Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) reactivation can occur in patients receiving CD20-directed cytolytic antibodies, including ofatumumab, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death. Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) resulting in death can occur in patients receiving CD20-directed cytolytic antibodies, including ofatumumab .
Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antineoplastic Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Monoclonal Antibody
Uses For ofatumumab
Ofatumumab injection is used in combination with chlorambucil to treat a type of cancer of the white blood cells called chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in patients who have not received any treatments in the past. It is also used in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide to treat patients with relapsed CLL. Ofatumumab is also used in patients with CLL who have already been treated with other medicines (eg, alemtuzumab, fludarabine) that did not work well.
Ofatumumab interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are eventually destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by ofatumumab, other unwanted effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Some unwanted effects, such as a skin rash, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some of the unwanted effects do not occur until months or years after the medicine is used.
Before you begin treatment with ofatumumab, you and your doctor should talk about the benefits ofatumumab will do as well as the risks of using it.
Ofatumumab is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before Using ofatumumab
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 ofatumumab, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to ofatumumab 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 ofatumumab 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 ofatumumab injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have unwanted side effects (eg, neutropenia, pneumonia) which may require caution.
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 ofatumumab, 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 ofatumumab with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Measles Virus Vaccine, Live
- Mumps Virus Vaccine, Live
- Rotavirus Vaccine, Live
- Rubella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Varicella Virus Vaccine, Live
- Zoster Vaccine, Live
Using ofatumumab 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
- Influenza Virus Vaccine, Live
- Poliovirus Vaccine, Live
- Smallpox Vaccine
- Typhoid Vaccine
- Yellow Fever Vaccine
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 ofatumumab. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Hepatitis B, or history of—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
- Infection—May decrease your body's ability to fight infection.
Proper Use of ofatumumab
You will receive ofatumumab while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you ofatumumab. Ofatumumab is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Ofatumumab needs to be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least an hour. You may also receive medicines to help prevent allergic reactions.
Precautions While Using ofatumumab
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure ofatumumab is working properly and to check for unwanted effects. Blood and urine tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Ofatumumab may cause chest pain, fever, chills, itching, hives, flushing of the face, rash, dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness, troubled breathing, or swelling of the face, tongue, and throat within a few hours after you receive it. Check with your doctor or nurse right away if you have any of these symptoms.
Ofatumumab may cause a serious type of reaction called tumor lysis syndrome. Your doctor may give you a medicine to help prevent this. Call your doctor right away if you have a decrease or change in urine amount, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, lower back, side, or stomach pain, a rapid weight gain, swelling of the feet or lower legs, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Ofatumumab 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 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 a safety razor or fingernail or toenail cutters.
- Avoid contact sports or other situations where bruising or injury could occur.
Ofatumumab may increase your risk of developing a serious and rare brain infection called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). Check with your doctor right away if you are having more than one of these symptoms: vision changes, loss of coordination, clumsiness, memory loss, difficulty speaking or understanding what others say, and weakness in the legs.
Check with your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of liver problems including skin and eyes turning yellow, dark brown-colored urine, right-sided abdominal or stomach pain, fever, or severe tiredness.
While you are being treated with ofatumumab, do not have any immunizations (vaccines) without your doctor's approval. Live virus vaccines should not be given with ofatumumab or soon after you receive it.
Ofatumumab 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
- bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
- blurred vision
- body aches or pain
- chest pain
- cough or hoarseness
- cough producing mucus
- difficult or labored breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- ear congestion
- facial swelling
- fast heartbeat
- feeling of warmth
- hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
- increased sweating
- loss of voice
- lower back or side pain
- nasal congestion
- nausea or vomiting
- painful blisters on the trunk of the body
- painful or difficult urination
- pale skin
- rapid weight gain
- rapid, shallow breathing
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- runny nose
- sore throat
- tightness in the chest
- tingling of the hands or feet
- troubled breathing
- troubled breathing with exertion
- ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- unusual weight gain or loss
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- pounding in the ears
- slow heartbeat
Incidence not known
- Blistering, peeling, or loosening of the skin
- dark urine
- fluid-filled skin blisters
- joint or muscle pain
- light-colored stools
- no blood pressure or pulse
- red skin lesions, often with a purple center
- red, irritated eyes
- sensitivity to the sun
- skin thinness
- stopping of heart
- yellow eyes or 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:
- Back pain
- muscle aches
- redness of the skin
- trouble sleeping
- Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
- muscle spasms
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
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 ofatumumab
- Ofatumumab Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Support Group
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- Drug class: CD20 monoclonal antibodies
Other brands: Arzerra