Generic Name: bevacizumab (be-va-SIZ-yoo-mab)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 29, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Monoclonal Antibody
Uses for bevacizumab
Bevacizumab injection is given with other medicines to treat patients with metastatic (cancer that has spread) carcinoma of the colon or rectum. Bevacizumab is also used to treat a certain type of metastatic lung cancer called nonsquamous, non-small cell lung cancer, and a certain type of brain tumor called glioblastoma that keeps coming back (recurrent).
Bevacizumab injection is also used in combination with other medicines (eg, interferon alfa) to treat patients with metastatic kidney cancer. It is also used in combination with other medicines (eg, paclitaxel and cisplatin, or paclitaxel and topotecan) to treat patients with cervical cancer that is continuing, keeps coming back, or has spread to other parts of the body. Bevacizumab is also used in combination with other medicines (eg, paclitaxel, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin, topotecan, carboplatin and paclitaxel, or carboplatin and gemcitabine followed by Avastin® alone) to treat patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer with or without having previous surgery.
Bevacizumab injection is also used together with atezolizumab to treat a type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that has spread throughout the body (metastatic) or cannot be removed by surgery (unresectable) in patients who have not received other cancer medicines by mouth or injection.
Bevacizumab is a substance that helps the body fight cancer. It prevents the growth of certain types of blood vessels to cancer cells. This helps to decrease the growth of cancer cells by starving the cells of nutrients that are needed to grow.
Bevacizumab is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Before using bevacizumab
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 bevacizumab, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to bevacizumab 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 bevacizumab 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 bevacizumab injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related heart or blood vessel problems, which may require caution in patients receiving bevacizumab injection.
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. When you are receiving bevacizumab, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using bevacizumab with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
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 bevacizumab. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Angina (severe chest pain) or
- Bleeding problems or
- Blood clots or
- Diabetes or
- Esophagus problems or
- Heart attack, history of or
- Heart failure or
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) or
- Kidney problems or
- Liver problems or
- Protein in the urine or
- Stomach or bowel problems (eg, blockage, fistula, perforation) or
- Stroke, history of or
- Wound healing problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Hemoptysis (coughing up blood), recent history of—Should not be used in patients with this condition.
- Surgery, recent—Use with caution. May cause side effects to become worse.
Proper use of bevacizumab
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving bevacizumab, 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 bevacizumab 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 stay in place for at least 30 to 90 minutes every 2 or 3 weeks. Your doctor will decide how many treatments you will need.
Bevacizumab is often given together with other cancer medicines. If you are using a combination of medicines, make sure that you take each one at the proper time and do not mix them. Ask your doctor to help you plan a way to remember to take your medicines at the right times.
Precautions while using bevacizumab
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that bevacizumab is working properly. Blood and urine tests are needed to check for unwanted effects. Be sure to keep all appointments. You may be taught how to check your blood pressure at home.
Receiving bevacizumab while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving bevacizumab and for at least 6 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant while receiving bevacizumab, tell your doctor right away.
Using bevacizumab may increase risk of ovarian failure. Talk with your doctor if you plan to have children. Some women receiving bevacizumab have become infertile (unable to have children).
Bevacizumab can cause stomach or bowel perforation (tear or hole), including blockage. Check with your doctor right away if you have severe stomach pain, constipation, fever, nausea, or vomiting.
Bevacizumab may also increase your risk of having a serious condition called tracheoesophageal fistula (an abnormal opening in one or more places between the esophagus and the trachea). Tell your doctor right away if you start having trouble swallowing, coughing, or choking while eating, trouble breathing, or chest pain or discomfort while you are receiving bevacizumab.
Bevacizumab may affect the way your body heals. Make sure any doctor who treats you knows that you are receiving bevacizumab. You may need to stop receiving it at least 28 days before or after having surgery and until the wound has healed enough.
