Alemtuzumab Injection (Multiple Sclerosis)
Name: Alemtuzumab Injection (Multiple Sclerosis)
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What special precautions should I follow?
Before receiving alemtuzumab injection,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alemtuzumab, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in alemtuzumab injection. Ask your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention the following: alemtuzumab (Campath; brand name of the product used to treat leukemia); cancer medications; or immunosuppressive medications such as cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), mycophenolate (Cellcept), prednisone, and tacrolimus (Astagraf, Envarsus, Prograf). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Your doctor will probably tell you not to receive alemtuzumab injection.
- tell your doctor if you have an infection. Also, tell your doctor if you have or have ever had tuberculosis (TB; a serious infection that affects the lungs and sometimes other parts of the body), herpes zoster (shingles; a rash that can occur in people who have had chickenpox in the past), genital herpes (a herpes virus infection that causes sores to form around the genitals and rectum from time to time), varicella (chickenpox), liver disease including hepatitis B or hepatitis C, or thyroid, heart, lung, or gallbladder disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, if you plan on fathering a child, or are breastfeeding. If you are female, you will need to take a pregnancy test before you start treatment and use birth control to prevent pregnancy during your treatment with alemtuzumab injection and for 4 months after your course of treatment. If you are a male, you and your female partner should use birth control during your treatment with alemtuzumab injection and for 6 months after your final dose. Talk to your doctor about types of birth control that you can use to prevent pregnancy during this time. If you or your partner becomes pregnant while you are receiving alemtuzumab injection, call your doctor immediately. Alemtuzumab may harm the fetus.
- check with your doctor to see if you need to receive any vaccinations before receiving alemtuzumab. Tell your doctor if you have received a vaccine within the past 6 weeks. Do not have any vaccinations without talking to your doctor during your treatment.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid the following foods that may cause infection at least 1 month before you start receiving alemtuzumab and during your treatment: deli meat, dairy products made with unpasteurized milk, soft cheeses, or undercooked meat, seafood, or poultry.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Alemtuzumab injection may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- difficulty sleeping or falling asleep
- pain in legs, arms, toes, and hands
- back, joint, or neck pain
- tingling, pricking, chilling, burning, or numb sensation on the skin
- red, itchy, or scaly skin
- swelling of nose and throat
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
- stomach pain or discomfort, fever, nausea, or vomiting
- shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, cough, coughing up blood, or wheezing
- fever, chills, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, joint or muscle pain, neck stiffness, difficulty walking, or mental status changes
- excessive sweating, eye swelling, weight loss, nervousness, or fast heartbeat
- unexplained weight gain, tiredness, feeling cold, or constipation
- thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so
- genital sores, sensation of pins and needles, or rash on penis or in vaginal area
- cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth
- painful rash on one side of face or body, with blisters, pain, itching, or tingling in rash area
- (in women) vaginal odor, white or yellowish vaginal discharge (may be lumpy or look like cottage cheese), or vaginal itching
- white lesions on tongue or inner cheeks
- stomach pain or tenderness, fever, nausea, or vomiting
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, yellow eyes or skin, extreme tiredness, dark urine, or bleeding or bruising more easily than normal
Alemtuzumab injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while receiving this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).