Bevacizumab (Injection)

Introduction

Bevacizumab (be-va-SIZ-yoo-mab)

Treats cancers of the brain, colon, rectum, lungs, kidney, or breast. This medicine is given in combination with other medicines to treat cancer.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Avastin

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

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

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • While you are using this medicine, use two forms of birth control to avoid getting pregnant. Keep using two forms of birth control for at least 6 months after your treatment ends.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, blood pressure problems, or heart disease. Tell your doctor if you have a history of heart attack or stroke.
  • This medicine may increase your chance of having bleeding problems. Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you start to notice any signs of bleeding.
  • This medicine may increase your chance of having blood clots or a brain condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS). Stop using this medicine and tell your doctor right away if you develop chest pain, sudden and severe headaches, fainting spells, seizures, unusual drowsiness, confusion, or problems with vision, speech, or walking while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you are having severe stomach pain with constipation, fever, nausea, and vomiting. These could be symptoms of a serious medical condition.
  • This medicine may also increase your risk of having a serious condition called tracheoesophageal fistula (an abnormal connection in one or more places between the esophagus and the trachea). Tell your doctor right away if you start having trouble swallowing, coughing or choking while eating, trouble breathing, or chest pain or discomfort while you are using this medicine.
  • This medicine may affect the way your body heals from cuts and wounds. Make sure any doctor who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using this medicine several weeks before and after having surgery.
  • 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.
  • This medicine may cause a serious side effect called an infusion reaction. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have fever, chills, trouble with breathing, lightheadedness, fainting, or chest pain within a few hours after you receive it.
  • Your doctor will need to check your urine and blood pressure at regular visits while you are receiving this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments. You may be taught how to check your blood pressure at home.

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.
  • Bleeding from your rectum, or black tarry stools.
  • Bleeding or cracking of a wound or surgery scar.
  • Chest pain or coughing up blood.
  • Constipation, stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Decrease in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, or muscle cramps.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting.
  • Numbness or weakness in your arm or leg, or on one side of your body.
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
  • Pain in your lower leg (calf).
  • Seizures, confusion, or unusual drowsiness.
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweats, and bluish-colored skin.
  • Sudden or severe headaches, or problems with vision, speech, or walking.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Trouble swallowing, or coughing or choking while eating.
  • Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.

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

  • Changes in voice.
  • Diarrhea or loss of appetite.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Hair loss.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Pain.
  • Skin rash.
  • Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Tiredness or weakness.
  • Unusual taste.
  • Weight loss.

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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