Avastin

Generic Name: Bevacizumab

  • What is Avastin?

    Avastin is used to treat adults with certain types of colorectal, lung, breast, brain, and kidney cancers. Avastin blocks cell growth, especially in cells that grow fast, such as cancer cells.

  • What is the most important information I should know about Avastin?

    Avastin can result in the development of a potentially serious, and sometimes fatal, side effect called gastrointestinal (GI) perforation. GI perforation is the development of a hole in the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and fever. Avastin therapy should be stopped if GI perforation occurs.

    Treatment with Avastin can lead to slow or incomplete wound healing (for example, when a surgical incision has trouble healing or staying closed). In some cases, this could result in fatality. Stop Avastin for at least 28 days before voluntary surgery. Do not start Avastin for at least 28 days after surgery and until the surgical wound is fully healed. Avastin therapy should be stopped in patients who experience slow or incomplete wound healing.

    Treatment with Avastin can result in serious and sometimes fatal bleeding. This includes coughing up blood, bleeding in the stomach, vomiting blood, bleeding in the brain, nosebleeds, and vaginal bleeding. People who have recently coughed up blood or have serious bleeding should not receive Avastin.

    Avastin may raise your blood pressure. You should talk with your doctor about regularly monitoring your blood pressure while taking this drug (e.g., every 2-3 weeks). Your doctor may start you on medication to control your blood pressure. You may need to stop Avastin treatment if you have severe blood pressure spikes or complications of high blood pressure.

    Avastin can cause harm to a developing baby. If you are of childbearing age, use effective birth control methods during treatment with Avastin and for a minimum of 6 months after treatment has stopped.

    Contact your doctor if you experience unusual bleeding, high fever, chills or shaking, sudden onset of worsening neurological function, persistent or severe abdominal pain, severe constipation, or vomiting.

  • Who should not take Avastin?

    Your doctor will determine if you should not receive Avastin prior to its administration. Avastin has not been studied in children.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Avastin?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Avastin. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you are planning to have surgery, or if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Adults: Your doctor will determine the dose based on your weight, condition, and whether you are taking other chemotherapy agents. The number of treatment cycles will depend on how you respond to Avastin therapy.

  • How should I take Avastin?

    Your doctor will administer Avastin.

  • What should I avoid while taking Avastin?

    You should avoid becoming pregnant while taking this medication.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Avastin?

    No significant interactions have been reported with Avastin at this time. However, always tell your doctor about any medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

  • What are the possible side effects of Avastin?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: nosebleeds, headache, high blood pressure, inflammation of the nasal passages, taste change, dry skin, rectal bleeding, excessive tearing of the eyes, back pain, skin inflammation

    Serious side effects may include: the formation of an abnormal passage from parts of the body to another part (fistula); stroke or heart problems; too much protein in the urine, possibly leading to kidney problems; severe, uncontrolled high blood pressure; nervous system and vision disturbances; severe infusion reactions (e.g., stroke, chest pain, tremors)

  • Can I receive Avastin if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Avastin can harm your unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. You should avoid becoming pregnant while taking this drug.The effects of Avastin during breastfeeding are unknown. Tell your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Avastin?

    Avastin should be given under special circumstances determined by your doctor. If you miss your scheduled dose, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider for advice.

  • How should I store Avastin?

    Your doctor will store Avastin prior to its administration.

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