Rarely, a serious (sometimes fatal) brain infection (Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy-PML) has occurred in people taking this medication. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop any signs of PML, including changes in mood, unusual behavior, confusion, difficulty concentrating, changes in vision/speech/walking, decreased strength or weakness on one side of the body.
Brentuximab is used to treat certain types of cancers (Hodgkin's lymphoma, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma). It works by binding to the cancer cells and slowing or stopping their growth. Brentuximab belongs to a class of drugs known as antibody-drug conjugates.
This medication is given by injection into a vein by a health care professional. It is usually given over 30 minutes as directed by your doctor.
The dosage is based on your medical condition, weight, and response to treatment.
Your health care professional will monitor you during the infusion in case you develop a reaction to brentuximab. If a rare but severe allergic reaction occurs, the infusion will be stopped and you should never receive brentuximab again. If a less serious reaction occurs, the infusion will be interrupted, you will be treated for the reaction, and the infusion will be continued. If you develop a less serious infusion reaction, you will be directed by your doctor to take certain medications (such as acetaminophen, antihistamines, corticosteroids) before each future brentuximab infusion to lessen the chance of symptoms. Consult your doctor for more details. Get medical help right away if you have symptoms such as fever, chills, rash, itching, cough, or trouble breathing within 24 hours of the infusion.
See also Warning and How to Use sections.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: numbness/tingling/weakness/pain of the hands/feet/arms/legs, muscle weakness, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat), easy bruising/bleeding.
Brentuximab sometimes causes side effects due to the rapid destruction of cancer cells (tumor lysis syndrome). To lower your risk, drink plenty of fluids unless your doctor directs you otherwise. Also, your doctor may prescribe an additional medication. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as: low back/side pain (flank pain), pink/bloody urine, change in the amount of urine, painful urination, muscle spasms/weakness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before using brentuximab, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Brentuximab can make you more likely to get infections or may worsen any current infections. Therefore, wash your hands well to prevent the spread of infection. Avoid contact with people who have infections that may spread to others (such as chickenpox, measles, flu). Consult your doctor if you have been exposed to an infection or for more details.
Do not have immunizations/vaccinations without the consent of your doctor. Avoid contact with people who have recently received live vaccines (such as flu vaccine inhaled through the nose).
To lower the chance of getting cut, bruised, or injured, use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication is not recommended for use during pregnancy. It may harm an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details.
It is unknown if this medication passes into breast milk. Because of the possible risk to a nursing infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Other medications can affect the removal of brentuximab from your body, which may affect how brentuximab works. One example is rifampin, among others.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as complete blood counts) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
For the best possible benefit, it is important to receive each scheduled dose of this medication as directed. If you miss a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist immediately to establish a new dosing schedule.
Not applicable. This medication is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
MEDICAL ALERT: Your condition can cause complications in a medical emergency. For information about enrolling in MedicAlert, call 1-888-633-4298 (US) or 1-800-668-1507 (Canada).
Information last revised March 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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