Neulasta is a medication used for preventing infections in people who are undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments. It works by binding to stem cells and stimulating the production of neutrophils, which helps to decrease the risk of infection. The drug comes as an injection that is given once per chemotherapy cycle. Potential side effects of Neulasta include headache, joint pain, and muscle pain.
What Is Neulasta?
Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) is a prescription medication used to prevent infections in people undergoing certain kinds of chemotherapy. Many types of chemotherapy increase the risk of dangerous infections, and Neulasta can help prevent such infections.
Chemotherapy often decreases the bone marrow's ability to produce neutrophils, a certain type of white blood cell (WBC). Neutrophils help protect the body from infection, and having a low neutrophil count (known medically as neutropenia) increases the risk of infection.
Neulasta belongs to a group of medications called granulocyte colony-stimulating factors. Colony-stimulating factors bind to stem cells in the bone marrow, stimulating the production of blood cells. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a naturally occurring chemical in the body that stimulates the production of neutrophils. Neulasta is a synthetic version of G-CSF attached to another molecule designed to make it stay in the body longer. This means that it needs to be injected only once per chemotherapy cycle. Neulasta binds to stem cells and stimulates the production of neutrophils, helping to decrease the risk of infection.
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