Skin Cancer Home > Sylatron Uses
How Does It Work?Sylatron is a manufactured version of interferon and is almost identical to a naturally occurring human interferon. Interferons are naturally occurring proteins or glycoproteins (proteins attached to carbohydrates). In humans, interferons are produced by cells in response to certain situations (such as viral infections) and often play a key role in the immune system.
When given as medications, interferons do not last very long in the body. To get around this problem, Sylatron was made by attaching each interferon to a molecule of polyethylene glycol; this makes the medication last much longer, allowing for once-a-week dosing. Because Sylatron is a protein, it would be broken down and destroyed by the digestive system if taken by mouth. For this reason, Sylatron must be injected to bypass the digestive tract.
At this time, it is not fully understood how Sylatron works to treat melanoma.
Is It Safe for Children to Use Sylatron?This drug is only approved for use in individuals at least 18 years of age, as it has not been adequately studied in people younger than this. Talk with your child's healthcare provider about the particular benefits and risks of using Sylatron in children.
Are There Off-Label Uses?On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Sylatron for something other than the treatment of malignant melanoma. The active ingredient in Sylatron, peginterferon alfa-2b, is available as a different medication called PegIntron® that is used to treat hepatitis C. The dosages used to treat hepatitis C are lower than the amounts used to treat malignant melanoma.
It is possible that Sylatron might be used for hepatitis C treatment, particularly if someone needed a high dose (the Sylatron vials contain more of the medication per vial, compared to PegIntron).