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Abecma

Generic Name: idecabtagene vicleucel
Dosage Form: suspension for intravenous infusion

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on March 28, 2021.

What is Abecma?

Abecma is for the treatment of multiple myeloma in patients who have received at least four kinds of treatment regimens that have not worked or have stopped working.

Abecma is a medicine made from your own white blood cells; the cells are genetically modified to recognize and attack your multiple myeloma cells.

Important information

Abecma may cause side effects that are life-threatening and can lead to death. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away if you get any of the following:

  • difficulty breathing
  • fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • chills/shivering
  • confusion
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • shaking or twitching (tremor)
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • severe fatigue
  • severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

It is important that you tell your healthcare providers that you have received Abecma and to show them your Patient Wallet Card. Your healthcare provider may give you other medicines to treat your side effects.

How will I receive Abecma?

Abecma is made from your own white blood cells, so your blood will be collected by a process called “leukapheresis”.

Your blood cells will be sent to a manufacturing center to make your Abecma. Based on clinical trial experience, it takes about 4 weeks from the time your cells are received at the manufacturing site and are available to be shipped back to your healthcare provider, but the time may vary.

Before you receive treatment, your healthcare provider will give you chemotherapy for 3 days to prepare your body.

When your treatment is ready, your healthcare provider will give the Abecma to you through a catheter (tube) placed into your vein (intravenous infusion). Your dose may be given in one or more infusion bags. The infusion usually takes up to 30 minutes for each infusion bag.

You will be monitored at the certified healthcare facility where you received your treatment daily for at least 7 days after the infusion.

You should plan to stay within 2 hours of this location for at least 4 weeks after receiving treatment. Your healthcare provider will check to see that your treatment is working and help you with any side effects that may occur.

What should I avoid after receiving Abecma?

  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or do other activities that could be dangerous if you are not mentally alert, for at least 8 weeks after you receive treatment. This is because the treatment can cause temporary memory and coordination problems, sleepiness, confusion, dizziness, and seizures.
  • Do not donate blood, organs, tissues, or cells for transplantation.

Abecma side effects

The most common side effects are:

  • fatigue
  • fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • chills/shivering
  • severe nausea or diarrhea
  • decreased appetite
  • headache
  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • confusion
  • difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • fast or irregular heartbeat

Abecma can cause a very common side effect called cytokine release syndrome or CRS, which can be severe or fatal. Symptoms of CRS include fever, difficulty breathing, dizziness or light-headedness, nausea, headache, fast heartbeat, low blood pressure, or fatigue. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop fever or any of these other symptoms after receiving treatment.

Abecma can increase the risk of life-threatening infections that may lead to death. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you develop fever, chills, or any signs or symptoms of an infection.

Abecma can lower one or more types of your blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets), which may make you feel weak or tired or increase your risk of severe infection or bleeding. After treatment, your healthcare provider will test your blood to check for this. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get a fever, are feeling tired, or have bruising or bleeding.

Having Abecma in your blood may cause a false-positive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) test result by some commercial tests.

These are not all the possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

General information about the safe and effective use of Abecma

Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider for information that is written for health professionals.

More about Abecma (idecabtagene vicleucel)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.