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Generic name: ixabepilone [ IX-ab-EP-i-lone ]
Brand name: Ixempra
Dosage form: intravenous powder for injection (15 mg; 45 mg)
Drug class: Mitotic inhibitors

Medically reviewed by on Aug 16, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is ixabepilone?

Ixabepilone is used to treat advanced breast cancer.

Ixabepilone is usually given after other treatments have failed.

Ixabepilone may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Ixabepilone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: itching, hives, rash; feeling dizzy or faint; warmth or tingly feeling; difficulty breathing, chest tightness; pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Ixabepilone may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • numbness, tingling, burning pain, discomfort, or loss of feeling anywhere in your body;

  • pain or burning when you urinate;

  • unusual weight gain;

  • pain, blisters, bleeding, or severe rash on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet;

  • chest pain, difficult breathing;

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • low blood cell counts--fever, chills, tiredness, mouth sores, skin sores, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, pale skin, cold hands and feet, feeling light-headed or short of breath; or

  • signs of a blood clot--sudden numbness or weakness, problems with vision or speech, swelling or redness in an arm or leg.

Common side effects of ixabepilone may include:

  • blisters or severe rash on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet;

  • headache;

  • tiredness;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • lip, mouth, and esophagus sores;

  • hair loss;

  • fever;

  • anemia, decreased platelets;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea, constipation; or

  • problems with your fingernails or toenails.

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.


You should not use ixabepilone along with capecitabine if you have liver problems.

Ixabepilone can increase your risk of bleeding or infection. Call your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding, or new signs of infection (fever, chills, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, burning when you urinate).

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with ixabepilone if you are allergic to Cremophor (synthetic castor oil).

You may not be able to receive ixabepilone if you have:

  • liver problems and are also taking capecitabine; or

  • low platelets or white blood cell counts.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

Ixabepilone may harm an unborn baby. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy, and tell your doctor if you become pregnant.

You should not breastfeed while using ixabepilone.

How is ixabepilone given?

Ixabepilone is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Ixabepilone is usually given every 3 weeks.

Ixabepilone must be given slowly, and the infusion can take up to 3 hours to complete.

About 1 hour before you receive ixabepilone, you may be given other medications to help prevent certain side effects.

Ixabepilone can increase your risk of bleeding or infection. You will need frequent medical tests. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results.

Ixabepilone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Breast Cancer:

Recommended dosage: 40 mg/m2 IV over 3 hours every 3 weeks
The dosage for patients with a body surface area (BSA) exceeding 2.2 m2 should be calculated based on a 2.2 m2 BSA.

- All patients should be premedicated approximately 1 hour before the infusion (see Administration Advice).

-In combination with capecitabine for the treatment of patients with metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer resistant to treatment with an anthracycline and a taxane, or whose cancer is taxane resistant and for whom further anthracycline therapy is contraindicated.
---Anthracycline resistance is defined as progression while on therapy or within 6 months in the adjuvant setting or 3 months in the metastatic setting.
---Taxane resistance is defined as progression while on therapy or within 12 months in the adjuvant setting or 4 months in the metastatic setting.
-As monotherapy for the treatment of metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer in patients whose tumors are resistant or refractory to anthracyclines, taxanes, and capecitabine.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your ixabepilone injection.

What happens if I overdose?

Since ixabepilone is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving ixabepilone?

Avoid drinking alcohol.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired.

Grapefruit may interact with ixabepilone and lead to unwanted side effects. Avoid the use of grapefruit products.

Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.

What other drugs will affect ixabepilone?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Many drugs can affect ixabepilone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.