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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.
To make sure you can safely receive cetuximab, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether cetuximab will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.
Whether you are a man or a woman, use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are receiving cetuximab, and for at least 6 months after your treatment ends.
It is not known whether cetuximab passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed a baby while you are receiving cetuximab and for at least 60 days after your treatment ends. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out any milk you collect. Do not feed it to your baby.
How is cetuximab given (Erbitux)?
Cetuximab is injected into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Cetuximab must be given slowly, and the IV infusion can take up to 2 hours to complete. You may be given other medications to prevent certain side effects while you are receiving cetuximab.
\Cetuximab is usually given once every week for 6 to 7 weeks or until your body no longer responds to the medication. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully.
Cetuximab is often used in combination with other cancer medications and/or radiation treatments. You may receive another cancer medicine 1 hour after your cetuximab injection.
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 your first cetuximab injection 1 week before your radiation treatment. Later doses are usually given 1 hour before radiation treatments.
To make sure this medication is helping your condition and not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested often. Your cancer treatments may be delayed based on the results of these tests. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.
You may need to have blood tests for several weeks after your cetuximab treatment has ended.
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