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Generic Name: axicabtagene ciloleucel (AKS ee KAB ta jeen SYE loe LOO sel)
Brand Names: Yescarta

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2019.

What is Yescarta?

Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is an immunotherapy medicine used to treat large B-cell lymphoma in adults. This medicine is given after at least two other treatments have failed.

Yescarta is made from your own white blood cells, removed from a small amount of blood drawn from your body.

Yescarta is available under a special program. You must be registered in the program and understand the risks and benefits of this medicine.

Important information

A serious side effect of Yescarta is called cytokine release syndrome, which causes fever, chills, trouble breathing, vomiting, and other symptoms. Your caregivers will have medication available to quickly treat this condition if it occurs.

Yescarta can also cause life-threatening nerve problems. Tell your caregivers or seek emergency medical attention if you have problems with speech, problems with thinking or memory, confusion, or a seizure.

Before taking this medicine

To make sure Yescarta is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • an active or chronic infection;

  • memory problems;

  • a seizure;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • a stroke; or

  • if you have received a vaccine in the past 2 weeks.

Women may need pregnancy testing before receiving this medicine. You may also need to use birth control to prevent pregnancy during and shortly after treatment with Yescarta and chemotherapy.

It is not known whether axicabtagene ciloleucel will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

If you receive Yescarta during pregnancy, your baby's blood may need to be tested after it is born. This is to evaluate any effects the medicine may have had on the baby.

It is not known whether axicabtagene ciloleucel passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How should I take Yescarta?

Your care providers will use an intravenous (IV) needle to draw your blood for collecting the white blood cells. The cells are then frozen and sent to a laboratory where they are made into axicabtagene ciloleucel.

About 3 to 5 days before Yescarta is given, you will be pre-treated with chemotherapy to help prepare your body for axicabtagene ciloleucel.

Just before you receive Yescarta, you will be given other medications to help prevent serious side effects or allergic reaction.

Once your body is ready to receive Yescarta, your care providers will inject the medicine into a vein through an IV.

You will be watched closely for at least 7 days after you receive this medicine, to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction or serious side effects.

You will need frequent blood tests to be sure Yescarta has not caused harmful effects.

For at least 4 weeks, plan to stay near the hospital or clinic where you received Yescarta. Avoid being so far away that it takes you longer than 2 hours to travel back to the hospital.

Yescarta dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Lymphoma:

2 x 10(6) chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-positive viable T cells per kg body weight via IV infusion; infuse within 30 minutes
-Maximum Dose: 2 x 10(8) CAR-positive viable T cells

-Pre-treatment: Administer a lymphodepleting chemotherapy regimen of cyclophosphamide 500 mg/m2 IV and fludarabine 30 mg/m2 IV on the fifth, fourth, and third day before infusion of this drug.
-Premedication: Administer acetaminophen 650 mg orally and diphenhydramine 12.5 mg IV or orally approximately 1 hour before infusion of this drug.
-Avoid prophylactic use of systemic corticosteroids as it may interfere with the activity of this drug.
-This drug is not indicated for the treatment of primary central nervous system lymphoma.

Use: Treatment of relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, high grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Call your doctor for instructions if you miss any of your chemotherapy treatment, or if you miss a dose of your medications to prevent side effects of Yescarta.

What happens if I overdose?

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

What should I avoid while taking Yescarta?

Yescarta can cause weakness, drowsiness, confusion, problems with memory or coordination, and seizures. Avoid driving or operating machinery for at least 8 weeks after you are treated with this medicine.

Do not donate blood, an organ, or any tissues or cells from your own body.

Do not receive a "live" vaccine while using Yescarta, or you could develop a serious infection. Live vaccines include measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), polio, rotavirus, typhoid, yellow fever, varicella (chickenpox), zoster (shingles), and nasal flu (influenza) vaccine.

Yescarta side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Yescarta: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

A serious side effect of Yescarta is called cytokine release syndrome (CRS). Tell your caregivers right away if you have signs of this condition: fever, chills, trouble breathing, confusion, severe vomiting or diarrhea, fast or irregular heartbeats, feeling light-headed, or feeling very weak or tired. Your caregivers will have medication available to quickly treat CRS if it occurs.

Also tell your caregivers or seek emergency medical attention if you have signs of life-threatening nerve problems: problems with speech, problems with thinking or memory, confusion, or a seizure.

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

Common Yescarta side effects may include:

  • nausea, diarrhea;

  • low blood cells;

  • confusion; or

  • fast heartbeats.

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.

What other drugs will affect Yescarta?

Other drugs may interact with axicabtagene ciloleucel, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. 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 Yescarta 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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