Skip to main content

Ixabepilone (Intravenous)

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 26, 2022.

Intravenous route(Powder for Solution)

Ixabepilone in combination with capecitabine is contraindicated in patients with AST or ALT greater than 2.5 times the ULN or bilirubin greater than 1 time the ULN due to an increased risk of toxicity and neutropenia-related death .

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Ixempra

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Powder for Solution

Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent

Pharmacologic Class: Mitotic Inhibitor

Chemical Class: Epothilone

Uses for ixabepilone

Ixabepilone injection is used alone or together with other medicine (eg, capecitabine) to treat metastatic (cancer that has spread) or locally advanced breast cancer in patients who have received other cancer treatments (eg, anthracyclines, taxanes, and capecitabine) that did not work well.

Ixabepilone injection belongs to the group of medicines called antineoplastics (cancer medicines). It interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed. Since the growth of normal cells will also be affected by ixabepilone, other side effects may occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor right away.

Ixabepilone is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.

Before using ixabepilone

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 ixabepilone, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ixabepilone 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.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of ixabepilone injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ixabepilone injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have serious unwanted effects, which may require caution in patients receiving ixabepilone.

Breastfeeding

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 ixabepilone, 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 ixabepilone 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.

  • Apalutamide
  • Boceprevir
  • Carbamazepine
  • Clarithromycin
  • Cobicistat
  • Conivaptan
  • Enzalutamide
  • Fosphenytoin
  • Idelalisib
  • Indinavir
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lopinavir
  • Lumacaftor
  • Mitotane
  • Nefazodone
  • Nelfinavir
  • Phenytoin
  • Posaconazole
  • Rifampin
  • Ritonavir
  • Saquinavir
  • St John's Wort
  • Telaprevir
  • Telithromycin
  • Voriconazole

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 ixabepilone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to a medicine (eg, Taxol®) that contains Cremophor® EL or polyoxyethylated castor oil or
  • Liver disease, severe or
  • Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Diabetes—Use with caution. Ixabepilone may increase your chance of having nerve problems.
  • Heart disease, or history of or
  • Peripheral neuropathy (nerve problem)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Liver disease, mild—Use with caution. Ixabepilone should not be given with capecitabine to patients with this condition.

Proper use of ixabepilone

Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many unwanted effects. Before receiving ixabepilone, 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 ixabepilone in a medical facility. It is given through a needle placed into one of your veins. Ixabepilone must be given slowly, so the needle will have to remain in place for at least 3 hours. It is usually given every 3 weeks.

Ixabepilone should come with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have questions.

You may receive other medicines (eg, stomach medicine, allergy medicine, steroid medicine) at least 1 hour before receiving ixabepilone to help prevent unwanted reactions.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using ixabepilone.

Precautions while using ixabepilone

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure ixabepilone is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Receiving ixabepilone while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. If you are a woman who can get pregnant, your doctor may give you a pregnancy test before you start receiving ixabepilone to make sure you are not pregnant. Use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for at least 7 months after the last dose. Male patients with female partners should use an effective form of birth control during treatment and for at least 4 months after the last dose. If you think you have become pregnant during treatment with ixabepilone, tell your doctor right away.

Ixabepilone may cause nerve problems (eg, peripheral neuropathy). Check with your doctor right away if you or your child are having burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations in the arms, hands, legs, or feet.

Ixabepilone injection 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 counts are 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 have painful or difficult urination.
  • Check with your doctor immediately 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 safety razors and fingernail or toenail cutters.
  • Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.

Ixabepilone may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain, chills, cough, dizziness or lightheadedness, fast heartbeat, fever, itching, nausea or vomiting, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, or trouble breathing after receiving ixabepilone.

Check with your doctor right away if you have chest pain, fast or uneven heartbeat, nausea, pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back ,or neck, sweating, trouble breathing, or vomiting. These could be symptoms of a serious heart problem.

Ixabepilone contains alcohol, which may cause some people to become dizzy or drowsy. If any of these side effects occur, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

Some men and women who use ixabepilone have become infertile (unable to have children). Talk with your doctor before using ixabepilone if you plan to have children.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Ixabepilone 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:

More common

  • Black, tarry stools
  • body aches or pain
  • burning, numbness, tingling, or painful sensations
  • burning pain on urination
  • chest pain or tightness
  • chills
  • cough
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • lower back or side pain
  • painful or difficult urination
  • pale skin
  • red, swelling, or painful skin
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • scaling of the skin on the hands and feet
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips, tongue, or inside the mouth
  • swelling of the hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • swollen glands
  • tingling of the hands and feet
  • trouble breathing
  • ulceration of the skin
  • unsteadiness or awkwardness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • unusual weight gain
  • weakness in the arms, hands, legs, or feet

Less common

  • Bleeding gums
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • confusion
  • decreased urination
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • hives, itching, skin rash
  • hoarseness
  • increase in heart rate
  • irritation
  • joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • lightheadedness
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • rapid breathing
  • sunken eyes
  • swelling of the eyelids, face, or lips
  • thirst
  • trouble with swallowing
  • wrinkled skin

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:

More common

  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • bone pain
  • change in taste
  • cracked lips
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • discoloration of the fingernails or toenails
  • feeling of warmth
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • heartburn
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • stomach pain
  • sudden sweating
  • swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Less common

  • Darkening of the skin
  • flaking and falling off of the skin
  • trouble sleeping
  • watering of the eyes

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.

Further information

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