1 What is Kepivance?

Brand: Kepivance

Generic: Palifermin

Kepivance is a growth factor medication that speeds up healing of severe sores in the mouth and throat. Doctors give Palifermin to cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy for leukemia, which often suffer from sores in the mouth or throat as a consequence of treatment.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapies work by killing cells that reproduce rapidly, so it works against cancer cells. However, the cells surrounding the mouth also divide rapidly and thus affected by these treatments resulting to the formation of sores. Palifermin stimulates cell growth in cells lining the mouth, tongue and esophagus to cure and prevent mouth sores in patients receiving cancer treatment.

Mouth sores due to cancer treatment are painful and distressing. Severe mouth sores can make eating and swallow very difficult. Currently, Palifermin is approved only to treat severe mouth sores due to cancer treatment.

Palifermin is a formulation of growth factor made using recombinant technology. Palifermin only stimulates the growth of cells lining the structures of the mouth, and it does not work on other types of cells.

Palifermin is a prescription medication. Only use Palifermin according to doctor’s instructions.

2 What to know before using

Before using Kepivance, you must know all about the risks and complications associated with it.

You cannot use Palifermin if you are allergic to it.

It is very important to know the type of cancer before using Palifermin. The safety of Palifermin to cancers other than leukemia or blood cancers is not well known.

Tell the doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before receiving Palifermin. The safety of Palifermin in unborn babies is not yet known. Do not breastfeed while receiving Palifermin.

Tell the doctor all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, before receiving Palifermin to prevent drug interactions. Tell the doctor if you take Heparin, which can reduce the effectiveness of Palifermin.

Note that you must wait at least 24 hours after chemotherapy to use Palifermin.

3 Proper usage

To use Kepivance properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor.

The doctor determines your dose of Palifermin by basing it on your body weight. Palifermin is administered by infusing it in the veins. You can only have Palifermin in the hospital or doctor’s clinic.

Palifermin is usually given three days before and three days after cancer treatment session, for a total of six doses.

Because health professionals will give Palifermin, overdose is unlikely. If you miss a dose of Palifermin, call your doctor right away.

4 Precautions to take

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

Palifermin may not be safe for cancers other than leukemia, or for cases of leukemia with undetermined cancers. Palifermin induces growth of cells, which may affect other cancer cells and make malignancy worse.

Make sure not to get pregnant or breastfeed when receiving Palifermin.

If you became pregnant, call your doctor right away.

5 Potential side effects

As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Kepivance.

Call the doctor if you experienced severe allergic reactions (rash, irritation, swelling of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat) while using Palifermin.

Palifermin may cause the following side effects that are minor and not harmful to health:

  • Minor skin problems such as skin rash, irritation, redness, swelling and itching
  • Changes in taste
  • Joint pain
  • Prickling, tingling sensation or numbness
  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Thickening or discoloration of the tongue

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