Eculizumab

Other Names: Soliris®

About This Drug

Eculizumab is used to treat some blood disorders. It is given in the vein (IV).

Possible Side Effects 

  • Decrease in red blood cells (you may feel more tired)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Back pain
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Cough and upper respiratory infection
  • Inflammation of the nasal passages and throat
  • Urinary tract infection. Symptoms may include:
    • Pain or burning when you pass urine
    • Feeling like you have to pass urine often, but not much comes out when you do
    • Tender or heavy feeling in your lower abdomen
    • Cloudy urine and/or urine that smells bad
    • Swelling of your legs, ankles, and/or feet
    • Pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are
    • Fever, chills, nausea and /or throwing up
    • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 10% or greater of patients treated with eculizumab. Not all possible side effects are included above. 

Warnings and Precautions

  • Severe infections, including bacterial and fungal
  • Increased risk of severe meningitis, which can be life-threatening
  • While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the drug. Sometimes you may be given medication to stop or lessen these side effects. Your nurse will check you closely for these signs: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash. itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. These reactions may happen after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care. 
  • Breakdown of your red blood cells can happen once you have completed your treatment, which may cause anemia and other complications. You will be followed closely by your doctor for several weeks after your treatment has ended. 

Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team. 

Important Information

  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time. 
  • Meningococcal vaccination is required at least 2 weeks prior to receiving treatment with eculizumab. Talk to your doctor and/or nurse about vaccination. 
  • You will need to sign up for a special program called Soliris® REMS when you start taking this drug. Your nurse will help you get started. 

Treating Side Effects

  • Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
  • Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid). 
  • If you get diarrhea, eat low-fiber food that are high in protein and calories and avoid foods that can irritate your digestive tracts or lead to cramping. 
  • Ask your nurse or doctor about medicine that can lessen or stop your diarrhea. 
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms. 
  • Infusion reactions may occur after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care. 

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of eculizumab with food. 
  • This drug may interact with other medications. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, and others) that you are taking at this time. The safety and use of dietary supplements and alternative diets are often not known. Using these might affect your cancer or interfere with your treatment. Until more is known, you should not use dietary supplements or alternative diets without your cancer doctor's help.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • Chills
  • Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities 
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded 
  • Headache that does not go away
  • Symptoms of meningitis: headache with stiff neck and/or back, headache with nausea and vomiting, headache and a fever, fever, rash, confusion and sensitivity to light
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • You cough up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
  • Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
  • Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Pain in your abdomen that does not go away
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Pain or burning when you pass urine
  • Difficulty urinating 
  • Feeling like you have to pass urine often, but not much comes out when you do
  • Tender or heavy feeling in your lower abdomen
  • Cloudy urine and/or urine that smells bad
  • Pain on one side of your back under your ribs. This is where your kidneys are.
  • Pain that does not go away, or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Signs of infusion reaction: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or cheat pain. 
  • If you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: It is not known if this drug may harm an unborn child. For this reason, be sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while receiving this drug. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner. 
  • Breastfeeding warning: It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. For this reason, women should talk to their doctor about the risks and benefits of breast feeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breast feeding baby. 
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking. 

Revised April 2018

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2018. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.