have significant effects on the cardiovascular system. It may cause irregular heart rhythms, low blood pressure, and reduced cardiac function. These effects can be serious and may require close monitoring and medical intervention.
  • Pulmonary side effects: IL-2 therapy can lead to lung-related side effects, including shortness of breath, cough, and pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Severe pulmonary side effects can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention.
  • Kidney and liver toxicity: IL-2 can cause damage to the kidneys and liver. This can result in impaired organ function and may require dose adjustments or discontinuation of IL-2 therapy.
  • Immunological reactions: IL-2 can stimulate the immune system, leading to various immune-related side effects. These may include inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), rashes, and autoimmune reactions. In some cases, IL-2 therapy can trigger serious autoimmune disorders.

It’s important to note that IL-2 therapy is typically administered in a controlled medical setting, and patients undergo careful monitoring to detect and manage any potential risks or side effects. The decision to use IL-2 as a treatment option is based on a careful evaluation of the potential benefits and risks for each individual patient, considering their specific medical condition and overall health.

Why is this medication prescribed?

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a naturally occurring cytokine, a type of signaling molecule that plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system. It is primarily prescribed for its immunostimulatory properties and is used in the treatment of certain medical conditions. Here are a few reasons why IL-2 may be prescribed:

  • Cancer Immunotherapy: IL-2 is sometimes used in the treatment of certain types of cancer, such as metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. It works by stimulating the immune system, particularly certain immune cells called T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, to recognize and attack cancer cells.
  • Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Carcinoma): IL-2 can be used as a primary treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. High-dose IL-2 therapy has been shown to produce durable responses in a small percentage of patients, although it can have significant side effects and requires careful patient selection.
  • Metastatic Melanoma: IL-2 has also been used in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, a type of skin cancer. It can stimulate the immune system to target and destroy melanoma cells, leading to some long-lasting responses in a subset of patients.
  • Immunodeficiency Disorders: In some cases, IL-2 may be prescribed to individuals with certain immunodeficiency disorders, such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). IL-2 therapy can help stimulate the production and activity of immune cells, thereby improving immune function.

How should this medicine be used?

The specific dosage and administration guidelines may vary depending on the condition being treated, and it is important to follow the instructions provided by the prescribing healthcare professional. Here are some general considerations regarding the use of Interleukin-2 (IL-2):

  • Administration: IL-2 is usually administered in a hospital or clinical setting under the supervision of healthcare professionals. It is commonly given as an IV infusion, where the medication is slowly infused into a vein over a specific period. Alternatively, it can be administered as a subcutaneous injection, where the medication is injected into the fatty tissue just beneath the skin.
  • Dosage: The dosage of IL-2 can vary depending on the individual’s weight, overall health, and the specific condition being treated. The healthcare professional will determine the appropriate dosage and treatment schedule. IL-2 therapy often involves multiple treatment cycles, with periods of administration followed by rest periods for the body to recover.
  • Monitoring: During IL-2 treatment, regular monitoring is essential to assess the patient’s response to therapy and to monitor for potential side effects. This may include frequent blood tests, vital sign measurements, and imaging studies to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment and detect any adverse reactions.
  • Side Effects: IL-2 therapy can be associated with significant side effects, which can vary in severity and may differ from person to person. These can include flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue), low blood pressure, fluid retention, kidney dysfunction, liver toxicity, and changes in blood cell counts. It is important to promptly report any side effects to the healthcare provider.
  • Adherence: It is crucial to adhere to the prescribed treatment plan, including the recommended dosage, frequency, and duration of IL-2 therapy. Stopping or altering the treatment without medical guidance can compromise its effectiveness or lead to unforeseen complications.

Remember, the use of IL-2 is determined on a case-by-case basis by healthcare professionals who have experience with the specific condition being treated. They will provide detailed instructions on how to use IL-2 and closely monitor the patient’s progress throughout the treatment.

Other uses for this medicine

It primarily functions as a growth factor for certain immune cells, particularly T cells, and is primarily known for its use as a therapeutic agent in cancer immunotherapy. However, IL-2 also has other potential uses and applications. Here are a few examples:

  • Autoimmune diseases: IL-2 has been investigated for its potential use in treating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. It is believed that IL-2 can help restore immune balance by promoting regulatory T cell activity and suppressing auto-reactive immune responses.
  • Organ transplantation: IL-2 has been studied for its ability to promote immune tolerance and prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients. By enhancing the function of regulatory T cells, IL-2 may help maintain the balance between immune activation and suppression, reducing the risk of rejection.
  • Infectious diseases: IL-2 has been explored as a potential adjunctive therapy for certain viral infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. It can boost immune responses, including the activation and proliferation of virus-specific T cells, which may aid in controlling viral replication.
  • Immunodeficiency disorders: In some cases of primary immunodeficiency disorders, where the immune system is compromised, IL-2 therapy may be considered to stimulate immune cell production and function, improving immune responses.

What special precautions should I follow?

