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granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) - Neupogen

General Information Granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a hormone that is used to stimulate an increase in white blood cells.
Specifics Granulocyte colony stimulating factor is a well-respected and very effective medication.  G-CSF has a long track record of effectiveness and safety.  G-CSF is actually found naturally in the human body.

Granulocyte colony stimulating factor works by stimulating your bones to produce more white blood cells.  White blood cells are produced in the marrow or center of the long bones on your body.  Low white blood cells can make you much more suceptible to serious bacterial infections which could be fatal.

Dosing Granulocyte colony stimulating factor is available only as an injection that is given just under the surface of the skin ("subcutaneous.")

The dose varies but usually one injection every day or every few days is administered by the patient, a friend or family member, or a healthcare provider.

For supplies you will need the medication, 1 cc syringes with needles (tuberculin syringes work very well), and alcohol wipes.

It is very important that the skin is clean and wiped with an alcohol prep before the injection.  The top of the vial of granulocyte colony stimulating factor should also be wiped off with alcohol.  The skin is pinched and the needle is placed in the area of pinched skin and the syringe is slowly emptied.

This refers to your willingness, ability, and actual performance in taking your medications.

For further information and tips on adherence, go to the Adherence section of this site.

It is very important to take every dose that is prescribed unless instructed by your healthcare provider.

Do not adjust the amount of the dose or the frequency of granulocyte colony stimulating factor without speaking to your healthcare provider first.

Possible Side Effects
The package insert for most drugs including granulocyte colony stimulating factor is often overwhelming and scary with perhaps an overemphasis on side effects.  We have summarized the important and more common problems here.

Most people take granulocyte colony stimulating factor without any or very many side effects.  

Many side effects get better with time.

The most frequent side effect of granulocyte colony stimulating factor is achy discomfort in the bones such as the upper legs.

Rarely granulocyte colony stimulating factor can cause lower platelet cells or cause other side effects.

This refers to the way that
granulocyte colony stimulating factor affects other medications and how other medications might affect granulocyte colony stimulating factor.

Make sure that your healthcare provider is aware of all the medications you are taking so that important and possibly dangerous interactions are not overlooked.

Report to you healthcare provider or go to an Emergency Room if you have severe side effects, increasing side effects, increasing shortness of breath, fever, eye pain or redness, loss of vision, jaundice (eyes and skin turn yellow,) nausea and vomiting (so that you cannot hold down your food and liquids) or rash.
You can download this handout in PDF format by clicking HERE.