1 What is Arzerra?

Brand: Arzerra

Generic: Ofatumumab (Intravenous Route)

Ofatumumab injection is a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia in patients who have not received any treatments in the past and those who have failed in treatment using other medications.

It is usually given in combination with chlorambucil. Ofatumumab works by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

This drug may also affect the growth of normal body cells. Consequently, other effects can occur.

Dangerous effects that may occur must be reported to the doctor immediately.

2 What to Know Before Using

Tell your doctor if you are allergic to ofatumumab or to any other medications.

There are no specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ofatumumab injection in the elderly.

However, elderly patients are prone to have undesirable side effects which may require medical attention.

Pregnancy category C –The use of ofatumumab during pregnancy is warranted only if benefits justify risks to the fetus and only when no alternative management is appropriate.

Self-medicating during pregnancy should do only under the direction of a physician.

There are no sufficient studies whether ofatumumab can pass through breast milk or if it could cause harmful effects to the infant. Discuss with your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication as drug interaction may occur when two or more drugs are being taken at the same time.

Tell your doctor if you have hepatitis B or infection as this may affect the use of ofatumumab.

3 Proper Usage

Ofatumumab is infused slowly through the vein by a nurse or other trained healthcare professionals in a hospital or clinic.

Medications for prevention of allergic reactions may be given.

4 Precautions to Take

Your doctor will be checking you regularly for the effectiveness of the medication. Blood tests may be ordered as well for undesirable effects.

Tell your doctor immediately if you are experiencing trouble breathing, chest pain, chills, fever, itching, flushing of the face, hives, rash, dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness, or swelling of the face, tongue, and throat within a few hours after receiving ofatumumab.

This medicine may cause tumor lysis syndrome. Call your doctor immediately if you have a change in urine amount, joint pain, stiffness, or swelling, lower back, side, or stomach pain, a rapid weight gain, swelling of the feet or lower legs, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Ofatumumab can temporarily lower the number of white blood cells and platelets in your blood. You should avoid activities that may cause injuries.

Be cautious in using sharp objects to minimize the risk of bleeding. Be careful when brushing your teeth or when using a dental floss or toothpick.

Do proper hand hygiene. Avoid coming into close contact with sick people.

This medication may increase your risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.

Check with your doctor immediately if you are having more than one of these symptoms: loss of coordination, changes in mental status, memory loss, speech and vision difficulties, loss of strength, and limb weakness.

Call your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of liver problems including jaundice (skin and eyes turning yellow), right-sided abdominal or stomach pain, dark brown-colored urine, fever, or severe tiredness.

Do not receive any vaccinations without your doctor’s approval while you are under Ofatumumab treatment.

5 Potential Side Effects

If you are experiencing any of the following side effects, check with your doctor or nurse immediately:

More common side effects include:

  • Black, tarry stools
  • Bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Body aches or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • A cough or hoarseness
  • A cough producing mucus
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • Ear congestion
  • Facial swelling
  • Fainting
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Headache
  • Hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
  • Increased sweating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of voice
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Painful blisters on the trunk of the body
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Tingling of the hands or feet
  • Troubled breathing
  • Troubled breathing with exertion
  • Ulcers, sores, or white spots in the mouth
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Unusual weight gains or loss
  • Weakness

Less common side effects include:

  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • Nervousness
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Slow heartbeat

Incidence not known:

  • Blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin
  • Dark urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluid-filled skin blisters
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Light-colored stools
  • No blood pressure or pulse
  • Red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Sensitivity to the sun
  • Skin thinness
  • Stopping of heart
  • Unconsciousness
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes or skin)

There are also some side effects that do not need medical attention and can be resolved during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine.

You can discuss it with your doctor to give you an advice on how to prevent or reduce these side effects:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Skin redness
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, discoloration of the skin, feeling of pressure, hives, infection, inflammation, itching, lumps, numbness, pain, rash, redness, scarring, soreness, stinging, swelling, tenderness, tingling, ulceration, or warmth at the injection site
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones

Not all side effects are listed above. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

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