Need something? Call us: 1.800.4BAYLOR(1.800.422.9567)
Text Size:

Alemtuzumab (Hamster) Solution for injection

What is this medicine?

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

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 side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

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

  • chest pain

  • diarrhea

  • difficulty breathing, wheezing

  • dizziness or fainting

  • palpitations

  • shortness of breath

  • signs of infection like fever or chills, cough, sore throat, pain or difficulty passing urine

  • unusual bleeding or bruising

  • unusually weak or tired

  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • constipation

  • diarrhea

  • fatigue

  • headache

  • insomnia

  • nausea

What may interact with this medicine?

  • medicines for high blood pressure

  • vaccines

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.

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

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

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.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 6/4/2009
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.