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How is Darzalex administered?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on April 8, 2022.

Official answer

  • Darzalex IV is administered by an intravenous infusion (a bag of the solution is transfused directly into a vein) and Darzalex Faspro is given as a subcutaneous (SC) injection under the skin.
  • Preinfusion medications, such as corticosteroids, acetaminophen, and antihistamines need to be administered one to three hours before an infusion of Darzalex or a SC injection of Darzalex Faspro.
  • The first infusion of Darzalex takes around seven to eight hours. This is because there is a risk of infusion reactions with the very first infusion of Darzalex. This risk diminishes with subsequent infusions.
  • The first and subsequent injection of Darzalex Faspro takes 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Subsequent infusions of Darzalex take around three to four hours.

Darzalex (daratumumab) is a targeted treatment that may be used to treat adult patients with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer). It works by blocking a certain protein on stem cells causing cell death and reducing the numbers of other cells. It also helps your immune system identify and destroy multiple myeloma cells.

Darzalex is usually given after other treatments have failed and are sometimes used in combination with other cancer medicines.

How is Darzalex given?

Darzalex is administered by infusion directly into a vein and Darzalex Faspro is given as a subcutaneous (SC) injection under the skin. Other medications, such as corticosteroids, antipyretics, and antihistamines are given before and after the infusion to help prevent serious side effects or an allergic reaction.

The first infusion needs to be given slowly (over approximately 7 to 8 hours) because there is a risk of allergic reactions associated with Darzalex. The risk of reactions decreases with subsequent infusions which can be given over about 4 hours for the second infusion and 3 hours for subsequent infusions. Darzalex Faspro is given SC over approximately 3–5 minutes.

How often Darzalex or Darzalex Faspro is given depends upon what other treatments it is used with or what you have already received.

How does Darzalex work?

A protein called CD38 exists on the surface of hematopoietic cells – these are the stem cells that give rise to other blood cells. CD38 has multiple functions, such as cell binding (including during inflammation), cell signaling, and regulating enzyme activity.

Darzalex binds strongly and specifically to CD38, and once bound induces an immune response that results in the death of myeloid cancer cells.

Darzalex also reduces the numbers of myeloid-derived suppressor cells – these are immune cells that originate from bone marrow stem cells whose numbers are significantly increased during chronic infections and cancer, as a result of hematopoiesis (the formation of a range of different blood cells from bone marrow stem cells).

Antibodies are proteins that are used by the immune system to protect our body against foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. They can be classified into five main subtypes IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM based on the sequence and structure. Darzalex is an IgG monoclonal antibody.


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