Brand Name(s):

  • Proleukin®

Other Name(s):

  • IL-2
  • Interleukin-2
  • r-serHuIL

WHY is this medicine prescribed?

Your doctor has ordered the drug aldesleukin to help treat your illness. The drug is given by injection into a vein or under the skin.

This medication is used to treat:

  • metastatic renal cell cancer

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for information.

Aldesleukin is in a class of drugs known as cytokines. It is similar to a chemical which the body produces. Aldesleukin increases the body's ability to fight cancer. In addition, aldesleukin stimulates the body to produce other chemicals which increase the body's ability to fight cancer. The length of treatment depends on the types of drugs you are taking, how well your body responds to them, and the type of cancer you have.

Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?

Aldesleukin also is used to treat metastatic melanoma. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.

What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?

Before taking aldesleukin,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to aldesleukin or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially aspirin; medications for anxiety, blood pressure, infection, inflammation, nausea, pain, or swelling; and vitamins.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart, lung, brain, kidney, liver, or autoimmune disease.
  • women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should tell their doctors before they begin taking this drug. You should not plan to have children while receiving chemotherapy or for a while after treatments. (Talk to your doctor for further details.) Use a reliable method of birth control to prevent pregnancy.
  • you should know that aldesleukin may make you more sensitive to contrast dyes which are given to improve the pictures taken from X-rays or other scans. Notify your doctor that you are taking aldesleukin.
  • do not have any vaccinations (e.g., measles or flu shots) without talking to your doctor.

What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?

Side effects from aldesleukin are common and include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • general feeling of being unwell (malaise)
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin

Other possible side effects:

  • constipation
  • confusion
  • changes in your mood
  • dizziness
  • changes in your vision, taste, or speech
  • muscle or bone aches
  • pains in the chest, abdomen, or back
  • weight gain
  • retaining water
  • pain or redness at the site of injection

Tell your doctor if either of these symptoms is severe or lasts for several hours:

  • mouth blistering
  • fatigue

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual bruising or bleeding
  • bleeding from the rectum
  • extreme sleepiness or tiredness
  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • problems with urinating
  • itching or red rash
  • fever
  • chills or shaking chills

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 [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?

  • The most common side effect of aldesleukin is a decrease in the number of blood cells. Your doctor may order tests before, during, and after your treatment to see if your blood cells are affected by the drug. Aldesleukin may change the amount of some minerals in your body. It also can change the amount of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will order tests to monitor the amount of minerals and sugar in your blood.
  • It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.

Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.