1 What is Fusilev?

Brand: Fusilev

Generic: Levoleucovorin

Fusilev is a drug used as an antidote to the adverse effects of methotrexate, which is usually given to the patients with cancer especially bone cancer (osteosarcoma).

This drug is used as an injection to treat overdose of certain medications. Levoleucovorin acts in the body as an analogue of folic acid. This injection is also given in combination with 5FU (5 Fluorouracil) to treat and prevent the symptoms of metastatic colorectal cancer. This injection should only be given under the direct supervision of a health care expert.

Levoleucovorin is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Solution
  • Powder for Solution

2 What to Know Before Using

Before using Fusilev, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it. Your doctor will consider these risks before prescribing the drug and will inform you about them. Following factors should be considered before taking this drug:

  • Allergies: If you have had an allergic reaction to this drug in the past, inform your doctor. You should also tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any other drugs or food products.
  • Age specific problems: The data regarding the effects of this medicine specific to the pediatric age group is not yet available because appropriate studies have not been performed.  The studies specific to the geriatric age group have not been carried out, that would limit the use of this drug in older age group.
  • Pregnancy: Regarding the safety of usage of this drug during pregnancy, it comes under “C” category, which means that relevant clinical studies show harmful effects of levoleucovorin to the developing fetus.
  • Drug Interactions: Certain drugs should not be used together because they can interact inside the body which can have a harmful effect. On the other hand certain drugs are allowed to be used together. So, you should tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. If there is a chance of interaction between those two drugs, the doctor may change the dose or may prescribe an alternative drug. 

Levoleucovorin should be used cautiously along with following drugs:

  • Capecitabine
  • Fluorouracil
  • Doxifluridine
  • Tegafur

Furthermore, certain medications should not be taken with alcohol or tobacco, which may also result in harmful interactions. Ask your doctor about the concurrent use of this drug along with alcohol or tobacco.

You should also inform your doctor about any other medical condition you may be suffering from especially:

  • Kidney disease
  • Ascites (fluid accumulation in abdominal cavity)
  • Dehydration
  • Blood disorders (e.g. Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia)
  • Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)

3 Proper Usage

To use Fusilev correctly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

This medicine should only be administered under the supervision of a nurse or a doctor. Your healthcare provider will decide the dose and duration of this medication.

This medication is usually given through an intravenous injection route.

4 Precautions to Take

Before using Fusilev, there are some precautions you must take.

Regular follow-up is necessary during and after the treatment. It is important to allow your doctor to monitor your progress and to make sure that there aren’t any side effects from the medication.

Contact your doctor if your symptoms have not improved even after taking the full course of treatment. The doctor may order some blood tests in order to determine the blood levels of the drug.

Avoid taking any other medicine unless thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Always ask your doctor before using any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medicine.

Do not take 5 FU or TMP-SMZ (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole) while you are on levoleucovorin.

5 Potential Side Effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Fusilev. Although these side effects may occur only in a handful of patients but if they do occur, contact your physician immediately.

This medication is associated with following side effects:

Seek medical help instantly, if you experience any of these symptoms while on this medication. Also contact your healthcare professional immediately, if have overdosed on this drug.

The following side effects are not very dangerous but if any of these side effects becomes more bothersome or does not go away, contact your doctor:

  • Belching
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • Change in taste
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cracked, dry, or scaly skin
  • Heartburn
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling or inflammation of the mouth
  • Sensation of pins and needles
  • Nausea
  • Stabbing pain
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort or upset
  • Weight loss

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