Avelumab is used to treat a rare type of cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body. It is also used to treat cancer of the bladder or urinary tract that has spread or cannot be removed by surgery in patients who have failed previous therapy.
This medicine is also used together with other medicines to treat certain cancer of the kidneys.
Avelumab injection is to be given intravenously (into the vein) as an infusion. It is delivered directly into the bloodstream via the blood vessel.
Your doctor or nurse will administer the injection for you.
Before starting your treatment, you may be given other medicines to prevent or lessen the side effects of this medicine.
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 Avelumab.
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.
Do not use this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while on Avelumab therapy, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child.
It is important that you do not get pregnant while being treated with this medicine. You must use proven birth control methods during Avelumab therapy and for at least 1 month after stopping the treatment. You may wish to discuss birth control methods with your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine and for at least 1 month after your last treatment.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- heart problems or high blood pressure
- abnormal levels of cholesterol or fats in the blood
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Routine tests (e.g. liver/kidney/thyroid function) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
- Regular monitoring for signs and symptoms of allergic and immune-related reactions may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you will need to have these tests.
Avelumab 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: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, dry mouth, hoarseness, back and joint pain, flu-like illness, lack of appetite, rash, itching, dry skin, numbness or tingling sensation in the feet or hands, and red, itchy, scaly patches on the skin.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- fever, chills, flushing, shortness of breath, wheezing, stomach pain, bumpy rash or skin wheals
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine
- unusual diarrhoea, bloody or dark, tarry, sticky stools; severe stomach pain or tenderness
- extreme tiredness, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, changes in mood or behaviour, changes in weight
- unusual hunger or thirst, frequent urination, weight loss
- urinating less than usual, blood in urine, swelling in the ankles, feet or legs
- chest pain or tightness, fainting or lightheadedness, dizziness
- muscle pain or weakness
- difficulty breathing, new or worsening cough
Avelumab may 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. Inform 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. Inform 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.
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.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.