Bevacizumab can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells in your blood, increasing the chance of getting an infection. It can also lower the number of platelets, which are necessary for proper blood clotting. If this occurs, there are certain precautions you can take, especially when your blood count is low, to reduce the risk of infection or bleeding:
- If you can, avoid people with infections. Check with your doctor immediately if you think you are getting an infection or if you get a fever or chills, cough or hoarseness, lower back or side pain, or painful or difficult urination.
- Check with your doctor right away if you start to cough up blood or if you notice any unusual bleeding or bruising, black, tarry stools, blood in the urine or stools, or pinpoint red spots on your skin.
- Be careful when using a regular toothbrush, dental floss, or toothpick. Your medical doctor, dentist, or nurse may recommend other ways to clean your teeth and gums. Check with your medical doctor before having any dental work done.
- Do not touch your eyes or the inside of your nose unless you have just washed your hands and have not touched anything else in the meantime.
- Be careful not to cut yourself when you are using sharp objects such as a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
Bevacizumab may increase your chance of having bleeding problems. Tell your doctor right away if you start to notice any signs of bleeding.
Bevacizumab may increase your chance of having blood clots or a brain condition called posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES). Tell your doctor right away if you develop chest pain, sudden and severe headaches, fainting spells, seizures, unusual drowsiness, confusion, or problems with vision, speech, or walking while you are using bevacizumab.
Your blood pressure might get too high while you are receiving bevacizumab. This may cause headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision. You might need to measure your blood pressure at home. If you think your blood pressure is too high, call your doctor right away.
Check with your doctor right away if you have bloody urine, a decrease in frequency or amount of urine, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain. These could be symptoms of a serious kidney problem.
Bevacizumab may cause infusion-related reactions, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you start to have a fever, chills or shaking, dizziness, trouble breathing, itching or rash, lightheadedness or fainting after receiving bevacizumab.
Do not receive bevacizumab together with cancer medicines containing anthracycline if you have heart failure.
Bevacizumab 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:
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- body aches or pain
- burning, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
- chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- cloudy urine
- cracks in the skin
- decreased urine output
- difficult or labored breathing
- dilated neck veins
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- ear congestion
- irregular breathing
- irregular heartbeat
- lack or loss of strength
- loss of appetite
- loss of heat from the body
- loss of voice
- mood changes
- pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
- painful or difficult urination
- pinpoint red spots on the skin
- pounding in the ears
- rapid breathing
- redness of the skin
- runny or stuffy nose
- sensation of pins and needles
- slow or fast heartbeat
- sore throat
- sores on the skin
- sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth
- stabbing pain
- sunken eyes
- swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- swelling or inflammation of the mouth
- swollen glands
- trouble breathing
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
- watery or bloody diarrhea
- weight gain
- wrinkled skin
- yellow skin
- Bone pain
- difficulty with swallowing
- severe constipation
- severe vomiting
- stomach pain or tenderness
- Back pain
- blurred vision
- increased thirst
- loss of consciousness
- muscle pain or cramps
- open sores
- pale skin
Incidence not known
- Bloody mucus or unexplained nosebleeds
- heavy jaw feeling
- high fever
- loosening of a tooth
- pain, swelling, or numbness in the mouth or jaw
- stomach cramping or burning
- stomach pain, usually after eating a meal
- sudden weakness in the arms or legs
- sudden, severe chest pain
- unexplained bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- voice changes
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:
- bloody nose
- change in taste or bad unusual or unpleasant (after) taste
- change in walking and balance
- clumsiness or unsteadiness
- dry mouth
- excess flow of tears
- hair loss
- stomach discomfort or upset
- thinning of the hair
- weight loss
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.
Frequently asked questions
- How many biosimilars have been approved in the United States?
- What is the difference between Mvasi and Avastin?
More about bevacizumab
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 30 Reviews
- Drug class: VEGF/VEGFR inhibitors
- FDA Alerts (6)
- Patient Information
- Bevacizumab-awwb Intravenous (Advanced Reading)
- Bevacizumab-bvzr Intravenous (Advanced Reading)
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