Medically reviewed on September 3, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Monoclonal Antibody
Uses For atezolizumab
Atezolizumab injection is used to treat urothelial carcinoma (a type of bladder cancer) that has spread throughout the body (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery (advanced). Atezolizumab is given to patients who have received other cancer medicines (eg, platinum) that did not work well or given to patients who cannot receive cancer medicines containing cisplatin.
Atezolizumab injection is also used to treat metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in patients who have received cancer medicines containing platinum that did not work well.
Atezolizumab is to be given only by or under the supervision of your doctor.
Before Using atezolizumab
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For atezolizumab, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to atezolizumab or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of atezolizumab injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of atezolizumab injection in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of atezolizumab. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Diabetes or
- Immune system problems (eg, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, lupus) or
- Infection or
- Liver problems or
- Lung or breathing problems or
- Nervous system problems (eg, Guillain-Barré syndrome, myasthenia gravis) or
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) or
- Thyroid problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Liver disease, moderate to severe—Use has not been studied in patients with these conditions.
Proper Use of atezolizumab
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before using atezolizumab, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you atezolizumab in a medical facility. It is given through a needle placed into one of your veins. It must be given slowly, so the needle will have to remain in place for 30 to 60 minutes every 3 weeks.
Atezolizumab should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Atezolizumab needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, call your doctor or pharmacist for instructions.
Precautions While Using atezolizumab
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that atezolizumab is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Receiving atezolizumab while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant during treatment with atezolizumab and for at least 5 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Tell your doctor right away if you have a cough, chest tightness, or any type of breathing problem with atezolizumab. These could be symptoms of a serious lung problem.
Check with your doctor right away if you have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, a loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
Colitis (inflammation of the colon) may occur with atezolizumab. Tell your doctor right away if you have stomach pain or tenderness, watery or bloody diarrhea, or fever after receiving the medicine.
Adrenal, pituitary, or thyroid gland problems may occur while you are receiving atezolizumab. Tell your doctor if you have changes in mood or behavior, constipation, dry skin or hair, feeling cold, sensitivity to heat, sweating, trouble sleeping, or weight changes.
Check with your doctor if you have a headache, confusion, seizures, stiff neck, or vomiting while receiving atezolizumab. These may be symptoms of encephalitis.
Check with your doctor right away if you have a severe headache, drowsiness, confusion, general feeling of illness, or stiff neck or back while receiving atezolizumab. These may be symptoms of meningitis.
Atezolizumab may cause inflammation of the heart muscle (myocardium) called myocarditis. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain or discomfort, fever, chills, a fast heartbeat, or trouble breathing.
Call your doctor right away if you have difficulty with breathing, swallowing, or talking, muscle weakness, severe tiredness, or sudden numbness and weakness in the arms or legs. These could be symptoms of a nervous system problem.
Tell your doctor right away if you have a blurred vision, eye pain or redness, or other vision problems while you are receiving atezolizumab.
Pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas) may occur while you are receiving atezolizumab. Tell your doctor right away if you have sudden and severe stomach pain, chills, constipation, nausea, vomiting, fever, or lightheadedness.
Call your doctor right away if you start to have a cough that won't go away, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, painful or difficult urination, or flu-like symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, headache, blurred vision, or feeling generally ill. These may be signs that you have an infection.
Atezolizumab may cause a rare but serious type of allergic reaction called an infusion reaction. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you start to have a skin rash, dizziness, trouble breathing, chest tightness, swelling in your face or hands, fever or chills while you are receiving atezolizumab.
Talk with your doctor before receiving atezolizumab if you plan to have children. Some women who use atezolizumab have become infertile (unable to have children).
Atezolizumab Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Bladder pain
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- bloody or cloudy urine
- difficult, burning, or painful urination
- frequent urge to urinate
- general feeling of tiredness and weakness
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- painful or difficult urination
- rapid weight gain
- stomach cramps
- tingling of the hands or feet
- unusual weight gain or loss
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- Burning, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- chest pain
- dark urine
- depressed mood
- difficulty with chewing, swallowing, or talking
- double vision
- drooping eyelids
- dry skin and hair
- facial swelling
- feeling cold
- general feeling of discomfort or illness
- hair loss
- inability to move the arms and legs
- light-colored stools
- muscle cramp, stiffness, or weakness
- sensation of pins and needles
- sensitivity to heat
- severe headache
- severe tiredness
- skin rash
- slowed heartbeat
- stabbing pain
- stiff neck or back
- sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
- thickening of bronchial secretions
- trouble sleeping
- troubled breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- upper right abdominal or stomach pain
- yellow eyes and skin
- darkening of the skin
- fast heartbeat
- hives, itching
- joint stiffness or swelling
- pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
- redness of the skin
- stiff neck
- swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet
- tightness in the chest
Incidence not known
- Blurred vision
- dry mouth
- flushed, dry skin
- fruit-like breath odor
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- increased urination
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Back or neck pain
- itching skin
- pain in the joints
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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More about atezolizumab
- Atezolizumab Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 1 Review
- Drug class: Anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies
Other brands: Tecentriq