Generic Name: bevacizumab (bev a CIZ oo mab)
Brand Name: Avastin
What is bevacizumab?
Bevacizumab is a cancer medicine that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body.
Bevacizumab is used to treat a certain type of brain tumor, and certain types of cancers of the kidney, lung, colon, rectum, cervix, ovary, or fallopian tube. Bevacizumab is also used to treat cancer of the membrane lining the internal organs in your abdomen. It is usually given as part of a combination of cancer medicines.
Bevacizumab may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about bevacizumab?
Bevacizumab can make it easier for you to bleed. Contact your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you have any bleeding that will not stop. You may also have bleeding on the inside of your body, such as in your stomach or intestines, or in your brain.
Call your doctor at once if you have: signs of bleeding in your digestive tract-- feeling very weak or dizzy, severe stomach pain, black or bloody stools, or if you cough up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; or signs of bleeding in the brain--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, or problems with vision or balance.
Bevacizumab can also cause problems with wound healing, which could result in bleeding or infection. Do not use this medicine within 28 days before or after a planned surgery.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving bevacizumab?
You should not use bevacizumab if you are allergic to it, or:
if you have slow healing of a skin wound or surgical incision;
if you have had surgery within the past 4 weeks (28 days);
if you have recently been coughing up blood; or
if you plan to have surgery within the next 4 weeks (28 days).
To make sure bevacizumab is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
heart disease, high blood pressure;
a history of heart attack, stroke, or blood clots;
a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder; or
a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or perforation (a hole or tear) in your esophagus, stomach, or intestines.
It is not known whether bevacizumab will harm an unborn baby. In animal studies, bevacizumab caused birth defects. However, it is not known whether these effects would occur in humans. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends.
Bevacizumab may cause a woman's ovaries to stop working correctly. Symptoms of ovarian failure include 3 or more missed menstrual periods in a row. This may affect your fertility (ability to have children). Talk to your doctor about your specific risks.
It is not known whether bevacizumab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are being treated with bevacizumab.
How is bevacizumab given?
Bevacizumab is injected into a vein through an IV. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.
Some people receiving a bevacizumab injection have had a reaction to the infusion (when the medicine is injected into the vein). Tell your caregivers if you feel dizzy, nauseated, light-headed, sweaty, or have a headache, shortness of breath, or chest pain during the injection.
Bevacizumab is usually given once every 2 weeks.
Your blood pressure will need to be checked often. Protein levels in your urine may also need to be tested.
Bevacizumab can cause problems with wound healing, which could result in bleeding or infection. If you need to have any type of surgery, you will need to stop receiving bevacizumab at least 28 days ahead of time. Do not start using bevacizumab for at least 28 days after surgery, or until your surgical incision heals.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your bevacizumab injection.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using bevacizumab?
Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
Bevacizumab side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Bevacizumab can make it easier for you to bleed. Call your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you have:
easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, rectum), or any bleeding that will not stop;
signs of bleeding in your digestive tract--severe stomach pain, bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
signs of bleeding in the brain--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, problems with vision or balance.
Bevacizumab can cause a rare but serious neurologic disorder affecting the brain. Symptoms may occur within hours of your first dose, or they may not appear for up to a year after your treatment started. Call your doctor at once if you have extreme weakness or tiredness, headache, confusion, vision problems, fainting, or seizure (blackout or convulsions).
Some people receiving bevacizumab have developed a fistula (an abnormal passageway) within the throat, lungs, gallbladder, kidney, bladder, or vagina. Call your doctor if you have: chest pain and trouble breathing, stomach pain or swelling, urine leakage, or if you feel like you are choking and gagging when you eat or drink.
Also call your doctor if you have:
fever, chills, vomiting, and constipation;
swollen gums, painful mouth sores, pain when swallowing, skin sores, cold or flu symptoms, cough;
pain, swelling, warmth, or redness in one or both legs;
chest tightness or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
missed menstrual periods;
signs of any skin infection--sudden redness, warmth, swelling, or oozing, or any skin wound or surgical incision that will not heal; or
dangerously high blood pressure--severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears, nosebleed, anxiety, confusion, severe chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats.
Older adults may be more likely to have side effects from this medication.
Common side effects may include:
nosebleed, rectal bleeding;
increased blood pressure;
mild or occasional headache;
runny nose, sneezing;
dry or watery eyes;
dry or flaky skin;
changes in your sense of taste; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
What other drugs will affect bevacizumab?
Other drugs may interact with bevacizumab, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
More about Avastin (bevacizumab)
Related treatment guides
Where can I get more information?
- Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about bevacizumab.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 15.01.
Last reviewed: June 26, 2015
Date modified: January 10, 2017