Talimogene laherparepvec (Imlygic®)
About This Drug
Talimogene laherparepvec is a live, weakened type 1 herpes simplex virus used to treat cancer. It is given as an injection under the skin (subcutaneously) into your skin cancer
Possible Side Effects
- Flu-like symptoms: fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and fatigue (low energy, feeling weak)
- Injection site reaction -you may get a rash, swelling or bruising or your skin may get red, warm, itchy or painful at the site of injection. Very rarely it may cause tissue necrosis (death).
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 25% or greater of patients treated with talimogene laherparevec. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- An infection may develop where you get your injection, including a herpes type infection
- Injection site reaction
- 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.
- Avoid touching or scratching the site where you receive your injection. This could lead to spreading of the herpes virus to other parts of your body.
- Caregivers and patients should wear gloves when changing dressings to avoid spreading the herpes virus to other parts of the body.
- Caregivers who have a weakened immune system or who are pregnant should not come into direct contact with your injection site or the dressings that covers the injection site.
- Your skin cancer and shot site should stay covered for 7 days. Dirty dressings should be properly disposed. Replace loose dressings. Put used dressing in a sealed plastic bag and throw away in the regular garbage.
Treating Side Effects
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
- Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- 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).
- 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.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of talimogene laherparepvec with food.
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with talimogene laherparepvec. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.
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
- Blurred vision or other changes in eyesight
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- While you are getting this drug, please tell your nurse right away if you have any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of the IV infusion
- If you think you may be pregnant
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of childbearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
- 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 breastfeeding during treatment with this drug because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding 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 March 2018
This information is intended to provide helpful health information to the general public and is not to be used in place of any medical, health, psychological, or any other kind of personal professional services. The information herein does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned, nor is the information intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication. The dose, method of administration and contraindications for any administered medication should be confirmed before use. UPMC specifically disclaims all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any medication mentioned herein.