Highlights for cetuximab
cetuximab Side Effects
Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- breathing problems
- changes in vision
- fast, irregular heartbeat
- feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
- fever, chills
- mouth sores
- trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
- unusually weak or tired
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- changes in skin like acne, cracks, skin dryness
- nail changes
- nausea, vomiting
- stomach upset
- weight loss
cetuximab May Interact with Other Medications
Interactions are not expected.
How to Use cetuximab
This drug is given as an infusion into a vein. It is administered in a hospital or clinic by a specially trained health care professional.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- heart disease
- history of irregular heartbeat
- history of low levels of calcium, magnesium, or potassium in the blood
- lung or breathing disease, like asthma
- an unusual or allergic reaction to cetuximab, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.
Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop.
This medicine can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun while taking this medicine and for 2 months after the last dose. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths.
You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.
In some cases, you may be given additional medicines to help with side effects. Follow all directions for their use.
Call your doctor or health care professional for advice if you get a fever, chills or sore throat, or other symptoms of a cold or flu. Do not treat yourself. This drug decreases your body's ability to fight infections. Try to avoid being around people who are sick.
Avoid taking products that contain aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or ketoprofen unless instructed by your doctor. These medicines may hide a fever.
Do not become pregnant while taking this medicine. Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Use adequate birth control methods. Avoid pregnancy for at least 6 months after your last dose. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine or during the 2 months after your last dose.
This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.
Last Updated: January 8, 2011