G-CSF is a colony stimulating factor. Colony stimulating factors are naturally occurring special proteins in the human body that stimulate blood cell production and growth. G-CSF helps increase the number of stem cells in your blood stream.
These naturally occurring proteins can also be manufactured as a drug. The G-CSF used in our Program is Neupogen®. The generic name is filgrastim.
In order to limit the number of times you have to undergo stem cell collection, the BMT doctor will try to move your stem cells out of your bone marrow and into your blood stream. This process is called mobilization. The G-CSF you will receive will encourage the growth of stem cells in your body and mobilize them into your blood stream for collection.
Engraftment is the process by which re-infused stem cells grow in the bone marrow and manufacture new blood cells. Engraftment is the indication that the new stem cells are working properly. Research has shown that stem cells that have been mobilized engraft faster than stem cells collected directly from the bone marrow.
G-CSF will be administered daily by injection, through a tiny needle under the skin. Arrangements will be made for you to receive your injections either in the Hematology Apheresis Unit, the Leukemia/BMT Daycare Unit or if you prefer you may arrange to have them given at your family doctor’s office or walk-in clinic near your home.
Generally, you will take G-CSF for 4 days and there will be 2 stem cell collections.
When G-CSF is injected, you may feel a slight stinging sensation at the injection site. Sometimes, injecting into a larger surface area such as the abdomen or injecting the medication slower can reduce the stinging. If you experience some pain or redness at the injection site, it should go away soon. If it does not, contact the Donor Physician at the Leukemia/BMT Program at 604-875-4863 or 604-875-4343 (24-hours).
Sometimes a “bump” occurs at the injection site. Do not rub it. The bump will often go away within a few hours. If the bump persists for more than a few hours, contact the Donor Physician at the Leukemia/BMT Program at 604-875-4863 or 604-875-4343 (24-hours).
A small amount of medication can sometimes leak out at the injection site when the needle is withdrawn. If it does, simply apply light pressure with the alcohol swab, but do not rub.
Other drugs may interact with G-CSF. It is important that you tell the doctor if you are taking any other medicines. This includes, over-the-counter drugs, naturopath/herbal remedies, including vitamins, teas, etc. Inform your doctor even if you only take these occasionally.
Generally, G-CSF is well tolerated. Some donors have experienced discomfort that is usually reported as headache and/or aching in the bones, most often in the back and hips. If you feel discomfort, please contact the Donor Physician for advice on how best to relieve it. Be sure to tell the Donor Physician if you experience any symptoms that concern you while you are taking G-CSF. The Donor Physician can be reached at 604-875-4863 or 604-875-4343 (24-hours).
Never take a medication for a side effect, or for anything else, unless your nurse or doctor recommends it.