Atezolizumab is used to treat cancer of the lungs, bladder and urinary tract.
This medicine may be used on its own or together with other anti-cancer medicines to kill cancer cells.
Atezolizumab injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein). It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
The dose of Atezolizumab will be decided by your doctor. Your doctor will advise you on the course of your treatment depending on the type and severity of your condition, effectiveness of the therapy, and your tolerability to this medicine.
Atezolizumab is initially given for an hour. You will need to rest in the hospital ward or clinic while you are on this medicine drip.
This medicine must be administered regularly for it to be effective. Continue Atezolizumab therapy even when you feel better. Do not stop your treatment unless instructed by the doctor.
Ensure that you keep all appointments with your doctor so that you do not miss any doses. Your doctor also needs to regularly monitor your response to Atezolizumab.
If you miss an appointment or miss an injection, alert your doctor or nurse. A replacement appointment or injection should be given as soon as possible and the schedule of administration may be adjusted to maintain a 3-week interval between doses.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history or current autoimmune disease (a condition where the immune system mistakenly attacks the body)
- history or current infection
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with Atezolizumab. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Avoid breastfeeding during treatment and for 4 months after your final dose of this medicine.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Screening and assessment of tumour status may be needed to check the appropriateness of Atezolizumab therapy.
- You may need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine and the health of your liver and thyroid gland. Your doctor will advise you how often you need to have them.
- Regular monitoring of signs and symptoms of toxicity may also be needed while you are being treated with this medicine.
This medicine may cause tiredness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, flu-like illness, cough, nasal congestion, chills, back pain, difficulty in breathing, decreased appetite, muscle cramps and spasms, tingling sensation and numbness; swallowing difficulties, shortness of breath, dizziness and fainting.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience:
- signs and symptoms of skin problems e.g. rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes (with or without fever)
- signs and symptoms of bowel problems e.g. black, tarry, or sticky stools, blood or mucus in stools, severe stomach pain or tenderness, severe diarrhea or frequent bowel movement
- signs and symptoms of infusion reactions e.g. shortness of breathing, itching or rash, dizziness, fever
- signs and symptoms of liver problems e.g. yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, light-coloured stools, dark-coloured urine, lack of appetite
- signs and symptoms of hormone gland problems e.g. mood or behavioural changes, weight changes, constipation, deeper voice, dizziness, passing out, cold sensation, hair loss, persistent or unusual headache
- myasthenia gravis (muscle weakness disorder)
- Guillian-Barre syndrome (tingling or prickling sensations in your fingers and toes and muscle weakness in your legs up to the upper body)
- heart disease (chest pain, shortness of breath, tiredness, swelling of legs, ankles and feet)
- meningoencephalitis (stiff neck, seizure, sleepiness, severe headache)
If you develop rashes, breathlessness, swollen mouth or eyes, stop taking Atezolizumab and inform your doctor quickly. These could be signs of an allergic reaction.
This medicine will cause the level of your red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets to drop.
Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body. A fall in the level of red blood cells may make you feel tired and worn out.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Alert your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Alert your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking medicines to treat systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE (an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation) e.g. belimumab.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in the refrigerator, between 2-8°C. Do not allow to freeze. If frozen, this medicine will become ineffective and should not be used. Protect from light. Do not shake.
As this is a cancer medicine, any unused or expired medicine must be returned to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal.