Alemtuzumab (Injection)

Introduction

Alemtuzumab (al-em-TOOZ-oo-mab)

Treats leukemia.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Campath

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alemtuzumab.

How to Use This Medicine

Injectable

  • Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
  • You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • Your doctor will prescribe your exact dose and tell you how often it should be given. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
  • Each dose is given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for about 2 hours. This medicine is usually given every day for 3 to 7 days, then 3 times a week for up to 12 weeks.
  • You may need to use other medicines to help prevent some side effects of this medicine, such as allergic reaction and infection. Take all medicines exactly as your doctor has prescribed. You may need to continue these other medicines even after you finish treatment with alemtuzumab.

If a dose is missed:

  • This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Talk to your doctor before getting flu shots or other vaccines while you are receiving this medicine. Vaccines may not work as well, or they could make you ill while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • This medicine may cause birth defects if it is used by the mother while she is pregnant or by the father when his sexual partner becomes pregnant. If a pregnancy occurs while you are using this medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Use two forms of birth control to avoid pregnancy while you are using this medicine and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends. This is very important whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have a heart disease, bone marrow problem, or any type of infection or problem with your immune system.
  • This medicine may cause a serious allergic reaction which can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash; itching; swelling of the face, tongue, and throat; trouble breathing; or chest pain after you get the injection.
  • This medicine lowers the number of some types of blood cells in your body. Because of this, you may bleed or get infections more easily. To help with these problems, avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Wash your hands often. Stay away from rough sports or other situations where you could be bruised, cut, or injured. Brush and floss your teeth gently. Be careful when using sharp objects, including razors and fingernail clippers.
  • Cancer medicines can cause nausea and/or vomiting in most people, sometimes even after receiving medicines to prevent it. Ask your doctor or nurse about other ways to control these side effects.
  • Your doctor will need to check your blood at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, or trouble sleeping.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Changes in vision.
  • Chest pain or coughing up blood.
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweat, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Skin rash.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Tremors.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain.
  • Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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