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Xgeva

Generic Name: denosumab (den OH sue mab)
Brand Names: Xgeva

Medically reviewed on January 23, 2018.

What is Xgeva?

Xgeva (denosumab) is a monoclonal antibody. Monoclonal antibodies are made to target and destroy only certain cells in the body. This may help to protect healthy cells from damage.

The Xgeva brand of denosumab is used to prevent bone fractures and other skeletal conditions in people with multiple myeloma, and in people with tumors that have spread to the bone.

Xgeva is also used to treat giant cell bone tumor in adults and teenagers with fully matured bone structure.

Xgeva is also used to treat high blood levels of calcium caused by cancer, when other medicines such as pamidronate or zoledronic acid (Zometa) have been used without success.

Prolia is another brand of denosumab used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who have high risk of bone fracture.

Important information

This medication guide provides information about the Xgeva brand of denosumab. Prolia is another brand of denosumab used to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women who have high risk of bone fracture.

Do not use denosumab if you are pregnant.

You should not receive Xgeva if you are allergic to denosumab, or if you have low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia).

Before you receive this medicine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease or if you are on dialysis.

Some people using Xgeva have developed bone loss in the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw. Symptoms may include jaw pain, swelling, numbness, loose teeth, gum infection, or slow healing after injury or surgery involving the gums. You may be more likely to develop osteonecrosis of the jaw if you have cancer or have been treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other conditions associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre-existing dental problem.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are receiving Xgeva. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Before receiving Xgeva

You should not receive Xgeva if you are allergic to denosumab or if you have low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia).

While you are receiving Xgeva, you should not use Prolia, another brand of denosumab.

To make sure you can safely use this medicine, tell your doctor if you have kidney disease (or if you are on dialysis).

Xgeva may cause bone loss (osteonecrosis) in the jaw. Symptoms include jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, or slow healing after dental work.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw may be more likely if you have cancer or received chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other risk factors include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre-existing dental problem.

Denosumab can harm an unborn baby. You may need to have a negative pregnancy test before starting this treatment. Use effective birth control while using this medicine, and for at least 5 months after your last dose.

You should not breast-feed while using Xgeva.

How is Xgeva given?

Xgeva is injected under the skin of your stomach, upper thigh, or upper arm. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Xgeva is usually given once every 4 weeks.

Your doctor may have you take extra calcium and vitamin D while you are being treated with denosumab. Take only the amount of calcium and vitamin D that your doctor has prescribed.

If you need to have any dental work (especially surgery), tell the dentist ahead of time that you are receiving Xgeva. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

Pay special attention to your dental hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth regularly while receiving this medication. You may need to have a dental exam before you begin treatment with this medicine. Follow your doctor's instructions.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss an appointment for your Xgeva 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?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Xgeva side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction to Xgeva: itching, rash, hives; difficult breathing; feeling like you might pass out; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or unusual pain in your thigh, hip, or groin;

  • trouble breathing;

  • low red blood cells (anemia)- pale skin, feeling light-headed or short of breath, rapid heart rate, trouble concentrating; or

  • low levels of calcium in your blood (hypocalcemia) - numbness or tingly feeling around your mouth or in your fingers or toes, muscle tightness or contraction, overactive reflexes.

After you stop using this medicine, tell your doctor if you have symptoms of high calcium levels (hypercalcemia) such as nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, lack of energy, or tiredness.

Common Xgeva side effects may include:

  • feeling weak or tired;

  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea, constipation;

  • headache, back pain; or

  • pain or swelling in your arms or legs.

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 Xgeva?

Other drugs may interact with denosumab, 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.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Xgeva only for the indication prescribed.

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

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