Generic Name: alemtuzumab (AL em TOOZ ue mab)
Brand Name: Campath
What is Campath (alemtuzumab)?
Alemtuzumab is an antibody made from animal DNA.
Alemtuzumab is used to treat chronic B-cell lymphocytic leukemia.
Alemtuzumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about Campath (alemtuzumab)?
You should not receive alemtuzumab if you are allergic to it.
Before you receive alemtuzumab, tell your doctor if you have any type of infection, if you are allergic to mouse or hamster proteins, or if you have regular blood transfusions.
Alemtuzumab can lower blood cells that help your body fight infections and help your blood to clot. Your blood may need to be tested often. Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding injury. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Serious and sometimes fatal infections may occur during treatment with alemtuzumab. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of infection such as: fever, cough, sweating, tired feeling, weakness, confusion, easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleed, bleeding gums), feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, pale or yellowed skin, or dark colored urine.
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using alemtuzumab. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease.
You may be given other medications together with alemtuzumab to help prevent infection or certain side effects. Take these medicines for the full prescribed length of time.
You should not breast-feed while you are receiving alemtuzumab.
What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving Campath (alemtuzumab)?
You should not receive alemtuzumab if you are allergic to it.
To make sure alemtuzumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
any type of bacterial, fungal, or viral infection (including herpes, cytomegalovirus, HIV, or AIDS);
if you are allergic to mouse or hamster proteins; or
if you have regular blood transfusions.
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether alemtuzumab will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while receiving this medication.
It is not known whether alemtuzumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are receiving alemtuzumab.
How is alemtuzumab given?
Alemtuzumab is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Alemtuzumab must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to up to 2 hours to complete.
This medication is usually given for a total or 12 weeks. You may receive the medication every day or 3 days per week, depending on any side effects that occur.
If you have stopped receiving alemtuzumab for longer than 7 days for any reason, you may need to restart the medication at a lower dose.
You may be given an antibiotic and other medications to help prevent certain side effects of alemtuzumab. Take these medicines for the full prescribed length of time, which may include at least 2 months after you stop receiving alemtuzumab.
Alemtuzumab 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. Visit your doctor regularly.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your alemtuzumab injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid while receiving Campath (alemtuzumab)?
Do not receive a "live" vaccine while receiving alemtuzumab. The vaccine may not work as well during this time, and may not fully protect you from disease. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), oral polio, rotavirus, smallpox, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.
Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Campath (alemtuzumab) side effects
Some people receiving an alemtuzumab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregiver right away if you feel hot or cold, nauseated, light-headed, sweaty, or have chest tightness or trouble breathing during the injection.
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: 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, sweating, chills, body aches, flu symptoms, sores in your mouth and throat, weight loss;
pale or yellowed skin, dark colored urine, confusion or weakness;
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nosebleed, bleeding gums), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
cough with yellow or green mucus, wheezing;
tired feeling, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating;
swelling, warmth, redness, tingling, itching, or oozing of the skin;
vision problems, changes in your behavior, seizure (convulsions); or
bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Less serious side effects include:
nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
sleep problems (insomnia);
joint or muscle pain; or
mild itching or 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: Campath side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect Campath (alemtuzumab)?
There may be other drugs that can interact with alemtuzumab. 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 Campath resources
Compare Campath with other medications
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about alemtuzumab.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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