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Is Tepezza a chemotherapy drug?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on June 7, 2022.

Official answer


No, Tepezza is not used for chemotherapy or to treat any form of cancer. Tepezza is used to treat Thyroid Eye Disease, an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a condition that causes your body's immune system to mistakenly attack healthy cells in your body instead of foreign substances.

Chemotherapy (often just called 'chemo') is the use of anticancer drugs which kill rapidly-dividing cells in different ways like damaging DNA, halting cell division, or blocking cell metabolism. Chemo may be used in conditions like lung cancer, breast cancer or Hodgkin's disease.

Does Tepezza cause hair loss?

Like some forms of chemotherapy, Tepezza has been reported to cause loss of hair (alopecia). Tepezza lead to alopecia in 13% of patients receiving the medicine compared to 8% of patients receiving a placebo (a substance with no active drug).

Learn more: Tepezza side effects (in more detail)

Can TED lead to blindness?

Yes, Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is considered a rare but serious autoimmune disease that can threaten your vision. A nerve complication (neuropathy) may occur that can lead to blindness in 6% to 9% of patients with this diagnosis.

What causes TED?

  • TED is caused by autoantibodies that activate the IGF-1R-mediated signaling complex on cells within the retro-orbital space (behind the eye).
  • It leads to symptoms like eye bulging and double vision in over half of patients. It also causes blurred vision, eye pain, redness and swelling.
  • TED often occurs in people living with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).

Is Tepezza a biologic?

Yes, Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) from Horizon Therapeutics is a targeted biologic inhibitor of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) used to treat TED. It is a fully human monoclonal antibody and blocks IGF-1R activation and signaling, but its full mechanism of action is not known.

Biological products are typically derived from a living organism, such as human, animal, microorganism or yeast cells. Clinically, they are used to treat patients with cancer, kidney diseases and autoimmune diseases.

Tepezza is given by your doctor as an intravenous (IV) infusion into a vein once every three weeks for a total of eight infusions.

Learn More: What is the mechanism of how Tepezza works?

This is not all the information you need to know about Tepezza (teprotumumab-trbw) for safe and effective use. Review the full Tepezza product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.

  • Tepezza (teprotumumab) product information. Lake Forest, IL. Horizon Therapeutics USA, Inc. Accessed June 7, 2022at
  • Douglas RS, Kahaly GJ, Patel A, et al. Teprotumumab for the treatment of active thyroid eye disease. N Engl J Med. 2020;382(4):341-52. Accessed June 7, 2022 at doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1910434.
  • Weightman DR, et al. Autoantibodies to IGF-1 Binding Sites in Thyroid Associated Ophthalmopathy. Autoimmunity. 1993; 16(4): 251–257. Accessed June 7, 2022 at DOI: 10.3109/08916939309014643

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