Cetuximab (By injection)
Antineoplastic Agent (About this – PubMed Health)
Uses of This Medicine
Cetuximab injection is given with radiation treatment and other medicines to treat cancer in the colon and rectal area, and cancer in the head and neck area. This medicine is usually given to patients who have already received other cancer treatments. Cetuximab should only be used in patients with metastatic (cancer that spreads to other parts of the body) colon or rectal cancer who have had a KRAS gene mutation test. This test helps the doctor decide whether the medicine will treat their cancer.
Cetuximab interferes with the growth of cancer cells, which are then destroyed by the body. Since the growth of normal body cells may also be affected by cetuximab, other effects will also occur. Some of these may be serious and must be reported to your doctor. Other effects, such as a skin rash, may not be serious but may cause concern. Some effects do not occur until months or years after the medicine is used.
Before you begin treatment with cetuximab, you and your doctor should talk about the benefits this medicine will do as well as the risks of using it.
This medicine will only be given by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Other uses (PubMed Health)
How To Use
Medicines used to treat cancer are very strong and can have many side effects. Before receiving this medicine, make sure you understand all the risks and benefits. It is important for you to work closely with your doctor during your treatment.
You will receive this medicine while you are in a hospital or cancer treatment center. A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
Your doctor will prescribe your dose and schedule. This medicine is given through a needle placed in a vein. This medicine needs to be given slowly, so the needle will remain in place for at least 1 hour. The first dose of this medicine could take 2 hours to give.
You may also receive a medicine to help prevent an allergic reaction.
You will need to stay in the hospital or cancer treatment center for at least 1 hour after you have received the medicine. You might need to stay longer if you have any signs of an allergic reaction.
Missed dose: This medicine needs to be given on a fixed schedule. If you miss a dose, call your doctor, home health caregiver, or treatment clinic for instructions.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Some medicines can affect how cetuximab works. Tell your doctor if you are using cisplatin.
When Not To Use
This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to cetuximab.
This medicine may cause birth defects if either partner is using it during conception or pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you or your partner becomes pregnant. Continue to use birth control for 6 months after your last dose of cetuximab.
Do not breastfeed while you are using cetuximab and for at least 60 days after you receive your last dose.
This medicine may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Wear sunscreen. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds.
Your doctor will do lab tests at regular visits to check on the effects of this medicine. Keep all appointments.
Possible side effects
Summary More details
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
Blistering, peeling, red skin rash
Change in how much or how often you urinate
Pain, itching, burning, swelling, or a lump under your skin where the needle is placed
Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet
Trouble breathing or swallowing
Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:
Sores or white patches on your lips, mouth, or throat
If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More side effects of this drug
Brand names include
There may be other brand names for this medicine.