What Aldesleukin is and what it is used for?
- Aldesleukin is a synthetic interleukin-2 that stimulates the immune system by encouraging the growth of certain white blood cells called T lymphocytes and natural killer cells in the body. This helps the body fight cancers.
- Aldesleukin is used to treat kidney cancer or skin cancer than has spread to other parts of the body. This drug also may be used in other ways, as determined by your doctor.
How Aldesleukin is given?
- It can be given under the skin or as an infusion into a vein.
What should I know while receiving Aldesleukin?
- Aldesleukin may cause serious side effects, you have to be hospitalized and sometimes admit to intensive care for monitoring your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, kidney function, and other vital signs while this drug is being given.
- An allergic reaction may happen during or shortly after the infusion, causing fever and chills, breathing difficulties, facial swelling, hives, and a drop in blood pressure. Tell your nurse right away if you feel unwell during an infusion.
- Do not receive this drug when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Men and women should use effective contraception during treatment and for at least 6 months after the treatment ends.
- Do not receive any kind of vaccination without doctor's approval.
- Many drugs may affect how aldesleukin works. Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
- The existing health problems may affect the use of aldesleukin. You should let your doctor know if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Lung or breathing problems
- Heart problems
- Any type of infections
- Kidney problems
- Liver problems
- Thyroid disorder
- Autoimmune diseases
Common side effects
- Low red blood cell count
You may look pale and get tired more easily. Let your doctor know if you experience any difficulty breathing or dizziness when changing positions.
- Low platelet count
You may have a higher risk of bleeding. Let your doctor know if you find red or purple dots on the skin, bleeding from the nose or gums, or any bruising or bleeding that you cannot explain.
- Flu like symptoms
Symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pains and shivering may occur a few hours after treatment. These symptoms generally last for 2 to 3 days. Seek medical help if you do not get any better.
- Nausea or vomiting
Medicines may be given before the treatment to help stop it happening. Eating and drinking often in small amounts may help.
Ask your doctor about medicines that can relieve diarrhea. Drinking plenty of water and dietary changes may help.
- Skin rash
A rash can be itchy, red, or painful. Tell your doctor about any skin changes that you have, they can give you medicines and advices that help you feel better.
- Swelling in hands and feet
Tell your doctor if your hands, arms, legs, or feet feel puffy or tender. The doctor may give medicines to reduce your symptoms and suggest ways to prevent fluid buildup.
- Changes in heart function
Symptoms include low or high blood pressure and abnormal heart beats. Tell your doctor if you have sudden weight gain or swelling in arms or legs. Seek medical help at once if you feel light-headed, dizzy or you have trouble breathing or any chest pain.
- Elevated liver enzyme
This is a sign that your liver is not working well. Seek medical help right away if you have yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark or brown urine, or pain in abdomen, as these can be signs of liver toxicity.
- Changes in kidney function
Aldesleukin can affect how your kidney works. Seek medical help at once if you have unable to pass urine, decreased urination, swelling in limbs, a big weight gain, or pain in lower back.
- Lung or breathing problems
Aldesleukin may affect how you breathe. Tell your doctor if you develop difficulty breathing with wheezing and coughing or there is any existing breathing problems get worse.
Less common side effects
- Low white blood cell count
You may have a higher risk of getting infections. Try to stay away from crowds and wash hands often. Tell your doctor right away if you have repeated fevers, coughing, stuffy nose, a painful urination or wound that becomes red and swollen.
- Loss of appetite
Try to eat in small quantities and have frequent meals. If your appetite doesn't get any better after a few days, talk to the doctor.
- Weakness and fatigue
Try to pace yourself and rest as much as you need to. Seek medical advice if fatigue does not go away when you rest and sleep.
- Changes in mood or behavior
You may experience difficulty thinking, memory loss, depression or sleep disturbances. Talk to your doctor if side effects are bothering you.
- Changes in thyroid function
You may have higher or lower levels of thyroid hormones during treatment. You may experience tired or cold, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, mood changes such as feeling depressed or anxiety. You doctor will check the thyroid function regularly and treat side effects if it develops.
Rare but serious side effects
- Capillary leak syndrome
This is a life-threatening blood vessel problems that may occur immediately after this drug is given. It happens when fluid and proteins leak out of tiny blood vessels and flow into surrounding tissues. This condition may lead to multiple organ failure and shock. Seek medical help at once if you have dizziness, sudden swelling or rapid weight gain, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, trouble breathing, mood or behavior changes, bloody or tarry stools, decreased or no urination.
- Alcohol and cigarettes may interfere with certain medicines or worsen side effects from chemotherapy treatment. It is wise to avoid alcohol and cigarette during cancer treatment. If you have any problem about drinking alcohol and smoking, you should check with your doctor.