Generic Name: emapalumab (em-a-PAL-ue-mab - lzsg)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on June 8, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Immunological Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Emapalumab
Uses for emapalumab-lzsg
Emapalumab-lzsg injection is used to treat a blood disorder called primary hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) that is hard to treat (refractory), recurrent, or has worsened (progressive), or when other treatments that have been used did not work well.
Emapalumab-lzsg is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using emapalumab-lzsg
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 emapalumab-lzsg, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to emapalumab-lzsg 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 performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of emapalumab-lzsg injection in newborns and children. Safety and efficacy have been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of emapalumab-lzsg 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. When you are receiving emapalumab-lzsg, 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 emapalumab-lzsg 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.
- Adenovirus Vaccine
- Bacillus of Calmette and Guerin Vaccine, Live
- Cholera Vaccine, Live
- Dengue Tetravalent Vaccine, Live
- Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
- Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
- Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
- Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
- Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Smallpox Vaccine
- Typhoid Vaccine
- Varicella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Yellow Fever Vaccine
- Zoster Vaccine, Live
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 emapalumab-lzsg. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Infection (eg, fungus, herpes zoster, tuberculosis)—Must be treated first before receiving emapalumab-lzsg.
- Weak immune system—Use with caution. May increase risk for more side effects.
Proper use of emapalumab-lzsg
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you emapalumab-lzsg in a medical facility. It is given through a needle placed into one of your veins. The medicine must be given slowly, so the needle will need to stay in place for at least 1 hour.
You may also be given other medicines (eg, antibiotic, antiviral medicine, steroids) before infusion to prevent serious infections.
Precautions while using emapalumab-lzsg
It is very important that your doctor check your or your child's progress closely while receiving the medicine and at regular visits to make sure emapalumab-lzsg is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You or your child will need to have a skin test or blood test for tuberculosis before you start receiving emapalumab-lzsg. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your home has ever had a positive reaction to a tuberculosis skin or blood test.
Call your doctor right away if you or your child start to have a cough that would not go away, weight loss, night sweats, fever, chills, flu-like symptoms (eg, runny or stuffy nose, headache, blurred vision, or feeling generally ill), painful or difficult urination, or sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips. These may be signs that you have an infection.
You should not receive live or live attenuated vaccines during treatment with emapalumab-lzsg and for at least 4 weeks after the last dose.
Emapalumab-lzsg 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 emapalumab-lzsg.
Emapalumab-lzsg 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:
- back pain
- black, tarry stools
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- bloody stools
- blurred vision
- chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- decreased awareness or responsiveness
- decreased urine
- difficult or labored breathing
- dry mouth
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- feeling of warmth
- increased thirst
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- loss of appetite
- loss of consciousness
- lower back or side pain
- mood changes
- muscle pain, cramps, or twitching
- numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
- painful or difficult urination
- pounding in the ears
- rapid weight gain
- rapid, shallow breathing
- redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest
- severe sleepiness
- slow heartbeat
- swollen glands
- unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
- unusual weight gain or loss
- vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
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:
- lack or loss of strength
- stomach pain
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.
More about emapalumab
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- Drug class: selective immunosuppressants
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.