Generic Name: paclitaxel protein-bound (PAK li TAX el PRO teen-bound)
Brand Names: Abraxane

What is Abraxane?

Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound) is a cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Abraxane is used in the treatment of breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Abraxane is sometimes given with other cancer medicines.

Abraxane may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not receive Abraxane if you have a very low white blood cell count.

You may need frequent medical tests at your doctor's office to be sure Abraxane is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

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Abraxane can weaken your immune system. Your blood may need to be tested often.

Before receiving Abraxane

You should not receive Abraxane if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or if you have a low white blood cell count.

To make sure Abraxane is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • heart disease, heart rhythm disorder; or

  • bone marrow suppression.

FDA pregnancy category D. Do not use Abraxane if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. Use effective birth control, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Use birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving Abraxane, whether you are a man or a woman. Abraxane use by either parent may cause birth defects. Follow your doctor's instructions about how long to prevent pregnancy after your treatment ends.

It is not known whether paclitaxel protein-bound passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving Abraxane.

How is Abraxane given?

Abraxane is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Abraxane is usually given for breast cancer once every 3 weeks. For lung cancer or pancreatic cancer, this medicine is given in a 21-day or 28-day treatment cycle, and you may only need to receive the medicine during the first 1 to 2 weeks of each cycle. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when this medicine is injected.

Abraxane can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Abraxane injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Abraxane can be harmful if it gets in your eyes, mouth, or nose, or on your skin. If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water or rinse the eyes thoroughly with plain water.

This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.

Body fluids should not be handled by a woman who is pregnant or who may become pregnant. Use condoms during sexual activity to avoid exposure to body fluids.

Abraxane side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Abraxane: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in your hands or feet;

  • fever, swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms;

  • pale skin, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, feeling very weak or tired;

  • feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, trouble breathing, irregular heart rate;

  • feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin; or

  • severe skin reaction -- swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.

Common Abraxane side effects may include:

  • muscle or joint pain;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; or

  • hair loss, mild rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Abraxane?

Other drugs may interact with paclitaxel protein-bound, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Abraxane.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Abraxane only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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