Generic Name: Bevacizumab (be vuh SIZ uh mab)
Brand Name: Avastin
- Very bad and sometimes deadly holes in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract or fistulas have happened with Avastin (bevacizumab). Talk with the doctor.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly bleeding problems have happened with this medicine. Talk with the doctor.
- Do not take Avastin if you have very bad bleeding or if you have recently coughed up blood.
- This medicine may affect how wounds heal. If you need to have surgery, you may need to stop this medicine before surgery. Start taking it again after surgery as you have been told by your doctor. Talk with your doctor.
Uses of Avastin:
- It is used to treat cancer.
- It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine is not approved for use in children. However, the doctor may decide the benefits of taking Avastin outweigh the risks. If your child has been given this medicine, ask the doctor for information about the benefits and risks. Talk with the doctor if you have questions about giving Avastin to your child.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Avastin?
- If you have an allergy to bevacizumab or any other part of this medicine.
- 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 Avastin is being used to treat ovarian cancer and the cancer is also in certain parts of your bowels or you have bowel blockage.
- If you are breast-feeding. Do not breast-feed while you take this medicine.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Avastin.
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 this medicine 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 Avastin?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take Avastin. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- You may have more of a chance of getting an infection. Wash hands often. Stay away from people with infections, colds, or flu. Some infections have been very bad and even deadly.
- 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.
- Blood clots have happened with this medicine. Sometimes, blood clots like heart attack and stroke have been deadly. Talk with the doctor.
- Call your doctor right away if you have signs of a blood clot like chest pain or pressure; coughing up blood; shortness of breath; swelling, warmth, numbness, change of color, or pain in a leg or arm; or trouble speaking or swallowing.
- A very bad and sometimes deadly brain problem called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES) has happened with Avastin (bevacizumab). Call your doctor right away if you have signs like feeling confused, lowered alertness, change in eyesight, loss of eyesight, seizures, or very bad headache.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly kidney problems have happened with this medicine. Call your doctor right away if you are unable to pass urine or if you have blood in the urine or a change in the amount of urine passed.
- High blood pressure has happened with drugs like this one. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- Some patients have very bad side effects during the infusion. Tell your doctor if you have any bad effects during the infusion.
- Talk with your doctor before getting any vaccines. Use with Avastin may either raise the chance of an infection or make the vaccine not work as well.
- If you are 65 or older, use this medicine with care. You could have more side effects.
- This medicine may cause you to not be able to get pregnant. Talk with the doctor.
- This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant.
- Use birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy while taking Avastin and for 6 months after stopping this medicine.
- If you get pregnant while taking Avastin or within 6 months after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
How is this medicine (Avastin) best taken?
Use this medicine 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.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Have your urine checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- If you have upset stomach, throwing up, loose stools (diarrhea), or are not hungry, talk with your doctor. There may be ways to lower these side effects.
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 or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
- Signs of electrolyte problems like mood changes, confusion, muscle pain or weakness, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, seizures, not hungry, or very bad upset stomach or throwing up.
- A fast heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath, a big weight gain, or swelling in the arms or legs.
- Very upset stomach or throwing up.
- Very hard stools (constipation).
- Very bad belly pain.
- Skin wound that will not heal.
- Mouth irritation.
- Sweating a lot.
- Redness or irritation of the palms of hands or soles of feet.
- A very bad skin problem (necrotizing fasciitis) has happened in people taking Avastin. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Call your doctor right away if your skin is warm with red or purple areas of swelling that spread quickly. Call your doctor right away if you have ulcers, blisters, black spots on the skin, or any other skin changes that concern you.
What are some other side effects of Avastin?
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:
- Belly pain.
- Back pain.
- Muscle or joint pain.
- Hard stools (constipation).
- Loose stools (diarrhea).
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Feeling tired or weak.
- Not hungry.
- Hair loss.
- Dry skin.
- Change in nails.
- Change in taste.
- Weight loss.
- Dry mouth.
- Change in voice.
- Runny nose.
- Not able to sleep.
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 Avastin?
- If you need to store this medicine at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer
- 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.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Avastin, 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.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 Avastin. 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 the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using Avastin (bevacizumab).
Review Date: September 6, 2017
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