Highlights for eribulin
Eribulin is an injected drug used to treat advanced breast cancer that’s metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body). It’s only used if you’ve received at least two other types of cancer treatments. It’s also used to treat metastatic liposarcoma (a soft tissue cancer that occurs in fat cells). It’s given when the cancer hasn’t responded to other cancer treatments and can’t be removed with surgery.
Eribulin is given through a needle in your vein (injection). Your doctor will decide what dose is right for you. You’ll go to an infusion center or hospital to receive eribulin. You won’t take this drug at home.
Common side effects include weakness, tiredness, hair loss, nausea, constipation, and decrease in your red blood cells (anemia).
Eribulin can cause a low white blood cell count. This can make you more likely to get serious infections. These can be fatal. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of an infection, including fever, chills, cough, and burning or pain when you urinate.
This drug can cause nerve pain. Symptoms include burning, tingling, or numbness in your hands and feet. You should tell your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.
What is eribulin?
Eribulin is a prescription drug. It’s available as an intravenous (IV) solution, which is only given by a healthcare provider.
Why it's used
Eribulin is an injected drug used to treat advanced breast cancer that’s metastatic (has spread to other parts of your body). It’s only used if you’ve received at least two other types of cancer treatments. It’s also used to treat metastatic liposarcoma (a soft tissue cancer that occurs in fat cells) that hasn’t responded to other cancer treatments and can’t be removed with surgery.
How it works
Eribulin belongs to a class of drugs called microtubule inhibitors. A class of drugs refers to medications that work similarly. They have a similar chemical structure and are often used to treat similar conditions.
Eribulin works by blocking structures within cancer cells called microtubules. This stops the cancer cells from dividing and growing.
eribulin Side Effects
Most Common Side Effects
The most common side effects that occur with eribulin include:
weakness or tiredness
decrease in your red blood cells (anemia)
If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious Side Effects
If you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are potentially life threatening, or if you think you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Low white blood cell count and infection. Symptoms include:
- fever (body temperature above 100.5°F)
- burning or pain when you urinate
Nerve pain (peripheral neuropathy). Symptoms include:
- numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands and feet
Eribulin doesn’t cause drowsiness.
eribulin May Interact with Other Medications
Eribulin can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs or vitamins you’re taking.
How to Take eribulin (Dosage)
Your doctor will determine a dose that’s right for you based on your individual needs. Your general health may affect your dose. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your doctor or nurse administers the drug to you.
Eribulin comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.
If you don’t take it at all
If you don’t take eribulin, your condition won’t get better. Your cancer may grow or spread to other parts of your body.
What to do if you miss a dose or appointment
If you think that you’ll miss a dose of eribulin, call your doctor right away to reschedule.
If you take too much
If you receive too much eribulin, you can develop low white blood cell count (neutropenia) or an allergic reaction. If you think that you’ve received too much, tell your doctor or nurse right away.
How to tell the drug Is working
You may not be able to tell if eribulin is working. Your doctor will do blood tests, scans, and X-rays to see how you are responding to treatment.
Eribulin may be a short-term or long-term drug treatment.
The length of treatment will depend on your response to the drug.
- Halaven– eribulin intravenous injection. (2014, December). Retrieved from http://www.halaven.com/patients/Pdfs/HALAVEN-Full-Prescribing-Information-2015.pdf
Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group
Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on February 17, 2016