If your malignant melanoma has been removed surgically, your healthcare provider may prescribe Sylatron to keep it from coming back. This drug is injected subcutaneously (just under the skin) once a week for up to five years. Your specific dosage will depend on your weight and how you tolerate the medication. Possible side effects include fever, fatigue, and headaches.
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.
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