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cetuximab (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before I receive cetuximab (Erbitux)?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to cetuximab or to mouse protein.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely use cetuximab:

  • heart rhythm problems;
  • lung disease or a breathing disorder;
  • congestive heart failure; or
  • coronary artery disease (clogged arteries).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether cetuximab is harmful to an unborn baby. Before you receive this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

You should not breast-feed a baby while you are receiving cetuximab and for at least 60 days after your treatment ends.

How is cetuximab given (Erbitux)?

Cetuximab is given as an injection through a needle placed into a vein. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. The medicine must be given slowly through an IV infusion pump, and can take up to 2 hours to complete.

After your cetuximab infusion, your doctor will need to watch you for about an hour. This is to make sure you do not have any serious side effects from the medicine.

If you are also being treated with radiation, you will receive cetuximab one week before your radiation treatment.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. Your kidney or liver function may also need to be tested. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

You may need to have blood tests for several weeks after your cetuximab treatment has ended.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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