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Oprelvekin (Systemic)

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Oprelvekin (Systemic)

US Brand Names

• Neumega

Other commonly used names are interleukin-11, recombinant; and rIL-11.


Oprelvekin (oh-PREL-ve-kin) is a synthetic (man-made) version of a substance called interleukin-11. Naturally occurring interleukin-11 is produced by bone marrow cells in the body and helps to make platelets, which are necessary for proper clotting of blood. Oprelvekin is used to help prevent low platelet counts caused by treatment with some cancer medicines.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):


    • Injection (U.S.)

Special Considerations

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For oprelvekin, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to oprelvekin. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.


Oprelvekin has not been studied in pregnant women. However, in rats and rabbits this medicine was found to cause harmful effects on the fetus, including miscarriages and poor growth. It has not been found to cause birth defects in animals.


It is not known whether oprelvekin passes into breast milk. Discuss with your doctor whether or not you should breast-feed during treatment with this medicine.


Oprelvekin has caused joint and tendon problems in animals and there is a possibility it could also cause these effects in children receiving it. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor.

Older adults

This medicine has been tested and has not been shown to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of oprelvekin. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

    • Congestive heart failure-May be worsened because oprelvekin causes the body to retain water

    • Atrial arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems)-This medicine may cause heart rhythm problems

    • Fluid build-up in the abdomen or lungs-May be worsened by oprelvekin


If you are injecting this medicine yourself, each package of oprelvekin will contain a patient instruction sheet. Read this sheet carefully and make sure you understand:

    • How to prepare the injection.

    • Proper use of disposable syringes.

    • How to give the injection.

    • How long the injection is stable.

If you have any questions about any of this, check with your health care professional.

This medicine works best if it is given at the same time every day.


The dose of oprelvekin will be different for different patients. The dose that is used may depend on a number of things, including the patient's body weight. If you are receiving oprelvekin at home, follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. If you have any questions about the proper dose of oprelvekin, ask your doctor.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, skip the missed dose and give the next dose at the usual time.


To store this medicine:

    • Keep out of the reach of children.

    • Store in the refrigerator.

    • Keep the medicine from freezing.

    • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Ask your health care professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.


It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

The side effects listed below include only those that might be caused by oprelvekin. To find out about other side effects that may be caused by the cancer medicines you are also receiving, see the information about those medicines.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common

Fast heartbeat; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; sore mouth or tongue; swelling of feet or lower legs; white patches in mouth and/or on tongue.

Less common

Bloody eye; blurred vision; severe redness and peeling of skin.

This medicine may also cause the following side effect that your doctor will watch for:

More common

Heart rhythm problems.

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

More common

Red eyes; weakness.

Less common

Numbness or tingling of hands or feet; skin discoloration; skin rash at place of injection.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

April 23, 1998

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