About This Drug
Ziv-aflibercept is used to treat cancer. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects
- Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
- Soreness of the mouth and throat. You may have red areas, white patches, or sores that hurt
- Hoarseness (hoarse voice)
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea)
- Pain in your abdomen
- Weight loss
- Nose bleed
- High blood pressure
- Protein in your urine which can affect how your kidneys work
- Changes in your liver function
- Decrease in the number of white blood cells. This may raise your risk of infection.
- Decrease in the number of platelets. This may raise your risk of bleeding.
Note:Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with ziv-aflibercept. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- Abnormal bleeding, which rarely may be life-threatening; symptoms may be coughing up blood, throwing up blood (may look like coffee grounds), red or black tarry bowel movements, abnormally heavy menstrual flow, nosebleeds or any other unusual bleeding.
- Severe diarrhea and dehydration (lack of water in the body from losing too much fluid)
- Risk of a partial or complete blockage of your small and/or large intestine
- Abnormal opening in stomach, intestine or esophagus (fistula). Symptoms of a fistula may be: severe abdominal pain or difficulty swallowing
- Severe high blood pressure
- Stroke. Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911
- Changes in your central nervous system can happen. The central nervous system is made up of your brain and spinal cord. You could feel extreme tiredness, agitation, confusion, hallucinations (see or hear things that are not there), have trouble understanding or speaking, loss of control of your bowels or bladder, eyesight changes, numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body, seizures or coma. If you start to have any of these symptoms let your doctor know right away.
- Changes in your kidney function
- Fever, which can be in the setting of severely decreased white blood cells and put you at an increased risk of infections.
Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.
- Ziv-aflibercept may cause slow wound healing. It should not be given within 4 weeks of surgery and for 4 weeks after surgery. If you must have emergency surgery or have an accident that results in a wound, tell the doctor that you are on ziv-aflibercept.
- 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.
Treating Side Effects
- Mouth care is very important. Your mouth care should consist of routine, gentle cleaning of your teeth or dentures and rinsing your mouth with a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water or ½ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water. This should be done at least after each meal and at bedtime.
- If you have mouth sores, avoid mouthwash that has alcohol. Also avoid alcohol and smoking because they can bother your mouth and throat.
- To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals.
- Eat high caloric food such as pudding, ice cream, yogurt and milkshakes.
- 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 foods 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.
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
- Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- To decrease infection, wash your hands regularly.
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold, the flu, or other infections.
- Take your temperature as your doctor or nurse tells you, and whenever you feel like you may have a fever.
- To help decrease bleeding, use a soft toothbrush. Check with your nurse before using dental floss.
- Be very careful when using knives or tools.
- Use an electric shaver instead of a razor.
- If you have a nose bleed, sit with your head tipped slightly forward. Apply pressure by lightly pinching the bridge of your nose between your thumb and forefinger. Call your doctor if you feel dizzy or faint or if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 to 15 minutes.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of ziv-aflibercept with food or other medications.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the 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
- Fatigue that interferes with your daily activities
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Headache that does not go away
- Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
- Confusion and/or agitation
- Trouble understanding or speaking
- Numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body
- Nose bleed that doesn’t stop bleeding after 10 -15 minutes
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Coughing up blood
- Loose bowel movements (diarrhea) 4 times a day or loose bowel movements with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- Abdominal pain that does not go away
- Throwing up more than 3 times a way
- No bowel movement in 3 days or when you feel uncomfortable
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Difficulty swallowing
- Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
- Decreased urine, or very dark urine
- Blood in your urine, vomit (bright red or coffee-ground) and/or stools ( bright red, or black/tarry)
- Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause. If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
- Pain that does not go away or is not relieved by prescribed medicine
- If you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner
- Pregnancy warning: This drug may/can have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after treatment. Men with female partners of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 3 months after your cancer treatment. 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 December 2017
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.