Ramucirumab belongs to a class of medications called human vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 antagonists.
It is used in patients with advanced gastroesophageal junction cancer who have received other cancer medications.
It can be used in conjunction with docetaxel for the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer that progressed after other treatments.
Ramucirumab along with FOLFIRI is indicated for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer with disease progression after other treatments as well.
This is marketed as a solution that is only to be infused by a physician or a trained medical professional.
2 What to Know Before Using
Consider the pros and cons of using ramucirumab before initiating treatment. You need to discuss these with your physician.
You also need to disclose any information regarding allergies to foods, animals, dyes, preservatives, and other medications. Research regarding the effects of ramucirumab on pediatric patients has not been conducted, so safety and efficacy are not known.
Although there has been little research done on the effects of ramucirumab in elderly patients, this drug is expected to work the same way it does in younger adults.
Ramucirumab’s effects on lactating women have not been studied. You need to consider the pros and cons very carefully. This medication can also cause harm to an unborn child.
Pregnant women need to be aware of this. Give your doctor a complete list of your medications. Ramucirumab may interact with one of them.
You should also consult your doctor first before taking any kind of over-the-counter medication. Certain medical conditions can also influence the effects of ramucirumab.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have cirrhosis, blood clotting problems, hypertension, kidney disease, and thyroid problems.
Ramucirumab is a very strong medication and can cause a variety of side effects. Again, you need to be aware of the risks and benefits involved.
Ramucirumab should be administered as an intravenous infusion and not as a bolus. Your physician or nurse should be the one to give you this medication.
Before receiving this ramucirumab, you may be given an anti-allergy medication like diphenhydramine hydrochloride to prevent hypersensitivity reactions.
The dosage and timing of ramucirumab will depend on the condition being treated. As a stand-alone medication for the treatment of gastric cancer, 8 mg/kg of ramucirumab may be infused over 60 minutes.
This should be done every 2 weeks. For non-small cell lung cancer, 10 mg/kg should be infused within 60 minutes on the first day of a 21-day cycle.
For colorectal cancer, dosage should be 8 mg/kg of ramucirumab infused over 60 minutes and done every 2 weeks. When this medication is used in conjunction with other cancer drugs, it should be given first.
4 Precautions to Take
Keep your doctor’s appointments, so that your condition is monitored closely. This is a way for your physician to check your progress and prevent or treat any unwanted effects.
You need to take precautionary measures while on ramucirumab treatment. This medication increases the risk of hemorrhage.
Watch out for the following signs unusual bleeding, hematuria, black/tarry stools, and pinpoint red spots on the skin. Inform your doctor right away if you notice those symptoms.
You need to avoid activities that can cause trauma. Monitor your blood pressure and report changes immediately. You are also at risk of gastrointestinal perforation.
Get medical attention right away if you have severe stomach pain or cramps or coffee-ground vomitus. Ramucirumab can also impair wound healing, so take care that you don’t cut yourself on sharp edges.
Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome can also develop. Symptoms of which include fainting spells, sudden and severe headaches, confusion, seizures, unusual drowsiness, and vision, speech, or walking problems.
Report this to your healthcare provider immediately. As mentioned earlier, ramucirumab can put your unborn child at risk.
So inform your doctor if you are pregnant or become pregnant while on this medication. Inform other members of your healthcare team or your dentist that you are receiving this medication.
5 Potential Side Effects
There are other side effects associated with ramucirumab use. You may or may not experience all of them.
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