When it comes to precautions with IL-2, there are several important considerations:

  • Side effects: IL-2 treatment can cause significant side effects, including flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swelling. It can also lead to more serious complications, such as low blood pressure, fluid retention, kidney damage, and liver toxicity. Therefore, IL-2 therapy should be administered under close medical supervision.
  • Pre-existing conditions: IL-2 may be contraindicated or require careful monitoring in individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and autoimmune disorders. These conditions may increase the risk of severe adverse effects or exacerbate existing health issues.
  • Concomitant medications: Some medications can interact with IL-2, affecting its effectiveness or increasing the risk of adverse effects. It is important to inform healthcare providers about all medications, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and supplements, before starting IL-2 therapy.
  • Individualized approach: IL-2 therapy is often personalized based on a patient’s specific condition, immune response, and tolerance. Dosage, frequency, and duration of treatment may vary depending on the individual, and close monitoring is essential to ensure safety and efficacy.

It’s worth noting that the use of IL-2 for specific conditions and patient populations may still be under investigation, and decisions regarding its use should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals experienced in immunotherapy and related fields.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Since IL-2 is typically administered intravenously under medical supervision, there are no specific dietary instructions associated with its use. Consider following these general guidelines:

  • Balanced diet: Consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine: Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages as they can cause dehydration and may interact with medications.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Regarding missed doses, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider or follow the specific instructions provided by your medical team. They will be able to provide you with the most accurate and personalized advice regarding the appropriate course of action if you forget a dose of IL-2. It’s generally not recommended to take extra doses or adjust your treatment schedule without medical guidance, as it may lead to unintended consequences or compromise the effectiveness of the treatment.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) can have several side effects, which can vary in severity from mild to severe. Here are some potential side effects of interleukin-2:

  • Flu-like Symptoms: IL-2 treatment can often cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and loss of appetite.
  • Capillary Leak Syndrome: One of the most significant side effects of IL-2 therapy is capillary leak syndrome. This condition causes fluids and proteins to leak from the blood vessels into surrounding tissues, leading to a drop in blood pressure, edema (swelling), and organ dysfunction. Capillary leak syndrome can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Low Blood Pressure: IL-2 can cause a drop in blood pressure, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
  • Fluid Retention: Some individuals may experience fluid retention, resulting in swelling of the extremities, weight gain, and shortness of breath.
  • Kidney and Liver Toxicity: IL-2 treatment can affect kidney and liver function. It may cause increased levels of certain liver enzymes and impairment of kidney function, leading to changes in urine output and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Gastrointestinal Effects: IL-2 therapy can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  • Skin Reactions: Skin reactions, such as rash, itching, and redness, can occur with IL-2 treatment.
  • Neurological Symptoms: In some cases, IL-2 therapy can lead to neurological side effects, including confusion, disorientation, agitation, and seizures.
  • Respiratory Issues: IL-2 may cause shortness of breath, coughing, and lung inflammation.

It’s important to note that the side effects and their severity can vary among individuals and depend on factors such as the dosage, duration of treatment, and individual susceptibility. IL-2 therapy is typically administered in specialized medical settings under close supervision to monitor and manage any potential side effects.

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


  • Follow the specific storage instructions provided by the manufacturer or healthcare professional. Different formulations of IL-2 may have different storage requirements.
  • Typically, IL-2 is stored in a refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). Do not freeze IL-2 unless instructed otherwise.
  • Protect IL-2 from light by keeping it in its original packaging or an opaque container.


  • Proper disposal of IL-2 is crucial to prevent any potential harm to the environment or accidental exposure to others.
  • Always consult local regulations or guidelines for the proper disposal of pharmaceutical products.
  • Do not dispose of IL-2 in regular household waste or down the drain. Check if there are any designated disposal methods for medical waste in your area, such as returning it to a healthcare facility or using a specialized waste disposal service.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of an emergency or potential overdose, it is important to take the following steps:

  • Immediately contact emergency medical services or your local poison control center.
  • Provide them with all the necessary information, including the name of the substance (interleukin-2), the amount taken or administered, and the time of exposure.
  • Follow the instructions given by the healthcare professionals or poison control center.

What other information should I know?

  • IL-2 is a potent medication and should only be used under the supervision of qualified healthcare professionals.
  • It is important to inform your healthcare provider about any pre-existing medical conditions, medications, or allergies you may have before using IL-2.
  • Regular monitoring and laboratory tests may be necessary during IL-2 treatment to ensure safety and efficacy.
  • IL-2 may have potential side effects, which can range from mild to severe. It is important to report any unusual or concerning symptoms to your healthcare provider.
  • Always store IL-2 out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental exposure.
  • Do not use IL-2 beyond its expiration date. Check the packaging for the expiration date and do not use if it has expired.

Remember, this information is a general guideline, and it is crucial to consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist for specific instructions regarding the storage, disposal, and emergency procedures for the specific interleukin-2 formulation you have.

Copyright © 2023