Generic Name: paclitaxel protein-bound (PAK li TAX el PRO teen-bound)
Brand Names: Abraxane
What is Abraxane?
Abraxane (paclitaxel) 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. It is usually given after other cancer medicines have been tried without successful treatment.
Abraxane is also used in combination with carboplatin to treat advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
Abraxane may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Abraxane
Do not use Abraxane if you are pregnant. It could harm the unborn baby. 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. You should not use Abraxane if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or if you have a low white blood cell count.
Before you receive Abraxane, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, or bone marrow suppression.
To make sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.
Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect while using Abraxane such as fever, chills, flu symptoms, mouth sores, easy bruising or bleeding, pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, swelling or rapid weight gain, chest pain, sudden cough, rapid heart rate, or trouble breathing.
Before receiving Abraxane
You should not use Abraxane if you are allergic to it, or if you have a low white blood cell count.
To make sure you can safely receive Abraxane, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
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. 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. 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.
See also: Abraxane pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)
How is Abraxane given?
Abraxane is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The injection must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take at least 30 minutes to complete.
Abraxane is usually given once every 3 weeks. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Tell your caregivers if you feel any burning, pain, or swelling around the IV needle when Abraxane is injected.
To make sure Abraxane is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.
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.
Overdose symptoms may include severe forms of some of the side effects listed in this medication guide.
What should I avoid while using Abraxane?
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.
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 a serious side effect such as:
fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat;
feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, heavy sweating, or hot and dry skin;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
feeling like you might pass out;
feeling short of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain;
chest pain, sudden cough, wheezing, trouble breathing, fast heart rate; or
severe skin reaction - fever, sore throat, 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.
Less serious Abraxane side effects may include:
numbness or tingly feeling;
muscle or joint pain;
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: Abraxane side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Abraxane?
Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:
isoniazid (for treating tuberculosis);
montelukast (Singulair) or zafirlukast (Accolate);
selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar);
an antibiotic such as clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S., EryPed, Ery-Tab, Erythrocin, Pediazole), rifampin (Rifater, Rifadin, Rifamate), or telithromycin (Ketek);
an antidepressant such as nefazodone or fluoxetine (Prozac);
antifungal medication such as itraconazole (Sporanox), ketoconazole (Nizoral), miconazole (Oravig), or voriconazole (Vfend);
a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven);
cancer medication such as paclitaxel (Taxol) or tamoxifen (Soltamox);
heart or blood pressure medications such as amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone), carvedilol (Coreg), diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia, Dilacor, Diltia, Diltzac, Taztia, Tiazac), felodipine (Plendil), losartan (Hyzaar, Cozaar), nifedipine (Nifedical, Procardia), torsemide (Demadex), verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan), and others;
HIV/AIDS medicine such as atazanavir (Reyataz), delavirdine (Rescriptor), fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan), nelfinavir (Viracept), saquinavir (Invirase), or ritonavir (Norvir, Kaletra);
seizure medications such as fosphenytoin (Cerebyx), or phenytoin (Dilantin);
oral diabetes medication such as glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol), nateglinide (Starlix), pioglitazone (Actos, Actoplus Met), repaglinide (Prandin), rosiglitazone (Avandia, Avandamet), or tolbutamide (Orinase); or
sulfa drugs (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim, SMX-TMP, and others).
This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Abraxane. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.
More Abraxane resources
Compare Abraxane with other medications
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.
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