Severe (sometimes fatal) reactions have occurred in people while receiving cetuximab. Your risk may be higher if you have a history of tick bites or have a severe allergic reaction to meat (such as beef, pork). Before receiving cetuximab, tell your doctor if you have either of these conditions. Your doctor will carefully monitor you during and for at least one hour after your infusion. Tell your doctor right away if you have shortness of breath, hoarseness, itching, or dizziness. Your doctor may stop treatment with this medication if you have a severe reaction.
Rare deaths due to heart problems (cardiopulmonary arrest) or sudden death have occurred in people with head and neck cancer treated with cetuximab. Before starting treatment with this medication, tell your doctor if you have a history of heart disease (such as heart failure, irregular heartbeat, previous heart attack). Get medical help right away if you develop chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, or unusual sweating. Your doctor will order certain blood tests (including magnesium, calcium, and potassium) during and after your treatment to monitor and help decrease your risk for heart problems.
Cetuximab is used to treat a certain type of cancer of the colon (large intestine) or rectum. This medication is also used to treat head and neck cancer. Cetuximab works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. It binds to a certain protein (epidermal growth factor receptor-EGFR) in some tumors. Cetuximab is a man-made protein (monoclonal antibody).
How to use Cetuximab Solution
Cetuximab is given by injection into a vein usually once a week by a healthcare professional. Another drug (e.g., diphenhydramine) may be given before you receive cetuximab to lessen the chance of certain side effects. The first dose (loading dose) is larger and is given over 2 hours. All other doses (maintenance doses) are smaller and are given over 1 hour if tolerated. The dosage is based on your medical condition, body size, and response to treatment.
A healthcare professional should watch you for at least 1 hour after your infusion is finished to make sure you do not have an infusion reaction. (See Warning section). If you experience a severe infusion reaction, your infusion will be stopped and your doctor may decide to stop further treatments.
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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.