Generic Name: alemtuzumab (AL-em-TOOZ-oo-mab)
Brand Name: Campath
Serious and sometimes fatal infections, blood disorders, and infusion reactions have occurred with the use of alemtuzumab. You will be closely monitored during the infusion and it may be necessary to stop treatment if an infusion reaction occurs. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience chest pain, chills, dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, nausea, rash, hives, rigid muscles, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, unusual hoarseness, tightness in the throat, vomiting, or wheezing.
Alemtuzumab is used for:
Treating B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Alemtuzumab is a monoclonal antibody. It works by helping the immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells.
Do NOT use alemtuzumab if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in alemtuzumab
- you have an active infection
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using alemtuzumab:
Some medical conditions may interact with alemtuzumab. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have bone marrow problems, shingles or chickenpox, high blood pressure, heart disease, or blood vessel problems
- if you have a severe infection (eg, sepsis), a weakened immune system, a disease that affects the immune system (eg, HIV), or a history of long term infection or infection that keeps coming back
- if you are scheduled to have a dental procedure or a vaccination
- if you will be having a blood transfusion
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with alemtuzumab. However, no specific interactions with alemtuzumab are known at this time.
Ask your health care provider if alemtuzumab may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use alemtuzumab:
Use alemtuzumab as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Alemtuzumab is usually given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic. If you will be using alemtuzumab at home, a health care provider will teach you how to use it. Be sure you understand how to use alemtuzumab. Follow the procedures you are taught when you use a dose. Contact your health care provider if you have any questions.
- You may be given fever reducers and antihistamines before receiving alemtuzumab to help decrease the risk of an infusion reaction.
- Do not use alemtuzumab if it contains particles, is cloudy or discolored, or if the vial is cracked or damaged.
- Keep this product, as well as syringes and needles, out of the reach of children and pets. Do not reuse needles, syringes, or other materials. Ask your health care provider how to dispose of these materials after use. Follow all local rules for disposal.
- If you miss a dose of alemtuzumab, contact your doctor right away.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use alemtuzumab.
Important safety information:
- Alemtuzumab may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use alemtuzumab with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
- Alemtuzumab may reduce the number of clot-forming cells (platelets) in your blood. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
- Do not receive a live vaccine (eg, measles, mumps) while you are taking alemtuzumab. Talk with your doctor before you receive any vaccine.
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take alemtuzumab before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Alemtuzumab may lower the ability of your body to fight infection. Avoid contact with people who have colds or infections. Tell your doctor if you notice signs of infection like fever, sore throat, rash, or chills.
- Lab tests, including complete blood cell counts, may be performed while you use alemtuzumab. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Alemtuzumab should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
- Men and women should use effective birth control methods (eg, condoms) while receiving alemtuzumab and for 6 months after the last dose.
- PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Alemtuzumab may cause harm to the fetus. Do not become pregnant while you are using it. If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using alemtuzumab while you are pregnant. It is not known if alemtuzumab is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while you are using alemtuzumab.
Possible side effects of alemtuzumab:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:
Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Anxiety; diarrhea; fatigue; headache; loss of appetite; muscle pain; nausea; stomach pain; trouble sleeping; vomiting.
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); chest pain; fast or irregular heartbeat; lightheadedness when sitting or standing up; numbness of an arm or leg; rigid muscles; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; shortness of breath or wheezing; signs of infection (eg, chills, fever, sore throat); sores or ulcers on the lips or mouth; sudden, severe headache, vomiting, or sweating; swelling of the legs or feet; symptoms of blood problems (eg, unusual bruising or bleeding, severe or persistent tiredness or weakness, sluggishness, unusually pale skin, yellowing of the skin or eyes); vision changes.
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include chest tightness; cough; inability to urinate; shortness of breath; trouble breathing; wheezing.Proper storage of alemtuzumab:
Alemtuzumab is usually handled and stored by a health care provider. If you are using alemtuzumab at home, store alemtuzumab as directed by your pharmacist or health care provider. Keep alemtuzumab out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about alemtuzumab, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Alemtuzumab is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take alemtuzumab or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about alemtuzumab. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to alemtuzumab. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using alemtuzumab.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.
More about alemtuzumab
- Other brands: Campath