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Alemtuzumab (Hamster) Solution for injection

It is used to treat B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Generic Name: alemtuzumab  |  Brand Name: Campath

Brand Names: Lemtrada, Campath

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

  • Risk of serious and, rarely, fatal pancytopenia/marrow hypoplasia, autoimmune idiopathic thrombocytopenia, and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Do not administer single doses >30 mg or cumulative weekly doses >90 mg, since these dosages have been associated with an increased incidence of pancytopenia. (See Dosage under Dosage and Administration and see Hematologic Effects under Cautions.)
  • Possible serious or fatal infusion reactions. Monitor patients carefully during infusions; discontinue therapy if indicated. Gradual titration to the recommended maintenance dosage is required during initiation of therapy and after interruption of therapy for ≥7 days. (See Dosage under Dosage and Administration and see Infusions Reactions under Cautions.)
  • Risk of serious and sometimes fatal bacterial, viral, fungal, and protozoan infections. Prophylaxis against Pneumocystis jiroveci (formerly P. carinii) pneumonia and herpesvirus infections may decrease, but not eliminate, the occurrence of these infections. (See General under Dosage and Administration and see Infectious Complications under Cautions.)

What is this medicine?

ALEMTUZUMAB (AL em TOOZ oo mab) is a chemotherapy drug. It is used to treat B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • any active infection
  • cold sores
  • dental disease
  • heart disease

-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS

  • immune system problems
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to alemtuzumab, hamster proteins, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

The medicine is for infusion into a vein. It is given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting. You may receive acetaminophen (Tylenol) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) before your infusion to help decrease side effects related to the medicine. Your doctor may also give you antibiotics to help prevent infections.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss a dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • vaccines

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Your condition will be monitored carefully while you are receiving this medicine.

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. You will need frequent blood checks. The side effects of the medicine can continue after you finish your treatment. Promptly report any side effects.

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.

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.

This medicine may increase your risk to bruise or bleed. Call your doctor or health care professional if you notice any unusual bleeding.

Be careful brushing and flossing your teeth or using a toothpick because you may get an infection or bleed more easily. If you have any dental work done, tell your dentist you are receiving this medicine.

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. Men should inform their doctors if they wish to father a child. Men and women need to use effective contraceptive methods during treatment and for at least 6 months after stopping this medicine. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.

Last Updated: March 10, 2009
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