Brentuximab vedotin is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat cancer of the blood and lymph tissue.
Brentuximab vedotin 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.
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 Brentuximab vedotin.
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.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- severe kidney disease
- moderate or severe liver disease
as Brentuximab vedotin may not be suitable for you.
Do not breastfeed while you are being treated with this medicine.
Do not use this medicine with bleomycin (Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information).
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- high body mass index (BMI) with or without history of diabetes
- mild to moderate kidney disease
- mild liver disease
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
- Pregnancy tests must be done before treatment to know if Brentuximab vedotin is suited for you to use.
- Routine tests of liver and kidney function may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. You may also need to have regular blood tests to check your body’s response to the medicine.
- Regular monitoring of lung condition, signs of behavioural or cognitive changes, and infections may also be needed.
Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
Brentuximab vedotin may cause dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert or need to see clearly.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, rash, itching, tiredness, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, stomach pain, mouth sores, weight loss, loss of appetite, back pain, muscle spasms, joint and muscle pain, cough, common colds, flu-like illness, difficulty sleeping and swelling of the ankles, feet or legs.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- difficulty breathing, fast or irregular heartbeat
- high fever, coughing with greenish, yellow or bloody phlegm, difficulty breathing
- discomfort, burning sensation or tingling, muscle weakness into your legs and arms
- pass out blood or black, tarry stools or vomit coffee-ground-like vomitus
- labored and rapid breathing, discolored skin or nails, dry, hacking cough
- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- signs of infection e.g. fever, chills, rapid breathing
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.
Do not use Brentuximab vedotin with bleomycin (medicine for cancer).
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines to treat fungal infection e.g. ketoconazole
- medicines to treat TB (lung infection known as tuberculosis) e.g. rifampicin
Avoid vaccinations during treatment or 3 months after treatment with this medicine.
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.
As this is a cancer medicine, always return any unused or expired vials to the clinic, hospital or pharmacy for disposal. Do not throw it away in the household waste.