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Cancer Glossary Cancer Diet Guide Support Groups

   Bevacizumab (Avastin ) 

 

Warning: Before beginning to take Bevacizumab, you should be aware of the major risks associated with this drug. Serious, life-threatening, or fatal incidents of gastrointestinal perforation, hemorrhage, and surgery and wound healing complications have occurred in patients taking Bevacizumab. The incidence of gastrointestinal perforation ranges from 0.3% to 2.4%; if gastrointestinal perforation does occur, you should discontinue your use of Bevacizumab right away. The potential for severe, even fatal hemorrhage increases five times in patients being treated with Bevacizumab, so any bleeding should be immediately reported to your doctor. If you have elective surgery while using this medication, you may experience marked difficulty recovering from the surgery wounds. Wounds not related to surgery may also experience delayed healing. Because there are other risks associated with this medication, you should be sure to talk to your doctor about any additional warnings and precautions you need to be aware of.  

 

Indications:  Bevacizumab is the generic name of the name brand drug Avastin.  Bevacizumab comes in two different dose sizes, 100 mg and 400 mg.  It is a clear or slightly brown liquid drug that is administered intravenously.  This medication is used to treat a variety of cancer types.  It works by halting blood flow to the tumor and thereby slowing killing it.  Bevacizumab is most frequently used in the treatment of rectal, colan, or kidney cancer.  It is also used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and may be part of the treatment for certain types of brain cancer, too. 

Dosage:  When you begin your  Bevacizumab  treatment, each dose will be administered by a health care professional such as a doctor or nurse.  Because  Bevacizumab  is a liquid medication administered intravenously (through a vein), you will need to be seen by a health care professional for each dose.  You should not give yourself a dose of  Bevacizumab.   The amount of this medication that your doctor prescribes for you will be determined first by your body size and later by how you respond to the treatments.  You can expect your first treatment session to last around 90 minutes, though later treatment sessions may not last as long.

Contraindication/Precaution:  If you have certain medical conditions, you should not use Bevacizumab These conditions include, but are not limited to the following: fistula, recent major surgery, kidney disease, high blood pressure, recent bloody vomit or coughing up blood, stomach or intestinal ulcers, heart disease, or blood clots.  Again, this is not a complete list of contraindications; talk to your doctor for more information.

Interactions: At this time, the FDA has not released any information regarding known drugs, supplements, or herbal products that are known to interact with Bevacizumab.  Because some prescription, non-prescription (over the counter), nutritional supplements, and herbal products may interfere with the function of Bevacizumab, you should tell your doctor if you are using any of medications or products. 

Side effects:  Bevacizumab can bring good results in some cancer patients; however, it tends to cause adverse effects, which can be serious. The most common Bevacizumab  side effects include:   

  • redness, itching, or scaling of the skin 
  • dizziness 
  • fatigue 
  • bleeding nose 
  • bleeding gums 
  • taste Changes 
  • dry mouth 
  • decreased appetite 
  • heartburn 
  • diarrhea 
  • weight loss 
  • Sores on the skin or in the mouth. 

Bevacizumab can cause serious side effects which require immediate medical attention; contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:  

  • fainting 
  • seizures 
  • chest/neck pain 
  • shortness of breath 
  • loss of vision 
  • vomiting  Blood 
  • black or bloody stools 
  • dry, hacking cough 
  • severe vaginal bleeding 
  • slow or difficult speech 
  • weakness or numbness of an arm or leg 
  • dizziness, faintness or confusion 
  • coughing, gagging, or choking 
  • Severe headache (which can be a sign of overdose) 
  • Pain or swelling of the face, eyes, stomach, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs.  

 

For more chemotherapy side effects and steps to take manage them, please visit www.cancereffects.com