Necitumumab

1 What is Necitumumab?

Brand: Necitumumab

Generic: Necitumumab

Necitumumab injection is a prescription medication usually used together with cisplatin and gemcitabine in treating squamous non-small cell lung cancer that already has spread. The drug slows down the growth of cancer cells and these cancer cells are eventually killed by the body’s immune system.

However, while the drug kills cancer cells, it also affects normal body cells, causing unwanted side effects. These side effects are typically normal, but some may be very serious that you may need to seek immediate medical help.

2 What to Know Before Using

If you are about to start Necitumumab, speak with your doctor about what you need to know. The risks and benefits the medicine offer must be weighed.

Before using this medicine, you and your doctor must consider the following:

  • Allergies: If you have any unusual reaction to any medicine, be sure to tell your doctor about it. Additionally, disclose other types of allergies - foods, preservatives, animals, or dyes, if there are any. Read the package ingredients carefully and make sure you are not allergic to any of its ingredients.
  • Pediatric: Safety and efficacy of use in children are not established.
  • Geriatric: In studies done in the elderly, there is no evidence showing that using this drug in older patients will cause geriatric-specific problems, Nonetheless, using it in older patients requires caution since the elderly are more susceptible to blood clots and other medical problems.
  • Breastfeeding: Although there are no adequate studies in lactating mothers that determine potential risk in an infant when breastfeeding, the benefits should be weighed against the risks before taking this medication.
  • Drug Interactions: Some drugs have adverse effects when used together. Make sure to inform your doctor about other drugs you are taking, so that alterations and precautions will be made if necessary. Before using necitumumab, talk to your doctor about possible interactions if you are taking other medications.It is also important to inform your doctor if you are smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol since these may interact with the drug’s effectiveness. Inform your doctor about any drug you are using, prescription or nonprescription, including vitamins and herbal supplements.
  • Other Medical Problems. Inform your doctor about any other medical concerns before using this medicine. Use it with caution if you have other health issues, particularly blood clots or hypomagnesemia, as using this drug may only make the said conditions worse.

3 Proper Usage

Proper usage of Necitumumab requires strict adherence to your doctor’s orders. Necitumumab is only given under your doctor’s supervision by a trained health professional or nurse.

It is administered by intravenous injection, slowly, in which the needle stays in place for one whole hour. The drug infusion is given on days 1 and 8 of a 3-week cycle.

At times, your doctor may prescribe other drugs to help prevent allergic reactions from taking place.

4 Precautions to Take

In using Necitumumab, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. During treatment, it is important that the doctor keeps you monitored to check for unwanted side effects and see if the drug is working properly. You may need to have blood tests from time to time to check adverse effects.

Using this drug during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn baby. Make sure to sue an effective birth control form to avoid pregnancy during treatment and for three months after the last dose was given. Inform your doctor immediately if you think you have become pregnant during treatment.

During treatment, you may experience symptoms of hypomagnesemia. Inform your doctor right away if you experience mood or mental changes, drowsiness, twitching or spasms of the muscle, seizures, or unusual weakness or tiredness upon receiving a dose.

In addition, call your doctor right away if you experience chest pain, which may spread to the neck, jaw, arms or back; coughing up blood, numbness of the arms or legs, nausea, sudden or severe headache, vision problems, problems with speech or walking, breathing difficulties, or unusual sweating.

Using this drug may make increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. While using this drug, it is advisable to use high SPF sunscreen or sunblock when going outdoors.

If you experience tightness in the chest, back pain, chills, and fever, headache, flushing, weakness, nausea, and vomiting, or breathing difficulties, call or visit your doctor right away.

5 Potential Side Effects

While not all people taking Necitumumab may suffer from these side effects, you may need to call your doctor if any of these are present:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • Drowsiness
  • Convulsions
  • Decreased urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Muscle pain, spasms (tetany) or twitching
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Mood or mental changes
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle cramps in the hands, arms, feet, legs, or face
  • Tremor
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness
  • Numbness and tingling around the mouth, fingertips, or feet

Less common side effects include:

  • Back pain
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Difficulty with speaking
  • Cough
  • Fainting
  • Heart stops
  • Flushing
  • Chills
  • Double vision
  • Headache
  • Inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
  • Severe headaches of sudden onset
  • No breathing
  • Fever
  • Sudden shortness of breath or troubled to breathe
  • No pulse or blood pressure
  • Pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • Chest tightness
  • Sudden onset of slurred speech
  • Slow speech
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Pains in the chest, groin, or legs, especially the calves of the legs
  • Sudden loss of coordination
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, jaw, back, or neck
  • Sweating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Sudden vision changes

Some of the side effects may take place and may not need special medical attention and usually go away as the body adjusts to the medicine during treatment. Some patients may experience other side effects not listed above.

If you want to report side effects, you may do so by calling the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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