Health Alert:

Your health can’t wait. Learn how we’re making our facilities safer and schedule your care now.

Polatuzumab vedotin-piiq (Polivy®)

Printable PDF Version

About This Drug

Polatuzumab vedotin-piiq is used to treat cancer. 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.
  • Diarrhea (loose bowel movements)
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Decreased appetite (decreased hunger)
  • Effects on the nerves called peripheral neuropathy. You may feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet. It may be hard for you to button your clothes, open jars, or walk as usual. The effect on the nerves may get worse with more doses of the drug. These effects get better in some people after the drug is stopped but it does not get better in all people.
  • Pneumonia

Note: Each of the side effects above was reported in 20% or greater of patients treated with polatuzumab vedotin-piiq. Not all possible side effects are included above.

Warnings and Precautions 

  • Severe peripheral neuropathy.
  • Severe bone marrow suppression.
  • 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.
  • Severe infections, which may be life-threatening.
  • 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, have hallucinations (see or hear things that are not there), 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.
  • Tumor lysis syndrome: This drug may act on the cancer cells very quickly. This may affect how your kidneys work.
  • Changes in your liver function that may be severe.

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

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 the 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).
  • 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.
  • To help with decreased appetite, eat small, frequent meals. Eat foods high in calories and protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.
  • Consider using sauces and spices to increase taste. Daily exercise, with your doctor’s approval, may increase your appetite.
  • If you have numbness and tingling in your hands and feet, be careful when cooking, walking, and handling sharp objects and hot liquids.
  • Infusion reactions may occur after your infusion. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.

Food and Drug Interactions 

  • This drug may interact with grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Talk to your doctor as this could make side effects worse.
  • 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 polatuzumab vedotin-piiq. 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.
  • This drug may interact with St. John’s Wort. Talk to your doctor as this could make polatuzumab vedotin-piiq less effective. 

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
  • Chills
  • Tiredness that interferes with your daily activities
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Extreme tiredness, agitation or confusion
  • Symptoms of a seizure such as confusion, blacking out, passing out, loss of hearing or vision, blurred vision, unusual smells or tastes (such as burning rubber), trouble talking, tremors or shaking in parts or all of the body, repeated body movements, tense muscles that do not relax, and loss of control of urine and bowels. If you or your family member suspects you are having a seizure, call 911 right away.
  • Hallucinations
  • Trouble understanding or speaking
  • Loss of control of bowels or bladder
  • Blurry vision or changes in your eyesight
  • Numbness or lack of strength to your arms, legs, face, or body
  • Have a seizure or coma
  • Coughing yellow, green, or bloody mucus.
  • Wheezing or trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea, 4 times in one day or diarrhea with weakness or lightheadedness
  • Lasting loss of appetite or rapid weight loss of five pounds in a week
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in your hands and feet
  • 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.
  • Signs of liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Signs of tumor lysis: Confusion or agitation, decreased urine, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramping, numbness and/or tingling, seizures.
  • If you think you are pregnant or may have impregnated your partner

Reproduction Warnings 

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug can 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 3 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 5 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: Women should not breastfeed during treatment and for at least 2 months after treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: In men, this drug may affect your ability to have children in the future. Talk withyour doctor or nurse if you plan to have children. Ask for information on sperm banking.

Revised June 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. 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.