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Home / Drugs / Starting with P / Peginterferon alfa-2b
Peginterferon alfa-2b

Peginterferon alfa-2b is a covalent conjugate of recombinant alfa-2b interferon with monomethoxy polyethylene glycol (PEG). The average molecular weight of the PEG portion of the molecule is 12,000 daltons. The average molecular weight of the PEG-Intron molecule is approximately 31,000 daltons. The specific activity of peginterferon alfa-2b is approximately 0.7 x 108 IU/mg protein. Interferon alfa-2b is a water-soluble protein with a molecular weight of 19,271 daltons produced by recombinant DNA techniques. It is obtained from the bacterial fermentation of a strain of Escherichia coli bearing a genetically engineered plasmid containing an interferon gene from human leukocytes. The PEG strand protects the molecule in vivo from proteolytic breakdown, substantially increases its in vivo half-life, and reduces immunogenicity by wrapping around and physically hindering access to the protein portion of the molecule.
BrandsPEG-Intron (Schering Corp)
Unitron PEG
CategoriesAntineoplastic Agents
Immunomodulatory Agents
Antiviral Agents
PackagersPhysicians Total Care Inc.
Schering Corp.
Schering-Plough Inc.
Vetter Pharma Fertigung GmbH and Co. KG


For the treatment of chronic hepatitis C in patients not previously treated with interferon alpha who have compensated liver disease and are at least 18 years of age.


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.


Following a single subcutaneous dose of peginterferon alfa-2b, the mean absorption half-life (t½ ka) was 4.6 hours.

half life

The mean elimination half-life is approximately 40 hours (range 22 to 60 hours) in patients with HCV infection.

route of elimination

Renal elimination accounts for 30% of the clearance.

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