Ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin)
About This Drug
Ibrutimomab tiuxetan is used to treat cancer. It is a radioactive element used in combination with another agent called rituximab. It is given in the vein (IV).
Possible Side Effects
- Bone marrow suppression. This is a decrease in the number of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This may raise your risk of infection, make you tired and weak (fatigue), and raise your risk of bleeding
- Pain in your abdomen
- Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
- Tiredness and weakness
- Inflammation of the nasal passages and throat
Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 10% or greater of patients treated with ibritumomab tiuxetan. Not all possible side effects are included above.
Warnings and Precautions
- Severe bone marrow suppression
- While you are getting this drug in your vein (IV), you may have a reaction to the rituximab given in combination with this 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.
- Severe allergic skin reaction. You may develop blisters on your skin that are filled with fluid or a severe red rash all over your body that may be painful. You may develop painful sores in your mouth, nose and/or throat.
- This drug may raise your risk of getting a second cancer, such as leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and other cancers.
- Skin and tissue irritation including redness, pain, warmth, or swelling at the IV site if the drug leaks out of the vein and into nearby tissue.
Note: Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team.
- Talk to your doctor before receiving any vaccinations during your treatment. Some vaccinations are not recommended while receiving ibritumomab tiuxetan and for 12 months after your cancer treatment.
Treating Side Effects
- Manage tiredness by pacing your activities for the day.
- Be sure to include periods of rest between energy-draining activities.
- To decrease the risk of 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 your risk of 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.
- 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 of 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 stop or lessen these symptoms.
- If you have 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.
- Infusion reactions may occur after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- If you get a rash do not put anything on it unless your doctor or nurse says you may. Keep the area around the rash clean and dry. Ask your doctor for medicine if your rash bothers you.
- Keeping your pain under control is important to your wellbeing. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
Food and Drug Interactions
- There are no known interactions of ibritumomab 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 ibritumomab tiuxetan. 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.
- You may need to have your blood checked more frequently if you are taking blood thinning medicine or medicine that affect platelet function. Ask your doctor what precautions you should take.
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 100.4° F (38° C) or higher
- Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Easy bleeding or bruising
- Coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- Pain in your mouth or throat that makes it hard to eat or drink
- Pain in your abdomen that does not go away
- Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with lack of strength or a feeling of being dizzy
- 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
- Signs of infusion reaction: fever or shaking chills, flushing, facial swelling, feeling dizzy, headache, trouble breathing, rash, itching, chest tightness, or chest pain. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
- A new rash or a rash that is not relieved by prescribed medicines
- If you think you may be pregnant or may have impregnated your partner
- 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 and for at least 12 months after treatment. Men with female partners of childbearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your cancer treatment and for at least 12 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 not breastfeed during treatment and for 6 months after treatment because this drug may enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
- Fertility warning: In men and women both, this drug may affect your ability to have children in the future. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm or egg banking.
Reviewed February 2020
This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2020. 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.
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