EffectsIn studies, Neulasta has been compared to a placebo (no treatment) or to filgrastim (Neupogen®), a short-acting version of Neulasta that must be taken daily. These studies measured the frequency and duration of febrile neutropenia, which is a fever combined with a low neutrophil count. Febrile neutropenia is essentially infection caused by chemotherapy. In one study, only 1 percent of those taking Neulasta experienced febrile neutropenia, compared to 17 percent of those taking a placebo (receiving no treatment). Another study showed that Neulasta appears to work as well as Neupogen for preventing infections.
General considerations for when and how to take the medication include the following:
- Neulasta comes as an injection that is given under the skin. It is given once per chemotherapy cycle.
- It should not be taken any time within two weeks before to 24 hours after chemotherapy. It is usually taken on the day after chemotherapy (more than 24 hours after chemotherapy).
- If you feel comfortable doing so, you may give yourself the injections. If you would prefer, your healthcare provider can give the injection.
- Never shake Neulasta, as it is a delicate molecule that could be damaged by shaking.
- You will need regular blood tests while taking this medication to see if it is working.
- If you choose to give the injections yourself, make sure you know exactly how to inject Neulasta.
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
There is only one recommended dose of Neulasta for adults, regardless of your age or liver or kidney function. Neulasta is not recommended for infants, children, and smaller adolescents weighing less than 99 pounds.
As is always the case with any medication, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Neulasta Dosage for more information.)