Our organism has numerous essential components for its proper functioning, which perform the most diverse functions. Among them are blood cells: platelets, red and white blood cells.
White blood cells are a fundamental part of the control and maintenance of the entire organism, since they work to fight viruses, bacteria and other elements foreign to the body.
However, some diseases, genetic problems or treatments can affect their quantity and performance.
This is the case of patients who suffer from oncological pathologies and need to undergo chemotherapy, as it tends to be extremely aggressive, destroying healthy cells during the fight against cancer.
That is why the medication Neulastim is so important, since it helps in the control of white blood cells and allows a correct performance of the immune system. Check out some information about this remedy below:
What is Neulastim?
Neulastim is the commercial name of the medicine whose active ingredient is the substance Pegfilgrastim. Its main function is to reduce the time of neutropenia (low white blood cell count) and febrile neutropenia (low white blood cell count with fever ).
Currently, the drug is regulated by ANVISA in an injectable version (subcutaneous injection 10mg / mL).
The safe and proven use of Neulastim is for the treatment of neutropenia in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Indication: what is the medicine Neulastim for?
The medication Neulastim is recommended, according to the package insert, to stimulate the bone marrow (internal bone tissue that produces blood cells) to increase the production of white blood cells.
Their reduction can be caused by different factors. However, this remedy is indicated for the treatment of cancer patients (with cancer ) – mainly those who underwent cytotoxic chemotherapy.
White blood cells are important because they are primarily responsible for controlling infections in the body. But they are very sensitive to chemotherapy drugs, which causes them to be quickly destroyed – resulting in low immunity.
Although all people who suffer from the disease are susceptible to this situation, not everyone needs drugs like Neulastim. Therefore, it is essential to follow medical guidelines regarding the appropriate treatment for each situation.
How to apply Neulastim injection?
The application of Neulastim is performed through a subcutaneous injection (directly into the adipose tissue, located below the skin) of 6mg, in a filled syringe.
According to the instructions on the package insert, the drug must be administered at least 24 hours after the last chemotherapy performed by the patient. The frequency recommendation is that a dose be used at the end of each chemotherapy cycle.
The preparation and application of medication should always be carried out by trained professionals, ensuring safe use. In addition, following medical guidelines is essential for effective treatment.
How does Pegfilgrastim work?
Pegfilgrastim is the active ingredient (drug) of the medicine Neulastim. It is a protein produced through biotechnology in the bacterium E. coli.
This substance is part of the group of cytokines (a type of protein) and is very similar to a natural protein – that is, produced by the body itself.
This drug works by reducing the duration of the so-called “neutropenia”, characterized by a reduction in the number of white blood cells in the blood. It also decreases the time of “febrile neutropenia” – low number of white blood cells + fever.
Considering that the Pegfilgrastim-based medicine is used in cancer patients, it is easier to understand its importance.
White blood cells work by fighting infections and, therefore, a low number of them can leave the patient vulnerable. This is very risky for people with cancer, as a small infection can be extremely serious and even lethal.
Therefore, the administration of Pegfilgrastim regulates the blood cells and, therefore, normalizes the action of the defense cells.
What are the side effects according to the package leaflet?
The drug Neulastim, like any other, can cause side effects in patients who use it.
It is important to keep in mind that adverse reactions are relative, considering that some people do not suffer from any of them, but others may have more than one.
The package insert indicates as very common effects (occur in more than 10% of patients):
- Bone pain – in this case, the doctor (a) responsible can indicate a specific treatment to alleviate the problem;
In addition to these, there are also common effects (affect 1% to 10% of patients):
- Pain at the injection site;
- Generalized pains and / or in the joints and muscles;
- Changes in the blood count (blood test) – the most common is that the level of white blood cells becomes high and the platelets decrease, which should be monitored by the medical team.
It is worth highlighting an important information contained in the package leaflet: if the patient presents one or more of the following symptoms, he / she should seek medical attention immediately :
- Swelling or swelling, which may be associated with less frequent water elimination;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Abdominal bloating and constant feeling of satiety;
- A general feeling of tiredness.
In this case, it may be occurring with a rare condition called “Capillary Extravasation Syndrome”. This disorder causes blood to leak from small blood vessels into the body – urgent care is needed .
In addition, for information on rare complications of Neulastim, the ideal is to consult the package insert or to seek a specialist.
What is the price of Neulastim 10mg / mL?
The price * of Neulastim (10mg / mL) may vary depending on the region and availability of the drug.
In general, the box with 1 syringe filled with 0.6 ml of solution (subcutaneous use) in hospital packaging, can cost from R $ 4,300 to almost R $ 6,000.
* Prices consulted in February 2020. Prices may change.
Does ANVISA approve Neulastim?
-Yeah . The medication Neulastim has Registration No. 102440005 with ANVISA (National Health Surveillance Agency). As such, it is approved for use and commercialization as a drug with safety and proven efficacy from tests.
In the registry, this remedy is linked to the regulatory category of “Biologicals” and to the therapeutic class of “colony stimulating factors”.
Pegfilgrastim tem no SUS?
No . The substance Pegfilgrastim (active ingredient of Neulastim) is not present in the National List of Essential Medicines (RENAME) of 2020. It is also not related to any exceptionally dispensed medicine.
Thus, it is currently not provided by the Unified Health System (SUS).
Are you generic or similar?
No . Neulastim is a biological medicine from the Amgen laboratory and does not yet have another version. As it is a biological remedy, if an alternative version is created, it will also be biological.
Like the reference drugs, biologicals have a patent time. This time is provided due to the effort, money and study required to create a new drug.
For this reason, the developer laboratory gains the right to exclusive marketing for a period. Then, after the time of patent, the formula can be made available.
The only difference is that it is easier to break the stipulated period, as biological remedies are created to combat very specific problems. Therefore, it is good that different versions are produced in order to have different treatments for the disease.
Is Lonquex (lipegfilgrastim) the same as Neulastim?
The drug Lonquex, whose active ingredient is Lipegfilgrastim, has the indications on the label very similar to those of Neulastim. That is, it is also recommended for the treatment of neutropenia (reduction in the number of white blood cells) in cancer patients.
However, the medications differ in terms of the active substance, so they cannot be considered equal.
Therefore, the choice of the active substance depends exclusively on the medical recommendation, based on the diagnosis and condition of each patient.
How to budget Neulastim?
When a drug is not supplied by the Federal Government, patients with a medical report can make a judicial request in order to receive the treatment paid for by the Unified Health System (SUS) or Health Plan – if applicable.
For that, it is necessary to open a process and follow the stipulated requests. Among them is the delivery of documents that include:
- Medical report;
- Standard requirement;
- Budget of 3 pharmacies .
Considering the multitude of places to buy the medicine, it is possible to count on the assistance of legal advice on the purchase of medicines, which provides a personalized quote in an easy way.
When accessing the link , just perform your registration, stating some personal data and the medication in question. At the end, click on “request quotes” and wait for the return.
Medicines like Neulastim are very important for people with cancer diseases, considering that a simple infection can bring very serious complications.
Thus, it is good to be able to count on a remedy that allows the correct functioning of the defense systems and, consequently, contributes to a higher immunity. What is essential in cancer treatment.
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