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Drugs reference index «cetuximab»

cetuximab
cetuximab
cetuximab


cetuximab

Generic Name: cetuximab (se TUX i mab)Brand Names: Erbitux

What is cetuximab?

Cetuximab is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.

Cetuximab is used to treat cancers of the colon and rectum. It is also used to treat head and neck cancer.

Cetuximab may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about cetuximab?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cetuximab or to mouse protein.

Before receiving cetuximab, tell your doctor if you have heart rhythm problems, congestive heart failure, breathing problems, or coronary artery disease. Tell your doctor if you are also being treated with cisplatin (Platinol).

After you receive this medicine, your doctor will need to watch you for about an hour. This is to make sure you do not have any serious side effects from the medicine.

Some people receiving a cetuximab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel short of breath, weak or dizzy, nauseated, itchy, or have wheezing, noisy breathing, or a hoarse voice during the injection.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor. You may need to have blood tests for several weeks after your cetuximab treatment has ended.

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds) while you are receiving cetuximab and for at least 2 months after your treatment ends. Cetuximab can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before I receive cetuximab?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cetuximab or to mouse protein.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use cetuximab:

  • heart rhythm problems;

  • lung disease or a breathing disorder;

  • congestive heart failure; or

  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether cetuximab is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you receive this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Whether you are a man or a woman, use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving cetuximab, and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends. You should not breast-feed a baby while you are receiving cetuximab and for at least 60 days after your treatment ends.

How is cetuximab given?

Cetuximab is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion pump, and can take up to 2 hours to complete.

After your cetuximab infusion, your doctor will need to watch you for about an hour. This is to make sure you do not have any serious side effects from the medicine.

If you are also being treated with radiation, you will receive cetuximab one week before your radiation treatment.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

You may need to have blood tests for several weeks after your cetuximab treatment has ended.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your cetuximab infusion.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine. Symptoms of a cetuximab overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while receiving cetuximab?

Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds) while you are receiving cetuximab and for at least 2 months after your treatment ends. Cetuximab can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.

Cetuximab side effects

Some people receiving a cetuximab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel short of breath, weak or dizzy, nauseated, itchy, or have wheezing, noisy breathing, or a hoarse voice during the injection.

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • an acne-like skin rash or any severe skin rash;

  • slow heart rate, weak pulse, fainting, slow breathing (breathing may stop);

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms;

  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • urinating more or less than usual;

  • hot dry skin with weakness or dizziness;

  • confusion; or

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dry, cracked, or swollen skin;

  • changes in your fingernails or toenails;

  • headache;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea, constipation;

  • dry mouth, trouble swallowing;

  • cough or sore throat;

  • weight loss; or

  • weakness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Cetuximab Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Colorectal Cancer:

Initial Dose: 400 mg/m2 administered as a 2 hour intravenous infusion (maximum infusion rate 5 mL/min)Maintenance Dose: 250 mg/m2 infused over 1 hour (maximum infusion rate 5 mL/min) once a week

Usual Adult Dose for Squamous Cell Carcinoma:

Note: In combination with radiation therapy, cetuximab is indicated for the treatment of locally or regionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Alternatively, cetuximab as a single agent is indicated for the treatment of patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck for whom prior platinum-based therapy has failed.As a Part of Combination Therapy: Initial Loading Dose: 400 mg/m2 as a 120 minute IV infusion (maximum infusion rate 5 mL/min) one week prior to initiation of a course of radiation therapyWeekly Maintenance Dose: 250 mg/m2 infused over 60 minutes (maximum infusion rate 5 mL/min) weekly for the duration of radiation therapy (6 to 7 weeks). (In clinical studies, cetuximab was administered 1 hour prior to radiation therapy.)Single Agent Therapy:Initial Dose: 400 mg/m2 Weekly Maintenance Dose: 250 mg/m2 weekly until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurs

What other drugs will affect cetuximab?

Tell your doctor if you are also being treated with cisplatin (Platinol).

There may be other drugs that can interact with cetuximab. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about cetuximab.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01. Revision Date: 09/09/2009 9:34:07 AM.
  • cetuximab Intravenous Advanced Consumer (Micromedex) - Includes Dosage Information
  • Cetuximab Professional Patient Advice (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Cetuximab MedFacts Consumer Leaflet (Wolters Kluwer)
  • Erbitux Prescribing Information (FDA)
  • Erbitux Consumer Overview

See Also...

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