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Abraxane

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

Medically reviewed on Oct 14, 2018

What is Abraxane?

See also: Kisqali

Abraxane (paclitaxel) is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.

Abraxane is used to treat cancer of the breast, lung, or pancreas.

Abraxane is sometimes given with other cancer medicines.

Important Information

You should not be treated with 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 paclitaxel is not causing harmful effects. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests.

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

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with Abraxane if you are allergic to paclitaxel, or if you have:

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

  • liver disease;

  • kidney disease; or

  • an allergic reaction to medicines like paclitaxel (such as cabazitaxel or docetaxel).

Abraxane can harm an unborn baby or cause birth defects if the mother or the father is using this medicine.

  • If you are a woman, do not use Abraxane if you are pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your last dose.

  • If you are a man, use effective birth control if your sex partner is able to get pregnant. Keep using birth control for at least 3 months after your last dose.

  • Tell your doctor right away if a pregnancy occurs while either the mother or the father is using Abraxane.

This medicine may affect fertility (ability to have children) in both men and women. However, it is important to use birth control to prevent pregnancy because Abraxane can harm an unborn baby.

Do not breast-feed while you are receiving this medicine, and for at least 2 weeks after your last dose.

How is Abraxane given?

Abraxane is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

For breast cancer, this medicine is usually given once every 3 weeks.

For cancer of the lung or pancreas, this medicine is given in a 21-day or 28-day treatment cycle. You will receive this medicine only on certain days of each cycle.

Your doctor will determine how long to treat you with this medicine.

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

Paclitaxel can lower your blood cell counts. Your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

Abraxane dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

260 mg/m2 IV over 30 minutes every 3 weeks

Use: For metastatic breast cancer, after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy; prior therapy should have included an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated

Usual Adult Dose for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer:

100 mg/m2 IV over 30 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15 of each 21-day cycle; administer carboplatin on Day 1 of each 21-day cycle immediately after paclitaxel protein-bound

Use: For locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as first-line treatment in combination with carboplatin, in patients who are not candidates for curative surgery or radiation therapy

Usual Adult Dose for Pancreatic Cancer:

125 mg/m2 IV over 30 to 40 minutes on Days 1, 8, and 15 of each 28-day cycle; administer gemcitabine immediately after paclitaxel protein-bound on Days 1, 8 and 15 of each 28-day cycle

Use: For metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas as first-line treatment, in combination with gemcitabine

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 while using Abraxane?

Paclitaxel 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 (urine, feces, vomit). 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. Caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up a patient's 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.

Abraxane side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Abraxane (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Call your doctor at once if you have:

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

  • sudden chest pain or discomfort, rapid heart rate;

  • dry cough, shortness of breath, rapid and shallow breathing;

  • dehydration symptoms - headache, muscle pain, feeling very thirsty or hot, being unable to urinate, dark urine, dry mouth, hot and dry skin; or

  • low blood cell counts - fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath.

Common Abraxane side effects may include:

  • fever, chills, or other signs of infection;

  • numbness or tingling;

  • hair loss, rash;

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite;

  • irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath;

  • feeling weak or tired;

  • muscle and joint pain;

  • swelling in your hands or feet;

  • abnormal liver function tests; or

  • dehydration.

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.

What other drugs will affect Abraxane?

Other drugs may interact with paclitaxel, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

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

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