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Home / Drugs / Starting with I / Interferon Alfa-2b, Recombinant
Interferon Alfa-2b, Recombinant

Interferon alpha 2b (human leukocyte clone hif-sn 206 protein moiety reduced). A type I interferon consisting of 165 amino acid residues with arginine in position 23. This protein is produced by recombinant DNA technology and resembles interferon secreted by leukocytes. It is used extensively as an antiviral or antineoplastic agent.
BrandsIntron A (Schering Corp)
CategoriesAntineoplastic Agents
Immunomodulatory Agents
Antiviral Agents
PackagersPhysicians Total Care Inc.
Schering Corp.
Schering-Plough Inc.
SynonymsInterferon alfa-2b


For the treatment of hairy cell leukemia, malignant melanoma, and AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.


Upregulates the expression of MHC I proteins, allowing for increased presentation of peptides derived from viral antigens. This enhances the activation of CD8+ T cells that are the precursors for cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and makes the macrophage a better target for CTL-mediated killing. Interferon alpha also induce the synthesis of several key antiviral mediators, including 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase (2'-5' A synthetase) and protein kinase R.

mechanism of action

Interferon alpha binds to type I interferon receptors (IFNAR1 and IFNAR2c) which upon dimerization activate two Jak (Janus kinase) tyrosine kinases (Jak1 and Tyk2). These transphosphorylate themselves and phosphorylate the receptors. The phosphorylated INFAR receptors then bind to Stat1 and Stat2 (signal transducers and activators of transcription)which dimerize and activate multiple (~100) immunomodulatory and antiviral proteins. Interferon alpha binds less stably to type I interferon receptors than interferon beta.


There is limited experience with overdosage. Postmarketing surveillance includes reports of patients receiving a single dose as great as 10 times the recommended dose. In general, the primary effects of an overdose are consistent with the effects seen with therapeutic doses of interferon alfa-2b. Hepatic enzyme abnormalities, renal failure, hemorrhage, and myocardial infarction have been reported with single administration overdoses and/or with longer durations of treatment than prescribed. Toxic effects after ingestion of interferon alfa-2b are not expected because interferons are poorly absorbed orally.


Absorption is high (greater than 80%) when administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.

half life

The elimination half-life following both intramuscular and subcutaneous injections was approximately 2 to 3 hours. The elimination half-life was approximately 2 hours following intravenous injection.

drug interactions

Aminophylline: Interferon increases the effect and toxicity of theophylline

Dyphylline: Interferon increases the effect and toxicity of theophylline

Oxtriphylline: Interferon increases the effect and toxicity of theophylline

Theophylline: Interferon increases the effect and toxicity of theophylline