Sargramostim is a growth factor known as granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Growth factors are substances that are produced naturally in the body but can also be made using technology for it to be used as a medicine.
This medicine stimulates the growth of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that helps your body to fight infections. It is used to increase neutrophil counts and help reduce the risk of infection in various conditions when neutropenia (abnormally low level of neutrophils) may occur, such as:
- undergoing chemotherapy for certain cancer
- receiving certain medical procedures e.g. bone marrow or progenitor cell transplant
- exposure to significantly high doses of radiation
This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
Sargramostim may be injected either intravenously (into the vein) or subcutaneously (into the fatty layer under the skin, usually in the thigh or abdomen area) depending on the type of your condition.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
For subcutaneous injections, your healthcare provider may decide that the injections can be given at home. If you or your caregiver had been given the proper training on the preparation and injection techniques of this medicine, you or your caregiver may do the administration.
The dose and schedule of administration of this medicine will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of treatment depending on your condition and response to the medication.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Sargramostim.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible.
If you or a caregiver is using the subcutaneous injection, inject the missed dose as soon as you remember and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
Inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you forgot to administer your dose.
Do not use Sargramostim if you ever had an allergic reaction (e.g. rashes, breathlessness, swollen eyes) to this medicine, similar medicines or products that are made from yeast.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for 2 weeks after your last dose.
Do not receive or use this medicine at the same time or within 24 hours before or after receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of irregular or abnormal heartbeat or other heart diseases
- previous lung disease
- cancer of the bone marrow
- previous water retention in the body
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, renal, liver and pulmonary functions) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
- Regular monitoring of vital signs, weight, hydration status, and signs and symptoms of allergic or infusion-related reactions may also be needed.
Sargramostim may cause any of the following side effects: fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, mouth sores, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, headache, hair loss, joint and bone pain, rash, and difficulty sleeping.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- rashes, breathlessness, swelling of the face, eyes, or mouth
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- intravenous infusion reactions such as skin flushing, difficulty breathing, feeling faint during or soon after receiving the medicine
- swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles, urinating less than usual, swelling of the stomach and feeling of fullness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not receive or use Sargramostim at the same time or within 24 hours before or after receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking or using any of these medicines:
- lithium (medicine for mood disorders)
- anti-inflammatory medicines e.g. prednisone
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C.
Do not freeze Sargramostim otherwise, it will no longer be effective and should not be used.
Do not shake.
If you notice that the injection has changed colour or has become cloudy, do not use it. Throw it away and use a new injection.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.