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Cetuximab

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Notes
Related terms
Uses
Dosing
Safety
Author information

Notes

    Related terms
    • Brand Names: U.S.: Erbitux®
    • Brand Names: Canada: Erbitux®

    Uses
    • It is used to treat cancer.
    • Cetuximab harms cancer cells causing their death.

    Dosing

    How to take

    • It is given as a shot into a vein over a period of time.

    Safety



    Warnings

    • Some patients have very bad side effects during the infusion.
    • Heart attack and death are rare in people taking this drug and getting radiation or other chemo.

    Avoid

    • If you have an allergy to cetuximab or any other part of this drug.
    • If you are allergic to mouse proteins, talk with the doctor.
    • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs. Make sure to tell about the allergy and what signs you had. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
    • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
    • If you are breast-feeding.

    Precautions

    • If you have heart disease, talk with your doctor.
    • If you have lung disease, talk with your doctor.
    • Have your blood work checked. Talk with your doctor.
    • Check all drugs you are taking with your doctor. This drug may not mix well with some other drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Tell dentists, surgeons, and other doctors that you use this drug.
    • Avoid sun, sunlamps, and tanning beds. Use sunscreen and wear clothing and eyewear that protects from the sun while taking this drug and for at least 2 months after care ends.
    • Use birth control that you can trust to stop pregnancy while taking this drug.

    Side Effects

    • Flu-like signs. These include headache, weakness, fever, shakes, aches, pains, and sweating. Mild pain drugs may help.
    • Feeling tired or weak.
    • Cough.
    • Belly pain.
    • Hard stools (constipation). Drinking more liquids, working out, or adding fiber to your diet may help. Talk with your doctor about a stool softener or laxative.
    • Upset stomach or throwing up. Many small meals, good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help.
    • Loose stools (diarrhea).
    • Mouth irritation or sores. Using a soft toothbrush or cotton swabs and rinsing the mouth may help. Do not use mouth rinses that have alcohol in them.
    • Not able to sleep.
    • Dry mouth. Good mouth care, sucking hard, sugar-free candy, or chewing sugar-free gum may help. See a dentist often.
    • Dry skin.
    • Skin irritation.

    Contact a healthcare provider

    • Signs of a very bad reaction to the drug. These include wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue or gray skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
    • Signs of infection. These include a fever of 100.5°F (38°C) or higher, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, wound that will not heal, or anal itching or pain.
    • Chest pain or pressure or a fast heartbeat.
    • Very bad dizziness or passing out.
    • Very bad headache.
    • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
    • Very loose stools (diarrhea).
    • Any bruising or bleeding.
    • Any rash.
    • Side effect or health problem is not better or you are feeling worse.

    General Statements

    • If you have a very bad allergy, wear an allergy ID at all times.
    • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
    • Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
    • Most drugs may be thrown away in household trash after mixing with coffee grounds or kitty litter and sealing in a plastic bag.
    • In Canada, take any unused drugs to the pharmacy. Also, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/disposal-defaire-eng.php#th to learn about the right way to get rid of unused drugs.
    • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
    • Call your doctor for help with any side effects. If in the U.S., you may also call the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or if in Canada, you may also call Health Canada's Vigilance Program at 1-866-234-2345.
    • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including OTC, natural products, or vitamins.

    Author information
    • Copyright © 1978-2013 Lexi-Comp Inc. All rights reserved.

    Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


    The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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