Neulasta vs. Neupogen

What's the Difference?

Neulasta and Neupogen are both medications used to stimulate the production of white blood cells in patients undergoing chemotherapy. However, there are some key differences between the two. Neulasta is a longer-acting medication that is administered as a single injection, typically within 24 hours after chemotherapy. It works by stimulating the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells over a longer period of time. On the other hand, Neupogen is a shorter-acting medication that requires daily injections. It works by directly stimulating the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow. While both medications are effective in reducing the risk of infection in chemotherapy patients, the choice between Neulasta and Neupogen depends on factors such as the patient's specific needs and treatment plan.


Generic NamePegfilgrastimFilgrastim
Brand NameNeulastaNeupogen
Drug ClassGranulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)
IndicationPrevention of febrile neutropenia in cancer patientsTreatment of neutropenia in cancer patients
AdministrationSubcutaneous injectionSubcutaneous injection or intravenous infusion
Duration of Action14 days1-2 days
Half-life15-80 hours3-4 hours
Side EffectsBone pain, headache, fatigue, nauseaBone pain, headache, fatigue, nausea
CostExpensiveLess expensive

Further Detail


Neulasta and Neupogen are both medications used in the treatment of neutropenia, a condition characterized by a low count of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. While they are similar in their purpose, there are distinct differences in their attributes, including their mechanism of action, administration, side effects, and cost. Understanding these differences can help healthcare professionals and patients make informed decisions about which medication is most suitable for their specific needs.

Mechanism of Action

Neulasta, also known as pegfilgrastim, is a long-acting form of filgrastim, the active ingredient in Neupogen. Both medications belong to a class of drugs called granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSFs). G-CSFs work by stimulating the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils, thereby increasing the body's ability to fight infections. However, Neulasta has a longer half-life than Neupogen, allowing for less frequent dosing. Neulasta is administered as a single injection, typically within 24-72 hours after chemotherapy, while Neupogen requires daily injections.


Neulasta is administered as a subcutaneous injection, meaning it is injected just beneath the skin. This can be done by a healthcare professional or self-administered by the patient after proper training. On the other hand, Neupogen is also administered as a subcutaneous injection but requires daily dosing, which can be more burdensome for patients. The convenience of a single injection with Neulasta may be preferable for individuals who prefer fewer injections or have difficulty with daily self-administration.

Side Effects

Both Neulasta and Neupogen can cause similar side effects, although the severity and frequency may vary. Common side effects include bone pain, muscle aches, fatigue, and injection site reactions. These side effects are generally mild to moderate and resolve on their own. However, in rare cases, more serious side effects such as allergic reactions or spleen rupture can occur. It is important for patients to report any unusual or severe side effects to their healthcare provider promptly.


When it comes to cost, Neulasta is generally more expensive than Neupogen. The extended duration of action and less frequent dosing of Neulasta contribute to its higher price. However, it is worth noting that the cost may vary depending on factors such as insurance coverage and healthcare provider discounts. Patients should consult with their healthcare provider or pharmacist to determine the most cost-effective option for their specific situation.


Both Neulasta and Neupogen have been shown to effectively increase neutrophil counts in patients with neutropenia. Clinical studies have demonstrated their efficacy in reducing the risk of infection-related complications in individuals undergoing chemotherapy. However, due to the differences in dosing and administration, Neulasta may provide more consistent and sustained neutrophil support compared to Neupogen. This can be particularly beneficial for patients at higher risk of infection or those who may have difficulty with daily injections.


Neulasta and Neupogen are valuable medications in the management of neutropenia, offering increased neutrophil production to help fight infections. While both medications share similarities in their mechanism of action and side effects, there are notable differences in their administration, cost, and effectiveness. Neulasta's longer duration of action and single injection convenience may be advantageous for patients seeking a more convenient dosing regimen. However, the higher cost of Neulasta should also be considered. Ultimately, the choice between Neulasta and Neupogen should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, taking into account individual patient preferences, needs, and financial considerations.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.