By Novartis

What side effects are possible with this medication?

A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. It can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent, but does not occur in everyone. The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. If you develop any of these side effects (or any other side effects not listed here) or they change in intensity, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice on managing them and on the risks and benefits of the medication.

  • agitation and/or confusion
  • appetite loss
  • changes in breathing
  • changes in heart rhythm
  • confusion
  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry skin
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea and vomiting
  • pain
  • significant reduction in urine output
  • skin rash
  • skin redness with burning or itching
  • sores in mouth and on lips
  • stomach pain
  • tingling of hands or feet
  • unusual feeling of illness
  • unusual tiredness
Click here to learn about serious side effects that can potentially occur with any medication. These examples are provided for information purposes only and are not meant to be exhaustive. Always consult your doctor for sound medical advice specific to your particular medication and treatment.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone at 1-800-332-1088.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Blood pressure: This medication can cause you to have low blood pressure. This may affect the amount of blood getting to your organs (example kidneys, liver). You should keep an eye on your blood pressure and how much urine you make while receiving this medication.

Immune system: This medication may aggravate illnesses caused by the immune system such as arthritis or thyroid disease. Tell your doctor if you have any problems with your immune system and whether you have had a transplant in the past.

Infection: As well as killing cancer cells, this medication can reduce the number of cells that fight infection in the body (white blood cells). Avoid contact with people that have a contagious infection and tell your doctor if you begin to notice the signs of an infection such as fever or chills.

Kidney or liver disease: Kidney and liver function may be affected by the use of aldesleukin. The use of other medications known to affect the kidney or liver is not recommended with this medication. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether any of your medications could affect the kidney or liver.

Laboratory tests and diagnostic tests: Your doctor will perform diagnostic tesst before starting this medication to evaluate your heart and lung functions. They will also perform blood tests, chest x-rays to monitor you closely during treatment.

Mental changes: This medication may affect your mental status (how alert you are).

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if aldesleukin passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between aldesleukin and any of the following:

  • aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamicin, kanamycin)
  • antiemetics
  • asparaginase
  • cisplatin
  • corticosteroid medications (e.g., prednisone)
  • dacarbazine
  • doxorubicin
  • indomethacin
  • interferon
  • medications that cause drowsiness (analgesics, narcotics, sedatives, tranquilizers)
  • medications used to treat high blood pressure (e.g., beta-blockers such as metoprolol or propranolol, diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide)
  • methotrexate
  • other cancer medications
  • radiocontrast dye, iodinated contrast media
  • tamoxifen

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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