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Alemtuzumab (Campath)

Generic Name: Alemtuzumab (Campath) (ay lem TU zoo mab)

Medically reviewed: April 4, 2018

Warning

  • This medicine may cause very bad and sometimes life-threatening infusion reactions. You will be closely watched during the infusion and for some time after. Very bad infusion reactions may also happen up to 24 hours or longer after you get alemtuzumab (campath). Tell your doctor right away if you have chest pain; passing out; fast or slow heartbeat; a heartbeat that does not feel normal; fever; hives; itching; rash; very bad headache or dizziness; shortness of breath or trouble breathing; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue; tightness in the chest or throat; hoarseness that is not normal; or wheezing.
  • Other infusion reactions include change in taste, chills, dizziness, flushing, upset stomach, pain, feeling tired, or not able to sleep. Talk with the doctor.
  • This medicine may cause very bad and sometimes deadly autoimmune problems like some blood problems. Side effects may happen while you get alemtuzumab (campath) and for 4 years after you stop treatment. You will need to have your blood work and urine checked while getting alemtuzumab (campath) and after getting it as you have been told by your doctor. Talk with your doctor.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly infections have happened in patients who take alemtuzumab (campath). If you have any infection, are taking antibiotics now or in the recent past, or have had many infections, talk with your doctor.

Uses of Alemtuzumab:

  • It is used to treat a type of leukemia.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Alemtuzumab?

  • If you have an allergy to alemtuzumab or any other part of alemtuzumab (campath).
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have an infection.
  • If you have a weak immune system or a disease that may cause a weak immune system like HIV.
  • If you have ever had any of these health problems: Any type of cancer or PML.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with alemtuzumab (campath).

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take alemtuzumab (campath) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Alemtuzumab?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take alemtuzumab (campath). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • You may have more chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of infection like fever, chills, flu-like signs, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or a wound that will not heal.
  • You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
  • Call your doctor right away if you have any signs of bleeding problems, like bruising; black, tarry, or bloody stools; bleeding gums; blood in the urine; coughing up blood; cuts that take a long time to stop bleeding; feel dizzy; feeling very tired or weak; nosebleeds; pain or swelling; throwing up blood or throw up that looks like coffee grounds; or very bad headache.
  • Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with alemtuzumab (campath) may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
  • Gallbladder problems have happened with alemtuzumab (campath). Sometimes, these problems can be life-threatening. Talk with the doctor.
  • A very bad brain problem called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) has happened with alemtuzumab (campath). It may cause disability or can be deadly. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs like confusion, memory problems, low mood (depression), change in the way you act, change in strength on 1 side is greater than the other, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, or change in eyesight.
  • Use birth control that you can trust during care and for 6 months after care ends.
  • If you are a man and have sex with a female who could get pregnant, protect her from pregnancy during care and for 6 months after care ends. Use birth control that you can trust.
  • If you or your sex partner gets pregnant while taking alemtuzumab (campath) or within 6 months after stopping alemtuzumab (campath), call your doctor right away.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.

How is this medicine (Alemtuzumab) best taken?

Use alemtuzumab (campath) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
  • Other drugs may be given to help with infusion side effects.
  • Drink lots of noncaffeine liquids every day unless told to drink less liquid by your doctor.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of gallbladder problems like pain in the upper right belly area, right shoulder area, or between the shoulder blades; yellow skin or eyes; fever with chills; bloating; or very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Feeling very tired or weak.
  • Redness or white patches in mouth or throat.
  • Swollen gland.
  • Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, change in eyesight.
  • Slow heartbeat.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Sweating that is not normal.
  • Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
  • Patients with cancer who take alemtuzumab (campath) may be at a greater risk of getting a bad health problem called tumor lysis syndrome (TLS). Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat or a heartbeat that does not feel normal; any passing out; trouble passing urine; muscle weakness or cramps; upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools, or not able to eat; or feel sluggish.

What are some other side effects of Alemtuzumab?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Alemtuzumab?

  • If you need to store alemtuzumab (campath) at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about alemtuzumab (campath), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

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

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