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Palifermin (Intravenous)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 28, 2022.

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Kepivance

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Powder for Solution

Therapeutic Class: Protectant, Dental

Pharmacologic Class: Keratinocyte Growth Factor

Uses for palifermin

Palifermin injection is used to prevent or lessen side effects (such as swelling, irritation, sores or ulcers on the lining of the mouth) caused by cancer medicines that are used to treat blood or bone marrow problems. Palifermin is used in patients who will be needing hematopoietic stem cell support.

Palifermin is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of a doctor.

Before using palifermin

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 palifermin, the following should be considered:


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to palifermin 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 palifermin injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.


Although appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of palifermin injection have not been performed in the geriatric population, no geriatric-specific problems have been documented to date.


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 palifermin, 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 palifermin with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Heparin

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

  • Other types of cancer or tumors—It is not known if palifermin will work in patients with these conditions.

Proper use of palifermin

A nurse or other trained health professional will give you palifermin in a hospital. Palifermin is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.

Palifermin is given for 3 consecutive days before and 3 consecutive days after cancer treatment, for a total of 6 doses.

Precautions while using palifermin

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it.

Palifermin may cause some tumors (not blood or bone marrow tumors) to grow. Tell your doctor right away if you have had any other types of tumor or cancer.

Tell your doctor right away if you have the following symptoms after receiving palifermin: a rash, itching, reddening of the skin, swelling of the tongue, or unusual taste in your mouth.

Palifermin 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

  • Fever


  • Skin rash (severe)

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
  • blurred vision
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • change in taste
  • difficulty with moving
  • discoloration of the tongue
  • dizziness
  • flushing or redness of the skin
  • headache
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • increased sensitivity to touch
  • itching skin
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • nervousness
  • pain
  • pain in the joints
  • pounding in the ears
  • rash (mild)
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • swelling
  • thickening of the tongue
  • tingling in the hands and feet
  • unusually warm skin

Incidence not known

  • redness or swelling of the vagina
  • redness, swelling, or pain of the skin
  • scaling of the skin on the hands and feet
  • ulceration of the skin

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.